After spending the better part of the last three hours eviscerating the Mulvane defense with gashing run after gashing run, Andale’s offensive efforts were not enough to put away a Mulvane team hungry for an upset in front of its home fans.
The Wildcats had clawed out of a 17-point hole with back-to-back touchdowns and now Andale had eight minutes to protect its lead with no momentum in front of a rabid crowd on the road.
That’s when Andale’s offensive line went to work, methodically driving down the field on a 15-play drive that featured a pair of third-down conversions and another on fourth down to keep the chains — and the clock — moving.
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Finally, Mulvane had to relent and allowed running back Tristen Dagenais to score a touchdown in an attempt to get the ball back, score, and then hopefully recover an onside kick. The plan was for naught, as Dagenais scored his fifth touchdown of the night and Andale, No. 1 in Class 4A-I, held on for a 61-52 victory on Friday night.
After three-plus hours, 113 points, nearly 1,000 yards of total offense, and 16 touchdowns, Andale, ranked No. 1 in Class 4A-I, improved to 3-0, while Mulvane (2-1) suffered its first loss.
“I don’t think the defenses were playing bad, it was just the offenses were really getting it done,” Andale quarterback Taylor Richter said. “It was just a really great game and a fun game.”
“It was crazy,” said Andale coach Gary O’Hair. “It wore me out, I guarantee you.”
Neither defense put up much resistence throughout the night, beginning when Mulvane senior Zach Helbing returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.
Andale’s attack, orchestrated by Richter, would pile up 498 rushing yards and 564 total. Richter would finish with four touchdowns and 182 rushing yards, including a handful of important conversions in the fouth quarter to keep the final drive alive, while Dagenais rushed for 223 yards.
Andale scored touchdowns on its first eight possessions, building the game’s largest lead, 55-38, in the third quarter after capitalizing on a turnover by Mulvane when a kickoff bounced off a Mulvane player and Andale’s Andrew Mohr recovered.
“We just could not get off the field defensively,” Mulvane coach Dave Fennewald said. “I’m sure our defense’s ego is bruised, but they’ve got to remember that’s a really good offense they saw tonight.”
But Mulvane junior quarterback Jayden Price would not allow his team to fade away.
Price, who finished with 202 passing yards, 180 rushing yards, and four touchdowns, dropped back to pass on many of Mulvane’s plays, but turned some into large chunks on the ground with his mobility.
His 22-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter jumpstarted the Mulvane rally. On the next possession, Richter was falling toward the ground for a first down on a quarterback sneak, but Helbing was able to pry the ball loose, scoop it up, and return it 42 yards for a touchdown that suddenly had Andale’s 17-point lead trimmed to 55-52 with 8:17 remaining.
“The whole time, I was just thinking, ‘We just need the ball back,’ ” Price said. “It was a lot of fun to play in a game like that. Very intense.”
Mulvane needed a rarity — a defensive stop — to go for the victory.
Andale had other plans.
“On that last drive,” Dagenais said, “we knew we had to lay it all on the line. We knew we could run on them. That’s exactly what we did last year. Our plan the whole time was to run it down their throats.”
The closest Mulvane came was on a 4th-and-5 play near midfield when Andale decided to go for it with its offense. Dagenais took a carry, was met at the first-down marker, and then fell forward for the extra yard.
“When we were on that long drive, we did not feel like they could stop us,” Andale offensive lineman Aidan Camp said. “That’s Andale football. That’s the definition of Andale football.”
Andale had converted enough first downs in a row where Fennewald decided to tell Mulvane’s defense to allow Andale to score.
So with 2:21 remaining, Dagenais danced into the end zone untouched and Mulvane had one last chance.
On fourth-and-22, Price nearly created a miracle, escaping a sure-sack to evade the tackler and find Chase Myears on the sideline for a 22-yard gain. But a measurement would prove Mulvane was inches short.
It turned out 52 points and three non-offensive touchdowns were not enough to take down Andale, a difficult realization for the Mulvane players after the game.
“It’s really tough and it stings right now, but we’ll come back and we’ll keep grinding,” Price said. “We’ll see them again in the playoffs.”
M: Helbing 90 kick return (run failed)
A: Dagenais 17 pass from Richter (Bugner kick)
M: Price 49 run (Shoemaker run)
A: Richter 44 run (Bugner kick)
A: Dagenais 12 run (Bugner kick)
M: Price 1 run (Coon kick)
A: King 2 run (kick failed)
M: Blaine 25 pass from Price (kick failed)
A: Dagenais 28 run (Bugner kick)
M: Coon 34 field goal
A: Richter 1 run (Bugner kick)
M: Shoemaker 78 kick return (Helbing run)
A: King 19 pass from Richter (Bugner kick)
A: Dagenais 5 run (Bugner kick)
M: Price 22 run (Coon kick)
M: Helbing 42 fumble return (Coon kick)
A: Dagenais 24 run (kick failed)
Rushing—Andale, Dagenais 26-223, Richter 20-182, King 14-67, Jansen 2-26; Mulvane, Price 21-180, Shoemaker 8-29.
Passing—Andale, Richter 4-6-0-66, Dagenais 0-1-0-0; Mulvane, Price 14-19-1-202.
Receiving—Andale, King 2-36, Dagenais 2-30; Mulvane, Myears 6-98, Blaine 5-67, Shoemaker 2-29, Callaway 1-8.