Varsity Football

Homegrown seniors lead Andover Central to 3-0 for first time since reaching title game

Trey Degarmo sat on the rail at the front of the bleachers and screamed with everything left in him.

To his back, the Andover Central student section filled with some of his best friends. To his front, the Jaguars’ football team he had just led to a 38-21 victory over Class 4A runner-up Goddard.

The win pushed Andover Central to 3-0 for the first time since 2015 when the Jaguars reached the 4A state championship game and finished the season 10-3.

“We always knew it was here,” Degarmo said. “We knew it was in us. This senior class, we’ve been together 12 years. I don’t know what else to say. We’re a family. There’s nothing like it. We’re just some brothers.”

Degarmo, a senior linebacker, is one of the best leaders in the Wichita area. He played like it Friday, flying around the field and finishing with far more than a dozen tackles against one of the best teams in Kansas. But he was only a piece to one of the biggest wins in recent Andover Central history.

Senior quarterback Shomari Parnell threw for five touchdown passes, including two to senior receiver Matt Macy and one to senior receiver Xavier Bell on the first play from scrimmage.

Together, Parnell and Degarmo are two of the most veteran players on the Andover Central roster. They also play the same positions as a pair of standout players who left for Wichita Northwest.

Quarterback Reagan Jones left Andover Central after the 2017 season, and linebacker Jack Wiens after 2018.

The Jaguars who stayed in Andover entered the 2019 season looking to build off a 5-5 season that ended in the second round of the 4A postseason with a 21-7 loss to Goddard. It was Andover Central’s second loss of the season to the Lions.

“It affected us, but as you can see, we moved on real quick,” Bell said. “We wish them the best. It’s all love for those guys. They’re my brothers.”

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Andover Central’s Xavier Bell Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Bell said the team is making the most of what it has on the roster right now, but Andover Central entered this season with its doubters. It had to replace the only football coach in the school’s history, Tom Audley, and his replacement Derek Tuttle had never held that position.

Since taking over, the Jaguars have moved away from option football and started pushing the ball downfield.

Last year, Andover Central didn’t score 30 points all season. The Jags’ 38-point performance against Goddard on Friday was their third straight with at least 30 points.

Tuttle said to have a statement game like his team showed against the Lions was special.

“One of our big beliefs is, ‘Everybody’s important. Everybody matters,’ ” Tuttle said. “That’s what it’s really all about. You look out there and see the whole community of Andover Central football.”

Tuttle said his seniors this season are doing things they haven’t done before. A 3-0 start is one of them. Beating Goddard is another.

Macy said this season’s group of seniors is special because they have been playing football with one another since they were in middle school. That’s why they are having success so far this season, Macy said.

“We knew we were going to be explosive this year, but we are taking it one week at a time,” Macy said.

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Andover Central High School football Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Senior running back Ty Herrmann and the rest of the senior leaders were part of the team when Andover Central won its first boys basketball state championship last year. Herrmann said even with that team in mind, this 2019 football team is the tightest group he has ever been a part of.

“We take a lot of pride in knowing everyone who wants to be here is here,” Macy said. “We put in a lot of work over the summer, and it’s paying off. We wish them the best, but we are worried about us.”

With all the senior offensive weapons at Andover Central’s disposal this year, Tuttle said he was uncertain how his quarterback would react coming into 2019. Last year, Parnell played half the season, dealing with injuries.

Parnell was active all night whether it was uncorking deep ball or delivering some of the biggest hits of the night.

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Andover Central’s Shomari Parnell Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

“It was a night,” Parnell said. “Those passing TDs felt good, but I could have had more. Always room for improvement.”

Parnell said there have been a lot of changes around the program, but there is no reason to worry about the past when the present is looking so good.

“We’re all we got,” Bell said. “That’s all we need.”

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Wichita Eagle preps reporter Hayden Barber brings the area updates on all high school sports while adding those hard-to-find human-interest stories on Wichita’s student-athletes.