HUTCHINSON — Perry-Lecompton had run into some pretty stout defenses throughout the 2019 season in its run to the Class 3A state championship game, seeing the likes of Hayden (twice), Jefferson West and Holton, to name a few.

But the one the Kaws saw from No. 1 Andale in Saturday’s title tilt was an entirely different animal.

“They’re just so quick and so physical,” Perry junior quarterback William Welch said. “They match you both ways. Their coaches do a good job of matching up with what you try to do.”

Andale’s defense had an answer for everything Perry tried to throw at it during Saturday’s game at Hutchinson’s Gowans Stadium. Perry’s ground game was virtually nonexistent and its passing game never found the rhythm it had hit throughout the playoffs with the Kaws finishing with just 192 total yards.

It made for an uphill afternoon after Andale broke its first play for a 72-yard touchdown and the Kaws never could catch up, falling 35-7.

Perry ended the season 9-4, while Andale completed a 13-0 season with its first state title since 2014 and fourth overall.

“They played extremely well and hats off to them,” Perry coach Mike Paramore said. “I’m extremely proud of our guys. They’re hurting right now because they put a lot into this. We couldn’t get it done today and that was more what they did to us.”

Indeed, Andale had everything to do with the Kaws’ second-lowest offensive output of the season.

Entering the game having allowed just 81 points (6.8 per game), Andale showed its defensive chops early and often. Perry picked up just four first downs in the game’s first three quarters and only crossed midfield twice during that same span.

Playing a 3-3 defense, the Indians controlled the line of scrimmage against the run and got good pressure on Welch, keeping him out of sync in the passing game with the Indians able to cover with five deep.

“To be able to do what we could do, dropping eight and still getting a pass rush, that’s just a credit to those guys up front doing a great job,” Andale coach Dylan Schmidt said. “The No. 1 thing we discussed with (Welch) is he does such a great job sustaining or prolonging a play and finding a way to find the open guy. We were able to cover well and at times we got a little push on them. To only give up 7, that’s phenomenal.”

Welch’s ability was evident on the Kaws’ lone touchdown of the game. The junior quarterback eluded an early sack attempt by the Andale defense and scrambled before firing a bullet to the end zone to Grant Roush for a 21-yard scoring strike.

But the TD connection didn’t occur until the fourth quarter with Andale already up 21-0 and the Indians immediately answered with a three-play scoring drive as Easton Hunter found Cole Landers all alone along the left sideline for a 60-yard touchdown strike.

Big plays were the biggest difference in the game as Perry’s defense was up to the task of matching its counterparts for much of the game.

Andale opened the game with a devastating blow as Eli Rowland took a pitch on the first play of the game and raced 72 yards for a 7-0 Andale lead 13 seconds in.

“It started out awful,” Paramore said. “What’s the worst way you can start a state championship game? That’s it right there, other than a kickoff return for a touchdown. But our guys kept playing and that’s just who they are.”

Indeed it was a stalemate for the next 20 minutes as both defenses shut down the opposing offenses. But big plays by Andale late in the half again burned Perry as Noah Meyer busted a 47-yard run from the Indian 15 and Scotti Easter broke a 44-yard gain on a bubble screen on a third-and-26, setting up Hunter’s 1-yard touchdown sneak on fourth-and-goal to make it 14-0 at the half.

Andale had completely controlled the half, but Schmidt was hardly feeling in command.

“Something we talked about at halftime was they’ve been down 14-0 at halftime a couple times and came back and won,” Schmidt said. “I didn’t feel comfortable at all until the clock finally hit zeroes. They’re a tough team and well coached.”

Andale held Perry to a three-and-out to start the second half on the same note it closed the first half and Mac Brand’s 3-yard touchdown run on the next drive put Andale up 21-0.

After Perry finally got on the board, converting a short field into the touchdown pass from Welch to Roush, Hunter hit Landers for a TD and Andale closed it out with a 17-yard scoring run from Rowland, who finished with 136 yards.

Welch finished with 102 yards on 15-of-28 accuracy and also ran for a team-high 51 yards. Leading rusher Thad Metcalfe was dinged up early in the game and bottled up for most of it, finishing with just 39 yards.

The good news for Perry is the bulk of the Kaws will be back next year. Perry only graduates four seniors off the roster and getting a somewhat unexpected taste of playing for a title will be a big motivator in the offseason.

“I think it’s good experience and we’ll go into the offseason with a different mentality,” said Welch, who threw for 2,316 yards and 27 touchdowns this year. “It’s tough losing those seniors because we were really close to them. Losing here stinks really back, but we learned a lot along the way to get here and it’s a season to remember.”

 

ANDALE 35, PERRY-LECOMPTON 7

Andale;7;7;7;14;—;35

Perry-Lecompton;0;0;0;7;—;7

Andale — Rowland 72 run (Sicker kick)

Andale — Hunter 1 run (Sicker kick)

Andale — Brand 3 run (Sicker kick)

Perry — Roush 21 pass from Welch (Gonzalez kick)

Andale — Landers 60 pass from Hunter (Sicker kick)

Andale — Rowland 17 run (Sicker kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing — Andale: Rowland 11-126, Brand 10-24, Hunter 10-minus 3, Meyer 6-75, Chavez 3-18, Easter 1-4, Fowler 1-3. Perry-Lecompton: Welch 18-51, Metcalfe 11-39.

Passing — Andale: Hunter 7-12-0, 131 yards. Perry-Lecompton: Welch 15-28-0, 102 yards.

Receiving — Andale: Easter 3-60, Landers 2-64, Meyer 1-11, Rowalnd 1-minus 4. Perry-Lecompton: Williams 4-33, Metcalfe 2-0, Hess 3-12, Roush 3-42, Stone 1-10, Quinlan 2-5.