Perry-Lecompton falls to Andale in 3A state championship game

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Hutchinson — The Class 3A state championship game couldn’t have started any worse on Saturday for Perry-Lecompton. But overcoming early adversity is nothing new for the Kaws.

Playing in its second state-championship game in school history, against established power Andale, Perry-Lecompton was behind 13 seconds into the game.

But the Kaws battled. They scrapped. They did everything possible to get back in the game.

Perry-Lecompton was hanging around early in the fourth quarter, but then the powerful Indians pulled away and wrapped up their undefeated season with a 35-7 win at Gowans Stadium.

“It’s been our resilience all year,” Perry-Lecompton coach Mike Paramore said. “It was the worst way to start a state championship game, but we battled back and gave ourselves a chance.”

Andale received the opening kickoff and started its first drive at its own 28-yard line. Then, Eli Rowland ran right, followed some blocking, bolted down the sideline and shook off a couple of tacklers before scoring.

When Perry-Lecompton punted after three plays on its first possession, it appeared the rout was on.

Instead, the Kaws battled.

The Kaws’ talented offense didn’t get much going, mustering just 192 yards on 57 plays, but the defense kept Andale in check for most of the game.

While the Indians led 14-0 at halftime, 163 of their 198 first-half yards came on three plays.

“They really play physical,” said Perry-Lecompton junior Dawson Williams. “They’re the most physical team we’ve seen all year, and we didn’t match that.”

Perry-Lecompton (9-4) seemed to have little hope after three quarters, down 21-0 and unable to do much against a stout Andale defense. But when Grant Roush hauled in a splendid 21-yard touchdown pass from William Welch with 10:42 left in the game, there was hope as the Kaws trailed 21-7.

“We’ve been resilient all year,” Paramore said. “We started out 1-2, and then we were 3-3. We were down against Wamego, and we came back to win. We were down against Hayden, and we came back to win. That showed the character of these kids. They’re a great group to coach.”

The Kaws’ defense had done enough to keep them in the game. One more stop, and Perry-Lecompton could start making things interesting.

Alas, just three plays after Roush’s touchdown, Andale quarterback Easton Hunter fired a 60-yard touchdown pass to Cole Landers. Rowland tacked on a 17-yard touchdown run with 7:21 left, all but wrapping up Andale’s fourth state title, to go with championships won in 2006, 2007 and 2014.

But Perry-Lecompton proved its November was no fluke. The Kaws played a clean game, with no turnovers and just two penalties. They also had 12 first downs to 14 for Andale.

Plus, with a number of juniors and sophomores contributing this season, the foundation may have already been set for a strong 2020.

“I think it was a good experience,” said Welch, who finished his strong junior year with 102 yards passing and 51 rushing on Saturday. “We’ll go into the offseason with a different mentality for sure, but we hurt for the seniors right now.”

Box score

ANDALE 35, PERRY-LECOMPTON 7

Andale 7 7 7 14 – 35

Perry-Lecompton 0 0 0 7 – 7

Scoring summary

A–Eli Rowland 72 run (Matti Sicker kick)

A–Easton Hunter 1 run (Sicker kick)

A–Mac Brand 3 run (Sicker kick)

PL–Grant Roush 21 pass from William Welch (Ticiano Gonzalez kick)

A–Cole Landers 60 pass from Hunter (Sicker kick)

A–Rowland 17 run (Sicker kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: Andale, Rowland 11-136, Meyer 6-75, Brand 10-21, Chavez 3-18, Easter 1-4, Fowler 1-3, Hunter 1-(minus 3). Perry-Lecompton, Welch 18-51, Metcalfe 11-39.

PASSING: Andale, Hunter 7-12-131. Perry-Lecompton, Welch 15-28-102.

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

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