Picture by Brad Anderson, pictured is Taygen Funston
ABILENE – The Abilene Cowboy football team fell 28-21 to Andover Central in the second round of the playoffs. The loss played out like the Cowboy’s 35-34 heartbreaking, second round loss, at Andover Central in 2015. In both games Abilene fell behind only to have their rally fall short.
Friday night, Andover Central was able to score on their second and third drives of the game. Maddox Archibald, scored on their second series on a 22 yard touchdown reception from Jace Jefferson. Archibald would then score on a 2 yard run to increase the Jaguars lead to 14-0 with 4:18 to play in the 1st quarter.
In the second quarter, Abilene Sophomore Taygen Funston picked off Jefferson on consecutive series. The second interception Funston returned for an apparent pick-6 but the officials ruled that Funston stepped out at the 5 yard line. On first down, on another close call, Abilene running back, Zach Miller was called down short of the goal line and the Jaguars would go on to stop Abilene on 4 plays. Andover Central, with momentum on their side, hit Abilene for a big pass play. Jefferson connected with Landon Kitterman from 90 yards out and the Jaguars extended their lead to 21-0 with 4:25 to play in the half.
Abilene’s offense would finally come to life at the end of the second quarter. The Cowboys put together a 11 play drive, that was capped by a Stocton Timbrook to Brax Fisher 4 yard pass play. Their touchdown came with just 8.9 seconds to play in the half to narrow the Andover Central lead to 21-7.
Abilene opened the second half with the football and put together the drive of the night. The Cowboy’s drive was 13 plays, covered 86 yards and took 6:01 off the clock. The Abilene drive was capped by a Zach Miller 1 yard touchdown run with 5:53 to play in the 3rd quarter, to cut the Jaguar lead to 21-14. Andover Central took the momentum right back with an 85 yard kick return by Jace Adler. The Jaguar score pushed their lead to 28-14 with 5:37 to play in the 3rd quarter.
The Cowboys scored for the third time in 4 possessions on their final score of the night. Timbrook would connect with Rock from 21 yards out to with 10:53 to play in the game. Abilene got the ball back with 2:24 to play in the game at their own 42 yard line. The Cowboys got to the Andover Central 1 yard line on a 14 yard reception by Brax Fisher, in which he caught the ball over the shoulder with 2 defenders on him. On 3rd and goal, Abilene tried a play-action pass that was intercepted by Brandt Stupka. It was the Cowboys only turnover of the game.
Abilene finished with 339 yards of total offense with 292 of that through the air. Timbrook was 27-50 for 292 yards and 2 touchdowns with 1 interception. He broke single season records for passing yards with 2,000+ and 31 touchdowns on the season. Fisher had 10 catches for 102 yards and became the single-season leader for touchdown catches with 11. Rock had 5 catches for 60 yards with a touchdown. He finished the season with 10 touchdown catches. Miller led the team in rushing on the night, with 21 carries for 49 yards.
Abilene finished the season 7-3. The Nex-Tech Wireless Players of the Game was the Cowboy Seniors: Brax Fisher, Stocton Timbrook, C.J. Brooks, Keaton Hargrave, Zach Miller, Sam Whitehair, Kayden Timm, Gavin Runyon, Hunter Clark and Joe Nicks.
Andover Central improved to 7-3 and will play at McPherson in the next round.