HUTCHINSON — For the second straight season, Andale and Perry-Lecompton emerged from the Class 3A State Playoffs as the top two teams.
In last year’s title game, Andale won 35-7 behind a suffocating defensive performance. Fast forward a year and little has changed.
Perry-Lecompton had its chances, but the Andale defense recorded four interceptions en route to a 20-0 victory for the defending state champions Saturday afternoon at Gowans Stadium.
In addition to holding a decisive advantage in the turnover battle, Andale rushed for 246 yards while holding the Kaws to 109 yards on the ground.
"It’s special to win a state championship any year, but it’s extra special with the way 2020 has been," Andale head coach Dylan Schmidt said. "I’m so happy for our seniors and so proud of all the hard work they’ve put in."
Andale (12-0) has now gone undefeated in back to back years and owns the state’s longest winning streak at 25 games. Outside of a 7-point game against Cheney in October of 2019, a strong argument could be made that Andale’s two toughest games have come against Perry-Lecompton during this current stretch.
"Perry-Lecompton is tough," Schmidt said. "The difference was the takeaways."
The Kaws finish as 3A runner up for the second straight year. After a 9-4 record last year, Perry-Lecompton ends the 2020 season at 11-2.
"I love our kids, I love the way they competed," Perry-Lecompton head coach Mike Paramore said. "They’re hurting right now because this game meant a lot to them. I couldn’t be more proud of how hard they played, we just weren’t good enough today."
Establishing the run was a big key for both teams. Perry-Lecompton’s first drive went 12 plays and took 6:56 off the clock, but ended in Andale territory when Caden Parthemer picked off Thad Metcalfe.
Andale’s first drive went 16 plays, 83 yards, and took over seven minutes off the clock. Noah Meyer capped off the drive with a 15-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter to give Andale a 6-0 lead.
Perry-Lecompton’s second drive looked just as promising as its first, but ended again with an interception, this time Jacob Engelbrecht recording the pick.
Andale methodically marched down the field and made it a 12-0 game with 3:27 left in the half when Eli Rowland scored from 7 yards out.
Nearing the end of the first half, each team only had two possessions a piece. Andale scored on its chances while Perry-Lecompton was denied.
Schmidt said the dagger came on Andale’s opening drive of the second half when his team went 15 plays, 60 yards, and took 7:38 off the clock and capitalized with a 3-yard run from Rowland.
"I felt like that was the back-breaker," Schmidt said. "Once we got the ball back, we were trying to run the clock out and keep the clock moving.
"In the end, we did what we needed to do, and I couldn’t be more pleased."
Perry-Lecompton had another promising drive end in Andale territory. Early in the fourth, the Kaws turned the ball over on downs at the Andale 21.
The Perry-Lecompton defense respond by forcing Andale to punt for the first time. Again, the offense marched onto the other side of the 50, but Engelbrecht picked up his second interception to halt that drive.
Engelbrecht said he suffered a dislocated shoulder after his first interception, went to the locker room, then came back and delivered a second interception.
"It wasn’t over for me," Engelbrecht said. "I wanted to help my team win."
In the end, Perry-Lecompton had its chances, but the Andale defense stepped up when it needed to.
"We had some nice drives, but we have to be able to finish," Paramore said. "When you play a good football team, turnovers are going to eat you up, and Andale took advantage of them."
Andale graduates a senior class of 14. Schmidt took over as head coach at Andale when these seniors were freshmen.
The graduating seniors reached three state championship games, won two, and complied a record of 48-2.
"You can’t ask for more," Schmidt said.
The Kaws graduate 12 seniors. A junior-heavy team last year, Perry-Lecompton looked the part of a talented, experienced team in 2020.
"This is a tremendous group of seniors, I love everything they’ve done for our program," Paramore said. "They put so much into our program. It’s a tribute to them to play in back to back state championship games."