Intro goes awry for Rebel newcomers

High-flying Andover cruises 42-14

 

by Nick Clark

Sun POST Newspapers

 

The lights were turned back on last Thursday, and while it wasn’t technically a Friday, this was the return of big time high school football.

To verify it, Andover’s Connor Wilkie and Chris Larson put the type of show reserved for that sort of stage.

Wilkie, the Huskies quarterback, hit on 13 of 21 passes for 394 yards and three touchdowns. Six of those balls went to Larson, who collected all three scores and racked up 269 yards.

Larson also took the opening kick-off of the 2013 season back for a 97-yard touchdown.

It was a heck of a show, and it resulted in a 42-14 victory over Champlin Park, something the Rebels were prepared to accept when it was over.

“They were unreal out there,” said Champlin Park quarterback Max Biegert of his offensive counterparts. “Connor might be one of the best quarterbacks in the state, so I had to watch. There wasn’t much we could do to slow them down.”

That refrain might be echoed for the next seven weeks, as Wilkie and his arsenal take their video game-like assault through a season in which they are expected to contend for a Class 5A Prep Bowl appearance.

Champlin Park running back Jusias Kalis gets swallowed up by the Andover defense during the Rebels season opening loss Aug. 29. Champlin Park will host DeLaSalle at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6. (Sun staff photo by Nick Clark)

Champlin Park running back Jusias Kalis gets swallowed up by the Andover defense during the Rebels season opening loss Aug. 29. Champlin Park will host DeLaSalle at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6. (Sun staff photo by Nick Clark)

For the Rebels, who expected some growing pains early this year, it was an example of what experience can provide.

Andover returned 19 starters this year, compared to a half dozen from Champlin Park.

It showed on the very first play of 2013 when Larson gathered in the opening kick-off and went the distance to stake Andover to an early 7-0 lead.

“That hurt,” Biegert admitted.

The Huskies made it 14-0 the next time they touched the ball after Derek McLaughlin finished a short drive with a 13-yard touchdown run, and it would be 21-0 after the opening quarter thanks to a 77-yard touchdown pass from Wilkie to Larson.

“They got on us early, and that didn’t make it easy,” said Champlin Park head coach Mike Korton. “I’d like to believe we can roll with the punches, but I felt like the first quarter or so we were not playing how we have practiced.”

That would come for the Rebels, but it would be far too late.

Biegert got Champlin Park on the board to get them within 21-6 on a one-yard run. Andover answered immediately however, as Larson went 49 yards with a pass to make it 28-6.

The Rebels had a chance to cut into the lead just before the half, but were stopped 10-yards shy of an opportunity to make it a two score game heading into the second half.

Andover responded by forcing a punt on the first Champlin Park possession of the second half, giving Wilkie a chance to go back up top to Larson, this time for 81 yards and a 35-6 advantage.

Wilkie exited after the score. His back-up – Ben Peterson threw a ball that was intercepted by Dillon Cox and returned 61 yards for Champlin Park’s only other touchdown of the evening.

Biegert finished his first start by throwing for 161 yards. Marty Hill took in 109 of those yards on seven catches.

Champlin Park will play make its home debut this week. The Rebels host DeLaSalle at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6.

 

Contact Nick Clark at nick.clark@ecm-inc.com

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