Andover’s potent attack leads the way over Elks, 35-20

Andover’s offense continues to pile up the points as running back Derek McLaughlin rushed for 181 yards and three touchdowns and quarterback Connor Wilkie completed 12-18 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns when the Huskies moved to 4-0 with a 35-20 win at Elk River (0-4) Sept. 20.

Andover quarterback Connor Wilkie, left, celebrates with Jake McNallan, middle, and Chris Larson, right, after a score against Coon Rapids Sept. 17. Photo by Jason Olson

Andover quarterback Connor Wilkie, left, celebrates with Jake McNallan, middle, and Chris Larson, right, after a score against Coon Rapids Sept. 17. Photo by Jason Olson

McLaughlin also caught a 12-yard touchdown pass to give him four scores, but the Huskies offense came up short in nearly every statistical category except for the scoreboard.

Elk River’s offense placed a premium on running the ball to sustain drives.

Therefore, Andover’s defense was on the field more than usual and the offense had to be efficient all game.

“It was a battle,” Huskies coach Rich Wilkie said. “It was one of those back and forth games early and they’re such a ball control team and have such a good offense that it was more dangerous for them to keep us off the field.”

As a result, it limited the Huskies offensive options and forced them to be more aggressive to get first downs and keep the ball moving.

Not only were the Huskies out gained by 29 yards on 42 fewer plays, but Elk River also held the ball for 17 minutes, 36 seconds longer.

The first drive by Elk River set the tone for the game as it marched 83 yards on 20 plays over 8 minutes, 49 seconds to lead 7-0.

Andover responded with a five-play, 80-yard drive that took 90 seconds. McLaughlin scored from five yards out to tie the game 7-7 in the opening quarter.

Elk River continued to disguise the ball carrier while extending drives with big third- and fourth-down conversions.

“Conditioning was a factor for us and it came down to the bend but don’t break for us,” Wilkie said. “It’s one thing to stop them and another [thing] to make sure they don’t score.”

Elks running back Denis Bardshevskiy had 221 yards on the ground with two touchdowns and caught two passes for 15 yards.

 

Jason Olson is at
jason.olson@ecm-inc.com

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