by Jason Olson
SportsPrepZone Editor

Seventh-ranked Andover (4-0) continued the latest tradition in its on-going rivalry with Anoka (0-4) in which the visiting team seems to be favored as the Huskies walked out of Goodrich Field with a 27-17 win Friday night.

Anoka carried a 10-7 lead at the half before Andover opened the second half with a 60-yard scoring drive to lead 14-10. With the score 20-17, Andover linebacker Ryan Emmerich returned an interception 33 yards to make it a two-score game with just over three minutes remaining. Anoka responded with its own lengthy drive before they stalled on the five yard line as Andover ‘s defense came through again late in the fourth quarter. It was Tyler Bridgeman’s turn at making the big play as he intercepted a pass from Anoka quarterback Ben Britton in the end zone to extinguish any hopes of Anoka breaking into the win column.

“Those two picks were huge and it was a kind of bend-don’t-break defense for us tonight,” Andover coach Rich Wilkie said after Anoka managed to pass its way around the field more efficiently than running on the ground.”We had a lot of penalties again, like we did last week so that will be something to work on during the week.”

Andover ‘s offense continued to churn out yardage and scores from quarterback Tyler Finnes and running back Cole Werness. The two traded touchdowns with Finnes finding the end zone three times compared to Werness crossing the goal line twice.

“It’s definitely a rivalry-type game with a really good atmosphere,” Wilkie said about walking into the storied-field as the visitors. “Most of our kids would’ve gone to Anoka so they kind of develop a rivalry from that.”

Wilkie said the goal for the previous week was to figure out a way to offer a more balanced attack so they could disguise the pass more than they have through the first half of the regular season. “We just didn’t want to get stuck in obvious passing situations,” he said. “And obviously every team has a different recipe to stop you but its our job to make those in-game adjustments.”

Entering halftime on the losing end didn’t sit well with Wilkie. “The kids did a good job of handling the adversity of being down at half and defensively we’re just trying to get better. “It’s all about tackling and being in the right spots, which we were tonight on the two biggest plays.”

Champlin Park visits Andover Oct. 1 in a match-up that will test the strong Huskies defensive line and linebackers against sophomore running back Michael Sales. The Rebels struggled at home before disposing of Coon Rapids in double overtime 29-28. It will also be the second game against a ranked opponent in three weeks. The Rebels lost at No. 5 Blaine 28-21 Sept 17.


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