by Jason Olson

Defensive stands, long offensive drives and field goals led No. 2 seed Andover to defeat No. 7 seed Anoka 16-13 Oct. 26 in the Section 7AAAAA opener.

Huskies senior quarterback Tyler Finnes scored the eventual game-winning touchdown with 1:18 remaining as he followed the offensive line for the final five yards on third down as how the Huskies offense worked for much of the game.

Finnes scored on the game’s opening drive, guiding Andover on a nine-play, 78-yard drive that spanned nearly four minutes and ended with Finnes scoring from six yards out for part of his 155-yard game on 29 carries.

Anoka (2-7) responded with the first of a couple long drives that ended with quarterback Ben Britton scoring the touchdown on a run from one yard out. The drive covered 80 yards, 14 plays over 6:16 in the second quarter to make it 7-7 deep into the second quarter.

The Tornadoes looked to take a huge shot at not only the psyche of Andover but its first lead after the Huskies (8-2) turned the ball over on its own five yard line after a bad snap on a punt.

Anoka tried to pound the ball in using its powerful line play so far, but fullback Josh Werness was stopped on second and third downs setting up kicker Josh Strueve’s first field goal attempt of the game. He converted the kick, despite the wicked cross wind, giving Anoka a 10-7 lead heading into halftime.

Werness was the key force for the Anoka offense, carrying the ball 20 times for 103 yards, without being rewarded for a touchdown.

Coming out of the break, Anoka once again started with the ball and didn’t want to give it up, literally as they drove 80 yards spanning more than 15 plays in 9:06.

Buerkle said the goal of what was said at halftime was to make sure they kept the Andover offense off the field as long as possible. They did exactly that, with one exception – coming away with a touchdown. Anoka had to settle for a second field goal by Strueve to take a 13-7 lead instead of 17-7 for the lone points for the third quarter.

Andover began its comeback with a strong defensive stand, which forced Anoka to punt as the snap on the punt sailed well over the punter’s head, through the end zone and out of the back of the end zone for a safety to make it 13-9 with 3:27 left in the game.

As a result of the safety, Anoka punted from its own 20 yard line. The kick, traveling into the wind, hit Anoka ‘s 40 yard line and simply stalled as it fell to the grass, giving the Huskies a very short field to work with.

Andover took advantage of the good bounce, setting up Finnes’ go-ahead score to earn another home game.

Coon Rapids , the No. 3 seed, comes to Andover Oct. 30 for the second round of sectional play. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.


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