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Holton Finishes State Runner Up to Andale
By Justin Fluke
Copyright: MSC Sports

3A State Championship in Hutchinson = Andale 28, Holton 0

Despite holding Andale to a season low scoring total in their closest game of the year and pitching a shutout in the second half until the final minute, Holton couldn't match the big plays at key times and turned the ball over three times in the second half to finish runner-up to an Indian team that may go down as one of the best 3A teams of all time.  It was the 51st consecutive win for Andale and fourth straight undefeated state title as they pitched their seventh shutout of the season. 

Holton didn't make it easy for Andale and forced them to play for al four quarters while making the Indians march 80 yards on 14 plays, 89 yards on 12 plays and 65 yards on 11 plays for their three touchdowns to take a 22-0 halftime lead. Those drives all included big conversions as Andale was 4-5 on fourth down plays. None were bigger than the first drive when it was fourth and goal at the 16-yard-line and Wyatt Spexarth found Riley Marx out of the backfield for a touchdown and two-point run that made it 8-0 with just 4:50 left in the first quarter. After a Wildcat three-and-out, Andale fumbled the ball and Holton had it at the opponents 40-yard-line. However on the Cats fourth down play, they were stopped at the 11 just short of a first down. Andale went on another long touchdown drive capped by a Spexarth QB sneak after converting a third and eight when Kelby Eck went up and won a jump ball.  

The story would continue with Andale making key plays at clutch times when they needed. Holton had the ball three times in the redzone, but threw an interception on fourth down at the 13 after finding some offensive momentum on the opening drive of the second half. Still trailing 22-0, Holton then had a fumble after a nice run to the Andale 10 yard line early in the fourth quarter and the Indians went on a 19-play drive converting three times on third down and long with big catches and plays by Noah Bruce and  Cody Parthemer to seal the game.  Andale scored the final touchdown with 51 seconds left in the contest.

Andale won the time of possession 34:19 minutes to Holton having just 13:41 and the Indians had 22 first downs while the Cats managed only six. Spexarth was 7-12 for 142 yards passing and Andale ran for 246 yards to finish with 388 total offense in a balanced attack with Marx, Gage Prosser and Owen Eck all running for between 63-70 yards each. 

Holton completed one of three passes from Matt Lierz to Jayden Fletcher for 33 yards early in the second half but was held to 128 yards rushing on 29 attempts. Lierz had a team high 68 yards while Fletcher added 35 and leading back Garyson Booth was held to 24 yards on 11 carries. Defensively, Lierz had 15 total tackles while Caleb Hernandez had 13, Fletcher finished with 10 and Booth registered 8 stops on the day. 

Holton finished the season 11-2 with both losses against state champions in Andale and 2A and Big 7 champ Nemaha Central. 15 Wildcats seniors closed their career with a 38-8 mark including three trips to the state semifinals and a state title appearance this year which was the eighth time under Coach Brooks Barta at Holton. 

©2023 MSC Sports
Hiawatha, KS 66434
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