By CONOR NICHOLL
Since the start of 2021, Andale has the best winning percentage among current 3A teams. The Indians are 15-0 and have a 40-game winning streak, easily Kansas’ best current run.
Second-best? Girard Trojans.
Girard won 17 games in four seasons under coach Neal Philpot, a former all-state Norton quarterback and All-American signal caller at Pittsburg State. Last year, Girard broke through with a 10-1 mark, the school’s best season since 1999.
Girard finished No. 13 in 48-team 3A in scoring offense at 31.9 points per game. The Trojans were fourth in scoring defense with 11.9 points allowed a contest. Girard flipped its turnover margin from minus-20 to plus-11 last season. The Trojans had several comeback wins, including a 13-6 victory versus Frontenac. Girard and Galena, which did not play each other, each tied with a 4-0 mark in CNC play. It marked Girard’s first league title since 2012.
Girard has continued the success in 2022 with a pair of CNC victories. The Trojans won at Columbus, 20-15, and defeated Pittsburg Colgan, 38-12. Girard has won seven straight home games. Colgan was a top-5 1A squad. Girard is home versus Galena this week in another key CNC contest.
Girard trailed Columbus 9-0 after the first quarter and 9-6 at halftime. In the second half, Girard received runs of four and three yards for scores. Girard outgained Columbus, 255-192. The Trojans were even in turnover margin and had a sizable advantage in third/fourth down conversions at 9 of 18. Columbus was 6 of 16. Adam Shireman had two tackles for the Trojans.
Girard controlled Colgan and led 24-6 at halftime and 38-6. Girard has several standouts. Alex Coester has 15 attempts for 86 yards and four scores. Coester had runs of one, 20, one, and one yard. Standout quarterback Luke Niggemann delivered a seven-yard TD run. Beau Harris had an 11-yard TD run. Niggemann has a Pittsburg State offer and was first team all-state punter. He pinned one of two punts inside the Colgan 20-yard line.
Girard outgained Colgan, 319-194, and finished plus-1 in turnover margin. The Trojans were 7 of 10 on third/fourth down, while Colgan was 5 of 13. Shireman recorded a tackle for loss. Anthony Pike finished with 10 tackles. Girard recovered two fumbles and blocked a kick.