ANDOVER — McPherson scored the first goals of the season against the Andover Central Jaguars on Thursday night, but it wasn’t enough as the Bullpups fell 4-2 in Andover. McPherson’s 2-1 halftime lead wasn’t enough.

McPherson fell to 7-2 on the season with the loss. While the Jaguars improve to 7-0 on the season.

“I thought we fought hard,” McPherson head coach Chris Adrian said. “This is a great learning experience for us.”

Andover Central’s Layton Harper scored in the first 50 seconds of the match but that didn’t matter as the McPherson Bullpups’ Drew Shrader scored his 10th goal of the season in the fourth minute, equalizing the match at one apiece. 

The pressure and the possession remained tough all match long for McPherson. Time after time, McPherson countered anything the Jaguars threw at them. Often pushing their defensive line back, limiting counters. Andover Central only had three shots on goal in the first half, including the goal.

The midfield won the first half for McPherson. Their ability to limited passes in the middle and keep in on the wings provided to be decisive.

Drew Schrader equalized in the fourth minute on a bad turnover in Andover Central’s defensive third. The Bullpups found a centering Schrader, who found the back of the net.

It was the first goal allowed by Andover Central since they were eliminated in the Class 4A playoffs last season.

The intensity was stepped up as McPherson proved to be the more physical team, bodying the Jaguars and forcing careless passes. 

Right before halftime, Schrader did it again for his second goal. It also was the first time Andover Central had trailed all season long.

Things changed in the second half. The Jaguars turned up the heat, pressuring the Bullpup midfield and forcing them into mistakes that didn’t happen in the first half.

“Central has a good coach,” Adrian said. “They appeared to make the right adjustments in the second half.

McPherson was without Cody Achilles who ran cross country on Thursday afternoon.

In the 53rd minute, Andover Central finally answered back after maintain pressure and possession, unlike in the first half. It was Harper’s second goal of the match, leveling it at 2-2.

The match really turned south for McPherson when Andover Central was awarded a penalty kick. Harper placed it off the crossbar, bouncing back into play. Central’s Jayden Vossen put it in the net, giving the Jags a 3-2 lead. 

Andover turned up the heat, applying multiple shots, forcing McPherson into mistakes. Vossen capped off the match with a rocket into the upper 90 in the 76th minute, giving the Jaguars a 4-2 lead.

McPherson returns to the field on Tuesday, Oct. 1 at home against El Dorado. Kick off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Last season, McPherson beat El Dorado 10-0 at BG Products Veterans Sports Complex in El Dorado.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Andover Central down the road,” Adrian said. “We know we can play with them.”