One of the bigger surprises so far of Class 4A football for 2019 has been the Andover Central High School Jaguars led by first head coach Derek Tuttle.
The Jaguars are 3-0 on the season and coming off one of the bigger upsets in the state last week as they handled Goddard, last years 4A runner-up from start to finish, 38-21.
A big reason that Andover Central has been so successful is their spread passing offense that is full of athletes. Shomari Parnell, a senior quarterback, has been able to find playmakers through the air like Matt Macy, Xavier Bell, Ty Hermann and Trey DeGarmo on the way to an undefeated start. The Jaguars did return six on offense and eight on defense from a team that went 5-5 last season. But it’s been players like Macy, maybe one of the more unknown of the above, that have stepped up big for the Jaguars.
Macy, a three-year starter for the Jaguars, has been a breakout player across the state this season along with most of the teammates mentioned above. He had 361 yards receiving as a sophomore, 356 yards receiving as a junior and already has 360 yards receiving after three games of his senior year. With a two-yard reception he will top his numbers from any other year with the majority of the season left. He has 17 career touchdown receptions, five of those coming this year. Macy has been of biggest breakout receivers in the state this season
Macy also knows that having a multiple-sport all-state selection that everyone knows about in Bell as a receiver opens some things up for him. He also credits Parnell for allowing him to be a big-time playmaker this season.
“Xavier is such a weapon on the offensive end that if you don’t focus on him, he will have 300 yards and three touchdowns. That has helped open me up. Shomari always gives me the best chance to go make a play. He knows where to put the ball. I am very fortunate to play with Xavier and Shomari”. Macy said.
Macy, who stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 170-puonds, has 4.6 40 speed and plays multiple sports for the Jaguars. He was a reserve on the state championship 5A basketball team last winter while he is a starter on the Andover Central baseball team that took third place last year.
Andover Central is one of the hottest teams in 4A right now and will take on Valley Center on the road this Friday. We caught up with Macy below in the latest Q&A edition of Faces in Kansas.
This feature is presented by BlueChip Spine and Sports Specialists is proud to suppor thte Jaguars and Matthew Macy. Best of luck this season!
Q&A w/ Matthew Macy
How did you get involved in football?
I got involved in football through my friends pushing me to play. I didn’t think I would have fun but man was I wrong. Them talking to me into playing was one of the best things to happen to me.
What are your goals this season?
Our goals this season are to make it to the state title game. That has been our goal since we came into the program. We also would like to win our league. My goals are to lead the league in yards and TD’s.
Do you guys have a shot to make a run this year?
Yes, there is no doubt in my mind that this Andover Central team can make a run in the playoffs. Every year I have been here we have lost to the team that has gone deep into the playoffs. My sophomore year we lost to a very talents Andale team in the 2nd round. My junior year we lost to Goddard high school who would end up playing in the state title game. This year we have the tools to make a run. Of course we will have to show up and play every week, as we do not have an easy game all year. Our league is loaded with talent, and anyone can beat anyone. Like last week Maize South, a top tier team in 5a, had a close call with Valley Center. I bet no expected Valley to be in that game, but Valley is a very talented team. That is just one example. As long as we show up every week focused and ready to play, Andover Central will be practicing late in November.
What makes you such a force as a player?
The thing that makes me such a force as a player is the talents of Xavier Bell. Xavier is such a weapon on the offensive end. If you don’t focus on him he has the talent to post 300 and 3 that day. That is just the type of player he is, he can score on any play at any time. Xavier really opens up my game, because it makes teams guard me 1v1 . Another thing that makes me a force is our quarterback, Shomari Parnell. Shomari always gives me the best chance to go make a play. He knows where to put the ball and he knows when I am going to come open. I am very fortunate to play with Xavier and Shomari.
What’s the atmosphere like to play football on Friday night for your school and town?
The atmosphere here in Andover is amazing. Our fans, in my opinion, are the best in the state. They travel so well, and always make us players feel like we have a home field advantage. Our students, no matter what sport, make so much noise and always cheer us on. One example is our crowds during state basketball, they turned Emporia State’s gym into Andover Central’s gym. Another example of how great our fans are is that before football games at 3:30 we have a school tailgate outside of the stadium. The teachers here at Andover Central are also just as amazing. They always ask how the team is doing, and how every kid is. Everyone here cares about one another. We are truly a family here at Andover Central and I am lucky to be a piece of it. As far as our town goes, it is nothing less than amazing. All sorts of people attend the games, cheer us on, and donate money when we have a fundraiser. We are in a great situation here in Andover, we have the best fans in the state like I said before. We also have ex players, coaches, and teachers, come back to check on the team. Which is awesome, seeing ex players that have worn the same jersey that we have is a huge deal. Here is all about the team, and not about me. So when people come back it just shows how much everyone cares about anyone in a Jaguar uniform.
For anyone that hasn’t seen one of your games, why come to one?
If I was a person that hasn’t been to our games I would go just to see an action packed game. We love to throw the ball and make big plays on offense, and our defense loves to make big hits and create turnovers. Plus our fans will be as loud as they can for 4 quarters.
Who are other key players on your team?
Xavier Bell: 6’3 180lb WR
Shomari Parnell: 6’0 170lb QB/DB
Trey DeGarmo: 6’0 195lb OLB/TE
Ty Herrmann: 6’0 180lb RB/SS
Jake Taylor: 5’11 165lb DB/WR/PR
Bridger Warrington: 6’0 170lb OLB
Brigdon Stupka: 6’4 205 DE/TE
Jacob Rees: 5’10 165 MLB/RB/DB
Favorite thing about football?
My favorite thing about football would have to be just being around my brothers and going out and competing. We have all grown up together and we are very close. These past 4 years of football with them have been the best times of my life. The guys around me make every second count. It is going to be difficult to say goodbye to them at the end of this year.
Do you play any other sports, tell us about that, what other positions do you play?
I also play basketball and baseball here at Andover Central. This upcoming season with be my 4 year playing each sport here at AC. As far as basketball wise I don’t play much varsity, but our team has been above average every year since I have been here. Last year we won the 5a State Title in basketball. Coach Herrmann, our basketball head coach, also happens to be my neighbor. He has coached me since I started playing sports, so it is a great feeling to be playing for him again. Our team this year for basketball will be senior loaded. All 9 seniors on the basketball team are also on the football team. We are looking to make another run this year in basketball. Our key players for basketball will be Xavier Bell, Jerome Washington, Shomari Parrnell, and Ty Herrmann. As far as baseball goes we will also be a senior loaded team, with a couple of young guys that will help us out as well. Our coaches Grant Bacon and Chad Gerwick have amazing baseball knowledge, we are very fortunate to have them. Coach Bacon has the win mentality, he preaches the little things and that is what has made him a successful coach. Coach Gerwick is always talking about how we can better prepare ourselves for life, it’s more than a game to him. Our season last year did not go as planned, but we are looking to bounce back and be a competitive team this year. Our top baseball players include, Trey DeGarmo: P/3B, Tristen Saunders: CF/P, Easton Elliot: SS/P, and we have a good young catcher in Matthew Buffington.
What is it like to play for your coach?
Playing for Coach Tuttle has been an unbelievable experience. He is all about the kids, and he’s not just involved with the football team. He cares about every sports team in the school. He does these event nights to where he pays our admission few into sporting events which I think is really cool. Like the other night he bought us pizza and had us go cheer on our volleyball team. He did the same for our middle school football team when they played Andover. When he accepted the position last spring, he immediately asked us seniors what we liked and what we thought should change. He is trying to get our program heading in the right direction, and he started with the senior involvement. He also brought in college coaches from all over the Midwest to come talk to us. He also got our summer weights attendance number to go up. He is just an amazing guy, and an amazing coach. We did have the right guy leading us.
What did you and the team do in the off-season to become better?
Most of our off-season was summer weights Monday-Thursday at 6:30 in the morning. We all had OTA’s on Wednesday after weights. We had about 4 of those. We attended a couple 7v7 events in Rose Hill, where we faced Rose Hill, Southeast, and East. Then during our team camp at the end of JUne, is when we really started to do the most football stuff. We scrimmaged each other, put in our new formations and plays, and had a few team competitions. Then during the summer Coach Tuttle had a senior cookout at one of our assistant coaches house. We all just hung around each other for the day, ate some food, play cornhole, played basketball, and swam. Then we had several guys attend college prospect camps throughout the summer.
What interest are you seeing at the next level and what are your plans?
I am seeing a little interest as far as the next level. I would love to go play college football, I enjoy playing and I love being apart of a team. It is also a huge honor to be a college athlete
Favorite thing to do when you aren’t playing sports?
My favorite thing to do when I am not playing sports would definitely being around the guys on the team. We always try to find time to hang out and we always come up with new ideas. A couple of things we have done would consist of tailgating at different college football games, having a watch party at one of our houses, going to the lake, playing sand volleyball at the Wichita Sports Forum, playing pickup basketball in the backyard, or whatever else we think about doing that day.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself coaching at either the High School or College level. I really want to help kids accomplish the same goals I had. Plus I want to help them grow as young men.
Favorite subject in school, what type of student are you, GPA?
My favorite subject in school would have to be History. Just learning about all the things that happened before I was here seems interesting. Plus History makes you think more than other courses do. In math or science there is only one answer, in history you can think and explore what you believe other people did. You can decide what you want to believe is right and wrong. I am a student who gets my stuff turned in and gets good test scores. I feel like sports has helped me with my time management in school, so that is a bonus. I have a 3.2 GPA
Who is your role model?
My role model would have to be my dad. He played college baseball at Washburn University, so he knows what it takes to get to the next level. I just want to follow in his footsteps and play a sport in college.
Best place to eat in your town or the surrounding area?
Pablanos is a mexican restaurant on Central and Greenwich. The team loves to go there for our Team Dinner night, as they have excellent food, good prices, and amazing customer service. They are always happy to see us and they always want to know what’s going on with the team.
One thing the average person wouldn’t know about you?
People probably don’t know that I like to fish with my dad. We went to Tennessee over the summer and fished there, we have a place in Augusta and Chanute that we go over to, and we’ve been playing a trip to Canada.
Anything else to add?
Want to give my dad a shoutout for always pushing me to become the best person I can be. He always in telling me to try new things to help me improve at life. He is the reason I am who I am.