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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Panthers Battle Blackhawks

In a matchup of closely matched teams, the Panthers and Blackhawks played a hard fought game on a wet Friday night. It was an exciting game with lead changes and a late comeback attempt that fell short. Both teams have been bitten by the injury bug, but were pretty back up to full strength for this game. With the wet field, turnovers would play a role in the game.

Mississinawa Valley scored first and made it look easy. Two carries by Darick Hiatt put the Blackhawks up 7-0 just a minute into the game. He rambled to the 1 yard line on the first carry of the game and scored on a one yard TD run. The Blackhawks tried an onsides kick but South recovered and got good field position. Skylar Reckers scored for TVS on a 2 yard TD set up by a drive where Miles McCollum ran for most of the yardage.

Now the momentum swung over to the Panthers. They returned a favor and did an onsides kick of their own. Ryan Burns fell on the ball and again South’s offense found themselves at midfield. This time South worked outside the tackles with both Balthis and Reckers gaining yardage. The drive was capped with a 10 yard Skylar Reckers TD run.

The TVS defense played inspired football, pinning the Blackhawks deep in their territory. Grant Kreitzer would have 7 tackles at halftime. South was able to score twice with Steve Balthis TD carrying on both runs. Two interceptions ended two other Panther drives. The Blackhawks were still full of fight. Towards the end of the half quarterback Trent Heitkamp was scrambling, then found some daylight and more as he took the ball 65 yards to the house. South had a commanding lead at the half 27-17.

The momentum swung over to the Blackhawks side in the third quarter. South began the half at their own 6 yard line. A poor punt gave the Blackhawks great field position. Darick Hiatt’s 9 yard carry put the Blackhawks back within a TD. South needed a spark to get their momentum back. Skylar Reckers responded early in the 4th quarter by intercepting a pass and returning it about 25 yards for a touchdown. Panthers piled in the endzone in response to the big play. Now the Blackhawks needed two scores to catch the Panthers.

The Panthers had a couple more big plays to end the game. Tyler Leach made a critical sack on 4th down at the 5:49 mark to end a Blackhawk drive. Then when South needed a critical first down on long yardage (from a holding penalty) to keep possession, Miles McCollum sprang for 22 yards and gave South a fresh set of downs. When the Blackhawks finally got the ball back, there was only 42 seconds left on the clock. Not enough time for two scores and the Panther would get their first victory of the season 33-20.

For pics, audio and more sports go to: Chris Tilton Sports

Thursday, September 04, 2008

South – Slow Start, Strong Finish

South started slow in their first volleyball set, but finished strong against rival TriCounty North. It is rare for one team to beat the other in straight sets in this annual rivalry. This match was no different as it took all 5 sets to determine the winner. It did get heated at times as TVS head coach Leslie Roberts received a yellow card in a dispute over rules interpretation with the referee.

Due to some electric problems the game was started a little late. South seemed nervous and unsettled in the first set. Some early miscues allowed North to go up 17-9 early. South rallied back to pull within a point 18-19. But then resumed their sloppy play and allowed the ball to fall several times sparking a North win 25-20.

The next two sets were split with South winning the next one decisively 25-14, and then North doing the same to South with a solid 25-16 win. North’s Abbie Schlater had some vicious spikes during this set to put North up 2-1. It seemed that the momentum was with North at this point.

But South was determined in the 4th set. It was a rubber band match where South got an early lead and North gamely hung onto their heels. They would close the gap only to have South pull ahead again. North was able to tie late in the match at 21 all. But then South went on a 4-1 run to put the set away with a 25-22 win. The last and deciding set saw the score tied 3 times. After a 9-9 tie, South went on another late rally to win the set and the game 15-10. South’s ability to finish strong in the last two sets was key to their victory.

“It was an awesome contest.” exclaimed South’s Coach Roberts after the game. “It was a traditional North – South rivalry. We were a little down this year and knew that they would be the team to beat. The game was in our own facility. We wanted to protect this floor and claim the victory. In the first set, the team was a little rattled. It was a matter of focusing and getting their heads back into the game.”

Coach Roberts was asked about South taking the last two sets, “I preach focus and execution. If they buy into that and realize that they can just let a mistake go and work on the next thing then we can get on a roll and act as a team. Our blockers, Amanda Beneke and Taylor Baker were critical – it allowed them not to run the middle. “

Next weeks coverage will be football - Dixie vs. Preble Shawnee.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hounds Slay Deer Park

In their opening game Dixie was slow to get started, but once they got their motor running, the team scored fast and furiously. Against Deer Park, the Grey Hounds raced off to an early lead, scoring three touchdowns in a little over three minutes. The game was over almost as soon as it started. They proceeded to score in each quarter and finally gave up a TD and safety in the fourth quarter to win 52-8.

Three minutes, three scores. Aaron Bingham set up the first score with a kickoff return to the 45 yard line. He finished the drive with about a 10 yard TD run. On the ensuing kickoff Deer Park coughed up the football. Aaron Bingham caught a pass from Nick Worley and went 35 yards for his second TD. Deer Park did finally get to run their offense, but fumbled and Woody Earls recovered. He capped off this short drive with a 4 yard TD run. When I looked at the clock there was 9:01 left in the first quarter and Dixie was already up by three scores.

Dixie scored twice more in the first quarter. Moore kicked a 25 yard field goal and Woody Earls ran about 20 yards for another score. Defensively, Aaron Bingham also had two interceptions in the first quarter. It was 31-0 12 minutes into the game. The Hounds scored in each of the next three quarters – Michael Hall rushed for a TD, Eddie Bellman caught a 30 yard TD pass, and backup quarterback Charles Grey scampered 13 yards for the last score of the night.

Coach Tarpley was asked about the difference in the first quarter from last week to this week, “Our receivers dropped a lot of passes in the first quarter last week, and this week the wide receivers came thru and caught the football and that made all the difference in the world. Our offensive line came thru and dominated the line of scrimmage. I didn’t think we did that against South in the first quarter.”

Coach Tarpley allowed that Eddie Bellman had a good game, “I don’t think he dropped one pass all night. Woody Earls had a good night rushing, with about 100 yards in the first half alone. Sophomore Ethan Hayes, our middle linebacker, had a superb game last night. He has a great football future in front of him, he’s dedicated and a leader. He had at least 8 solo tackles.”

Next week Dixie journeys to Fort Loramie, “They will be a great test for us, everyone is wanting to see what the Greyhounds are made of – and that game will tell the tale. I’m looking forward to the game and can’t wait to begin working on it. They run a wing T and have a good offensive line – they are a power running football team.”

Next week will feature coverage of the North – South volleyball game and the South - Mississenawa football game.