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Sunday, October 11, 2009

North – South Mud Bowl

The elements have not been kind to Twin Valley South home games in the last half of the season. And the homecoming game against Tri-County North was played on a soggy field already chewed up from the previous home game that was also played in the rain. A constant rain kept the field saturated and the ball boys busy ushering in a fresh ball every down. By the end of the game about the only way to tell the two teams apart was by the color of their helmets. In the pregame, the homecoming king and queen were selected. Skylar Reckers and Jessica Hick were crowned under an umbrella.

South fared better under the adverse conditions than did North. They would dominate nearly every facet of the game. Ball control was the first thing that I noticed. South had long clock consuming drives that kept a weary North defense on the field as they pounded the ball from their wishbone formation. On defense, South was able to control the line of scrimmage and make big plays. This season the defense has taken heat for giving up a lot of points. But against North they excelled – shutting out their offense. Keeping North on their half of the field most of the night. They were only able to go past the 50 twice during the game.

South’s first drive set the pattern for the rest of night. After grinding out yardage and moving the ball to midfield, the drive stalled. It was fourth and four. South took a time out to set up their play. What ever was said worked to perfection as Tyler Leach powered thru the line and went about 40 yards for a score. That drive alone used up about half of the first quarter. And judicious use of time outs to plan during 4th downs allowed South to convert on 4th down on 4 out of 5 chances in the first half. This kept drives alive and as important - kept the ball out of North’ hands.

North’s first penetration into South territory was set up by a Kyle Booth return to about the 50. And with the wind at his back, Overholtz was able to pass some against South. But after getting to the 29, North could not convert a 4th and 7 situation and turned over the ball to South. Another long drive ensued and again South converted on 3 4th downs to drive the ball to the one where Miles McCollum called his own number to score for South. North tried to answer, but were passing into the wind this time and Steve Balthis intercepted an Overholtz throw to end the last North drive of the half.

Fumbles were a problem for North all night long. I don’t think that they lost a fumble all night, but each time the ball slipped away they had to fall on the ball and that resulted in lost yardage. I counted six up to the third quarter and there may have close to 10 by the time the game was over. North switched quarterbacks at the half and put Kyle Booth behind center. But things got off to a slow start when the first two center/quarterback exchanges were fumbled to start the second half.

The change in signal callers did not change North’s fortunes as they were only ably to penetrate into South territory one more time late in the game where they turned the ball over on downs. South’s last touchdown was set up by another long yardage Tyler Leach carry and McCollum finished the drive with a one yard carry. Roy Wysong ended another North drive when he intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter. The final was 18-0 in favor of South. South travels to Miami East next week, while North plays National Trail.
Panthers in Three Over Arrows

Neighboring Preble Shawnee paid a visit to the home court of Twin Valley South this last week of September. Shawnee has a mixture of players with several sophomores and freshmen on the court this season. There are some seniors on the court, but at times the lack of experience showed. The Panthers seemed to more poised and rallied under pressure. This season, South has a winning record to be sure, but will need to finish strong to equal the records of teams past. This game was a step in that direction. In her post game comments coach Roberts noted that the team is coming together for the last half of the season.

Early in the first match it was TVS that was playing sloppy. And allowed Shawnee a 4 point lead - 14 to 10. Despite a couple of net serves and a lift. South was able to battle back and get the lead 19-17 at which point Shawnee took a time out to stop their momentum. Shawnee responded and were able to tie the game at 24 all. But South was able to pull ahead and finally won 27-25 when the Arrows allowed the ball to drop untouched for the final Panther point.

In the second match, it was Shawnee who got to a slow start. They had a rough time of it due to the strong play of South and some more mental mistakes of their own. They were down 13-6 when the team finally found a gear and started to churn out some points of their own. They outscored South 8-4 and closed the gap. And they would continue to rally and close to 2 points. But in the stretch, the Panthers were able to hold off the Shawnee challenge and win by a comfortable margin 25-21. An injury forced a Shawnee starter to go to the bench, further impeding their cause.

For the first part of the third set the teams played well. Both seemed to be in a groove for this last set. But Shawnee could not get any breaks. There were several good volleys, but when the ball went to the floor – it always seemed to be on the Shawnee side. South got a three point lead and Shawnee took a time out to set things right. However, it just wasn’t Shawnee’s night. South continued to pull away and their blockers, Laura Ingram and Taylor Baker, did a great job of throwing back Shawnee spikes thru out the game, but particularly in this last set. In the last part of the set, Shawnee could not stop the South onslaught allowing South to win 25-13.

“We were pleased to come away with a 3 set win,” stated Coach Roberts after the game, “We were fortunate to win over Shawnee with their much improved defense and they were attacking the ball strong. I would say that tonight we were lead by Laura Ingram and Taylor Baker over the middle. Followed by nice play on the outside by Emily Burge and Katherine Leach. Grace Cottingim had most of the assists and did a nice job of distributing the ball. We are 8-5, but we’ve had an injury - had to regroup and find new chemistry. But from here on we are looking good for the future.”