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Sunday, October 29, 2023

Shawnee Upsets Milton Union

 It was the Preble Shawnee Arrows that upset host Milton Union in the opening game of the Ohio State Playoffs.  It was a game that was the epitome of playoff football in Ohio - several lead changes, fervent fans, and a game that was not decided until late in the 4th quarter.  Emotions ran high on both teams in a tumultous battle that would eventually be won by Shawnee 28-17.

It was the run first Bulldog offense against the passing attack of the Arrows.  Milton Union did pass the ball effectively and Shawnee was able to peel off some decent runs but that is what the game came down too.  And of course the defenses - both teams made good plays, but in the 2nd half it was the Shawnee defense that shined the brightest on 2 critical 4th down plays where the Arrows held firm and stopped the Bulldogs.  

The Bulldogs struck first with a Braden Schaurer field goal early in the 2nd quarter.  Both teams had exchanged possessions in the 1st quarter, but it was the Buldogs who drove the ball into the redzone and scored first. A nice return on the kickoff by Reece Smith gave the Arrows a short field. A few quick plays later and Shawnee jumped into the lead thanks to a 2 yard TD.  

Milton Union had a holding penalty on their next possession and had to punt.  Blankenship was a factor in Shawnee's next score as he caught a pass from Brody Morton to put Shawnee on the 20 yard line of Milton Union.  A few plays later and Morton scored to put Shawnee up 14-3. 

Shawnee's Dave Maddox, "Reece Smith made some really good plays for us on specials teams. He set us up to go down and score. Isaac Blankship played very well with the ball and we put him at quarterback some and that pass to Brody Morton in the endzone - that was a big play. Those guys stepped up when we needed them to and I am just proud of the entire team for the way we played. "

Milton Union had less than a minute before the half ended but that was all the time needed to get the ball into the redzone of Shawnee.  Payton Mayfield caught a Wyatt Kimmel pass that put the ball on the 17 yard line of Shawnee.  With seconds left Milton Union opted to try for a field goal, but this attempt was missed.

A re-energized Milton Union team came out of the locker room and gashed through the Shawnee defense. Jordon Foose barrelled into the endzone on a 26 yard run for the Bulldogs 1st touchdown of the night. Late in the 3rd quarter with the Bulldogs again marching the ball down the field there were personal fouls on both teams on successive downs.  It was an intense, heated time in the game and after the 2nd foul, it was close to being a fight on the field.  The coaches got the teams settled down and the Bulldogs went back to work.

Foose again scored for the Bulldogs on a 10 yard run. This gave the Bulldogs their 2nd lead of the game 17-14 as the 2 teams entered the last stanza.  The Shawnee passing game was spot on - the later in the game that it was, the better they seemed to perform. Kaden Taylor caught a pass on the Milton Union 27 to set up Shawnee's next score - a Blankenship to Morton 15 yard TD catch. Shawnee was pulling out all the stops with the pass to their quarterback This put Shawnee back in the lead with 9 minutes left.  Plenty of time for Milton Union to score.

Milton Union took the kickoff and moved the ball to midfield where the Arrow defense seemed to catch another gear.  They held the Bulldogs there and on 4th and 4 they held - stopping the Bulldogs about a yard short.  

Shawnee's Dave Maddox, "We did some blitzes on some gaps where we thought they were going to be. And there were times when we just let our guys make plays and that was one where the guys stood up big and stopped them. That was the turning point where we able to put a big finish on them."

On Milton Unions possesion they again began to move the ball.  But time was becoming a factor. There was about 3 and half minutes left in the game. So Shawnee turned up the heat.  The Bulldog quarter bobbled the snap and that was all the time needed for Garrett Campbell to swoop in and sack the quarterback for a huge loss. And a few plays later it was 4th and 17 for the Bulldogs.  They failed to convert and Shawnee got the ball on the Bulldog 27.

Shawnee got an insurance touchdown when Lane Lovely raced 19 yards for the score.  But the Bulldogs still had fight in them.  They were able to get the ball into Shawnee territory with a little over a minute left.  But Shawnee's defense was again able to make a play on 4th down.  It was 4th and 23 and Kimmel let the ball fly.  Mayfield made an amazing catch and fell forward - but was a yard short of the line to gain. 

It was time for Shawnee to form the victory formation and seal a hard earned win.  Shawnee will next face Brookville.

"Thats a great game, both teams played very hard. I thought both teams played very well. This was one of the few games this season where we played 4 good quarters of football. And defense stepped up and got some really good stops. The offenses was able to click and our athletes made good plays.  We knew it would be a close game coming in, and we were fortunate to come out on top. It was a great, great game and that is a good team that is well coached." 

Game Pics at MediaFire

Sunday, October 22, 2023


The North-South rivalry is always intense and this year was no exception.  Both stands were heated in the early going - and there were chants back and forth across the field in the 2nd half. This game had some twists and turns, but it was South who got the early lead, shook off some adversity, and grew that lead for a 41-16 win.  The win will allow South to host their 1st playoff game ever next Friday, while the loss will have North travelling to Marion Local for their 1st round game.

South coach Butts: "The small town excitement makes this such a fun job. With these rivalries you have to bring it. I have been at some larger schools - but the intensity level is the same here.  We are excited about the 1st home field playoff game for Twin Valley South." 

South looked powerful in their 1st drive.  Taking the kickoff and then moving the ball down the field despite a couple of penalties that put them in long yardage. Cais Kingsley gave South their 1st score with a 3 yard run. Then the South defense held North and forced them to punt after 3 plays. It looked like South was in the drivers seat. 

Both teams had to adjust the referee's, but the 1st half saw a lot of laundry on the field. So on their 2nd possession South had 3 penalties in a row that finally left them in a 1st and 32 situation.  When they tried to pass their way out the situation North's Franklin Filburn sacked Cole Bishop.  It was 4th and forever - time to punt. But the South Panthers put another bullet in their foot with a bad snap that put the ball in endzone. After a mad scramble for the ball, it went out the back of the goal for a safety - putting an end to what had to have been the worst offensive possession of the year for South.

To their credit the usually conservative North offense threw caution to the wind and opened up their playbook for this game against South.  They ran a flea flicker and also threw a couple of halfback passes.  They had some success, but South had enough quickness on defense that any initial success was nullified.

The afore mentioned flea flicker pass was successful and North had the ball on the South 30.  But a penalty forced North backwards.  Finally South's defense held on 4th and 7 and South got the ball on their own 22.  This turned out to be a pivotable moment in the game as South turned around and moved the ball to about midfield where Bishop ran 45yards for a touchdown.

North went back to their (mostly) conservative offense on their last drive of the 1st half.  They went on a long clock eating drive that ended when Colten VanWinkle caught a 20 yard pass from Davis Brunk.  This made the score 14-9 with a little over 2 minutes left in the half.  But 2 minutes was all South needed to make it a 2 score game again.  The return was to midfield and after a few plays Cais Kingsley ran it in from about 5 yards out.  So at the half South was up 22-9.

"Their fullback [VanWinkle] is a load, he is hard to bring down. We are still tuning our defense, trying to get rid of mistakes."

After the half, North used their methodical offense to take the kickoff and work the ball into South territory. It looked like North was on their way to making it a 1 score game again. But that drive was halted by a Clayton Woodgeard fumble recovery.  And in a momentum swing it was South that moved the ball deep into North territory.  After converting a 4th and 11 play that put the ball on the 2 yard line,  Kingsly punched the ball in. 

North was seeing the game gradually get out of reach.  They tried to pass to make up the deficit, but Gage Crase was able to sack the North quarterback, then a muffed snap made it 4th and forever.  After a North punt, South's Brayden Koeller peeled of a 51 yard run. What had been a trickle of points now became an avalanche.

South was able to score one more time on a 6 yard run by Kingsley late in the 4th quarter.  With less than a minute left in the game North's VanWinkle ran about 80 yards for the last score of this game.  North threw all that they had against South, but on this night it was South that took home the Panther trophy. 

"We faced some adversity with the penalties. After we got that 1st touchdown, we lost our composure. We've been teaching to forget about that last play and move on.  And this game we did that. I was excited about our offensive effort. We have been getting so much better with the wing T. Defensively we have a few little issues that we are trying to clean up." 

Game pics at MediaFire

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Ansonia Tigers Tromp Preble Shawnee Arrows


Ansonia took another step closer to a perfect regular season with a huge win over Preble Shawnee this Friday.  Host Shawnee entered the game with just 1 conference loss and a 6 game winning streak - so the team entered the game with momentum. But that momentum was stopped by a hard running Tiger offense and a stubborn defense. The win guarantee's at least a share of the conference championship and a victory next week over winless Mississinewa Valley will give them the championship outright.  

Ansonia used a formula that has worked for them for years.  A ground based, ball control focused offense and a hungry defense.  Ansonia only had one turnover - which was late in the 4th corner, and only one penalty. So they minimized their mistakes and took the most of their opportunities.  And the name of that opportunity was Keegan Weiss who lugged the ball across the goal line an amazing 6 times in the 48-20 victory.  

Ansonia coach Hall: "We told them when we came in that if don't have any turnovers or any penalties, then we are going to be in good shape.  In the 1st half, the only time we didn't score was on a drive that was stopped by a pentalty. When we don't beat ourselves, we are pretty good."

Preble Shawnee was misfiring out of the gate. Ansonia got the ball 1st and scored.  Shawnee's 1st series was representative of how the game would unfold for them.  They had a holding penalty and then a false start.  Then when they were forced to punt, it was shanked and Ansonia got the ball back and quickly scored with the short field.  Shawnee was down by 2 scores in the 1st quarter.  

But it was big plays that allowed Shawnee to score.  All of their scores were either off of a long run or pass, or set up by a big run or pass.  Lane Lovely scored Shawnee's 1st touchdown on a 42 yard run.  He would also score on a 14 yard run and teammate Issaac Blankenship would score on a 73 yard touchdown pass from Brody Morton in the 4th quarter.

The 1st half ended on a down note for Shawnee.  They had driven down to the Ansonia 5 yard line and with 4 10ths of a second on the clock they attempted to ground the ball.  The ruling was that the time to snap to the quarterback and for him to ground the ball took longer than the time on the clock and so by rule, the half had ended. 

Shawnee did get the ball back to start the 3rd quarter, but the misques continued.  They went into punting formation when their 1st drive stalled at midfield. They attempted a fake punt, but the punter had to reach down for the ball, and his knee touched the ground - ending play at that spot and gifting Ansonia another short field.  On another punt attempt Garrett Stammen got a hand on the ball and got a partial block - again giving Ansonia favorable field position. 

To their credit, Shawnee kept trying to get back in the game.  But the Ansonia defense was up to the challenge.  They were able to pressure the quarterback with lineman Jared Schmitmeyer recording a sack in the 3rd quarter and the secondary kept the Shawnee recievers covered most of the night.

Coach Hall: "Our guys played great tonight, Preble Shawnee is a great football team - they've been good since they've been in the conference.  They made some big plays on us, but when we do what we are supposed to do we are a pretty good football team too. Our offensive line played very well tonight, probably the best game that we had all year.  Our backs ran hard - but they always run hard.  It was a great team win for us." 

On the last Friday of the regular season Ansonia will host neighbor Mississinawa Valley and Preble Shawnee will travel to Dixie.  Then both teams will make ready for the playoffs.

Coach Hall: "It's getting to be that time of year - it's fall, the weather is nice and it's football season. The guys are working hard and it is exciting. When you start in the summer, this feels like it is a long ways off. But now we are starting to get the benefits of all that hard work that our guys have done." 

Game Pics at MediaFire

Saturday, October 07, 2023

Eaton Eagles Bedeviled by Brookville

 The Brookville Blue Devils went against the Eaton Eagles in a SWBL Buckeye division clash of 1 loss teams. The winner would have a chance of garnering a share of the division title, while the loser would drop down in the standings.  Also with the state playoffs looming, the winner would move up a notch or two which is important as the top 8 teams in each district open the playoffs at home. So there was a lot at stake in this game.

The game was held on Senior night as it was the last home game for the Brookville squad.  And on this night it was fitting that Brookville senior Keegan Mehr rose to the occasion.  He would account for over 200 all purpose yards, he passed for 1 touchdown and ran for 2 more.  He contributed in a huge way as Brookville would surge ahead for a 37-17 victory.

Eaton scored first as they utilized a balanced run/pass offense to move the ball down the field. It was like a West Coast style offense as they used quick, short passes along with the occasional run to keep the defense honest.  A sack by Jake Lenser put Eaton into long yardage and they had to settle for a field goal on their 1st possession - a 45 yard effort by Jon Hewitt.

But Brookville responded hastily.  On their 1st play from scrimmage Brookville looked to pass. Mehr could not find anyone open and scrambled out of the pocket.  He weaved through the rushers and then hit the afterburners to race 78 yards for a Blue Devil score.  This gave Brookville a 7-3 lead and they would hold onto that lead the rest of the game.

Eaton did drive the ball into Brookville territory, but they were unable to score in the 2nd quarter.  After the Brookville defense stopped Eaton on 4th and 2, the Brookville offense went to work with 5:28 left before halftime. They methodically made their way down the field and with seconds left on the clock Mehr connected with Preston Orr for a 10 yard touchdown pass.  This put Brookville up 15-3 at the break.

Brookville recieved the ball to start the 2nd half.  Using a ground and pound style offense they chewed up a lot of clock as they made their way down the field.  Jake Lenser punched the ball in from 4 yards out to put Brookville up 23-3. Brookville had scored on both of their last 2 possessions.  Now Eaton was staring at a tall hill to climb to get back into the game. They needed at least 3 scores to catch up.

To their credit, Eaton got one of those scores late in the 3rd quarter.  A pass interference penalty on a 4th down play gave them a fresh set of downs.  Braden Deem caught a long pass and was brought down on the 2 yard line where Cordis Berard dove across the line for a touchdown, this made it 23-10.  At the end of 3 quarters, Eaton was trying to get 4th quarter rally going. 

But the Brookville offense was running on 8 cylinders.  They marched the ball down the field and Jake Lenser again made it a 3 score game by plunging in from 5 yards out.  Now Eaton had to air the ball out and score quickly to have a chance.  The Brookville defense was up to the challenge. Walt Adams and Cole Crabtree both had 4th quarter picks that ended Eaton drives.

Eaton did find the endzone one last time.  Preston Orr caught a Chris Adkins pass late in the 4th quarter. Eaton went for the onsides kick and after fighting the wind that kept blowing the ball off the tee, it was finally launched. Devan Rader did recover the ball for Eaton, but Brookville's Cole Crabtree's interception put the game away for good. 

Both teams have tough games on their schedule for next week.   Both Waynesville and Valley View are undefeated in the SWBL Buckeye division.  Brookville travels to Valley View and Eaton will host Waynesville.   

Game pics at Media Fire

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Shawnee Arrows Shootdown North Panthers


The Preble Shawnee Arrows were homecoming spoilers as they prevailed over the host Tri-County North Panthers 55-22.  Early on it was apparent that it would be the ball control offense of the Panthers against the explosive Shawnee offense. North wanted a 3 yards and a cloud of dust style of offense to keep the Arrows on the sidelines and tire out their defense.  Meanwhile Shawnee wanted to make the most of their opportunities and strike quickly.

The contrasting styles of offense manifested themselves in the 1st half.  Astoundingly North only allowed Shawnee 1 offensive play in the entire 1st quarter.  If the ball game were based on time of possession, then North would have been winning at this point.  However, Shawnee only needed 1 play to score - a 68 yard pass from Brody Morton to Reece Smith.  So the Arrows were making the most of their chances. North did manage to score first - on a Logan Flory 7 yard run. Despite the lopsided time of possession at the end of the 1st quarter the teams were knotted 8 all.

Shawnee's Dave Maddox: "Our defense started out a little slow, but North is tough.  The way they run the option, it is hard to defend - you have to stay disciplined.  We did a much better job of defending it in the 2nd half. That is dangerous for us if we allow them to chew up clock like that and keep our offense off the field."

Shawnee's defense now began to make plays in the 2nd quarter, and the offense kept that same quick strike rythem going.  Smith picked off a North pass in the endzone to end their 1st drive of the quarter.  Kaden Taylor made North pay for this turnover a few plays later when he caught a 15 yard pass in the endzone to pull Shawnee ahead. Another turnover set up Shawnee's next score.  Ashton Agnew pulled in a North fumble and this gave Shawnee a very short field at the North 32 yard line.  Lane Lovely ran the ball in from 22 yards to extend the Arrow lead.

North was able to answer thanks to Colten VanWinkle returning a kickoff 42 yards and giving North a short field to work with.  Logan Flory plunged across the goal line from 1 yard out making the score at this point 15-23 in favor of Shawnee.  Despite not playing their best game, North was still in striking distance late in the 2nd quarter. 

But the Shawnee offense did not need much time to score and with a little over 2 minutes they were able to quickly put distance between themselves and the Panthers with not 1, but 2 scores.  After a Shawnee penalty, a screen pass to Isaac Blankenship went 59 yards for a TD.  North was trying to get into the endzone one more time before halftime when Brody Lynch made a huge play by sacking the North quarterback, forcing a punt.

The North punt was not a good one and Shawnee got the ball at midfield.  Smith would end yet another 1 play drive with a touchdown catch, this one for 51 yards.  That widened the lead to 37-15.  What had been a close game seemed almost out of reach within the space of a couple of minutes. 

So coming out of the locker room at halftime, Shawnee had all of the momentum.  They got the ball to start the half and the offense wasted no time in scoring. Riley Stevenson rambled 63 yards to give Shawnee another score.  When you combine the end of the 1st half with the beginning of the 2nd half, that is 3 Shawnee touchdowns in under 3 minutes - lightning fast.  

Meanwhile the Shawnee defense seemed to have adjusted at halftime and North was struggling to sustain drives.  Shawnee's Isaac Blankenship scored again on a 6 yard run late in the 3rd quarter.  North had one more drive in them late in the game. North's Logan Flory managed to score on a 14 yard run in the 4th quarter, and that would be the last score as Shawnee secured their victory 52-22.

"It was a weird game, kind of a weird start as I didn't get to see many of our offensive plays.  Our defensive would come in and we would coach them up and the next thing we know the offense is in the endzone. But it was part of our stragedy to score fast, when North gets their offense going you don't know how many opportunities you will get.   I was very happy with how our offense played, it shows how many weapons we have - guys that can get their hands on the ball and be dangerous. Brody Moore did a great job at quarterback.  The offense executed the way that we had hoped.  Lane Lovely is a tough player on both sides of the ball - he had a good game tonight. Isaac Blankenship played a good game for us and Kaden Taylor scored for us too.  Those are all good skilled players - tall, fast, and athletic."  

The win keeps Shawnee's hope of a share of the WOAC league title alive.  They will need to win their last 3 games of the season - including a game against undefeated Ansonia to make this happen.

Next week Shawnee will host Arcanum and North will host Ansonia.

Game pics at: MediaFire

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Big Plays by Northridge Puts Away Covington


The youthful Covington Buccaneer football played with the Northridge Polar Bears for about a half. The Polar Bears had a big play offense that the Bucc's just could not keep up with.  Covington kept themselves within striking distance for most of the 1st half, but they could not consistantly stop the Polar Bear offense and the Polar Bear defense shut out the Buccs in the 2nd half.

Northridge scored 1st on a 66 yard catch by Brandon Thomas. Covington quickly answered with a big play of their own on the ensuing kickoff as they did a reverse and Daylynn Garret took the ball 82 yards to the house.  Covington made their extra point and briefly held the lead.

Dorreyan Davis found Ja'dynn Martin on a 44 yard completion for a touchdown to put the Polar Bears back on top.  But the Covington team was able to respond again and Garret caught a Landin Cassel pass for a 12 yard touchdown catch.  Early on the two teams were playing even.  It was the big plays of Northridge against the methodical Covington offense.

The 1st time Covington went for it on 4th down, they made it and went on to score a TD.  The team went for it again on a 4th and 5 and this time Northridge stopped them. Once again that big play offense went to bat and Brandon Thomas made a 66 yard catch that put the ball on the 6 yard line where Davis ran the ball in to put Northridge up 22-14.

Covington gave up another big play just before halftime when Tie'on Hill scored from midfield.  It had been a one score game, but now they were down 28-14 at the break.  Coming out at halftime, Northridge had the momentum and the ball.

Both teams had problems holding onto that ball in the 2nd half.  But Northridge seemed to be able to capitalize on the opportunities, while the Covington offense had problems putting together a consistent drive - either a turnover or a penalty would stop their offense.  Covington's Eli Brooks had a fumble recovery and Jordan Miller had an interception.  Meanwhile Northridge's Thomas had 2 interceptions and Hill had 1.  One of Thomas's interceptions ended a Covington drive that had gone to the 14 yard line.

The Polar Bear defense made some big plays too with timely sacks and interceptions to end Buccaneer drives.  Meanwhile the offense kept playing the same tune in the 2nd half.  Chris Evans had a 77 yard touchdown and Emilio Blythe had a 27 yard touchdown run to end the scoring.  It would be a 44-14 Northridge win.

Next week Covington travels to Milton Union and Northridge will host Bethel.

Game pics at Media Fire

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Tri-County North Panthers Victors Over Arcanum Trojans


The Tri-County North Panthers controlled the line of scrimmage on offense and utilized an opportunistic defense in their 42-20 victory over league rival Arcanum. The team ground out yardage inbetween the tackles where Colten VanWinkle earned the bulk of the Panther gains.  They used a double wing offense for the entire game.  Arcanum, on the other hand, had their quarterback in the backfield most of the game and mixed in the pass along with the run.

Coach Smitherman, "Our offensive line has really done a good job of taking care of business. They come to work with their hard hats on and they try to get after it.  They do what the coaches ask them - and the coaches have done a fantastic job coaching them." 

North's defense was hard hitting and they had the edge in turnovers.They held Arcanum on 3 4th downs and got 3 interceptions (VanWinkle,Mason Givens - 2) and a fumble recovery. North did cough up the ball once, but the Trojans were not able to capitalize.

Coach Smitherman, "I am really proud of the defense. They are behind the 8 ball and they are trying to get better - being at the right spot at the right time. They did what they were supposed and got some turnovers for us. This helped us offensively to punch in the ball [after a turnover]."

The Trojans did put together a few nice drives, but they kept giving North favorable field position.  They also had some problems with snaps - there were 3-4 muffed snaps to the quarterback that put them in long yardage and then a problem with the snap on a punt gave North a short field.  They did keep the game within striking distance for 3 quarters, but North put them away in the 4th quarter.

North struck first as they received the opening kick off and Logan Flory ran around 90 yards to give North a lead that they would keep the rest of the way.  North was up 2 scores when VanWinkle later ran the ball in from about 14 yards out.  

Arcanum's Luceas Midlam put the Trojans on the board with a 69 yard run and now it was a game.  At the end of the opening quarter it was 15-6 North. Givens ran 18 yards for North's next score on a 4th and 3 play on the 18 yard line.  North's offense was also making big plays on 4th down.  

Arcanum made a hard charge at the end of the half.  They scored on a 4th down play themselves. Truman Knaus caught a Bishop Cartwright pass for a 25 yard touchdown towards the end of the quarter.  Coach Macy decidied to go with an onsides kick - this was recovered by Arcanum's MJ Macy with seconds left on the clock.  Arcanum tried for another score before the break, but a Givens interception sent the Trojans to the locker room.  At the break it was a close game, North 22 - Arcanum 12.

The 3rd quarter was scoreless as both teams had turnovers and could not find the endzone.  Although at the end of the quarter, North had driven to the Arcanum 13. And so they completed this drive at the start of the final quarter with a 13 yard TD. 

Down by 3 scores Arcanum now came out firing on their next possession.  But VanWinkle snagged a pass and ended that drive and put the ball on the Arcanum 30. Working with a short field, North slowly punched the ball towards the endzone.  Culiminating the drive with a 2 yard plunge by Garret Hutchison. 

Arcanum's last score was by Dakota Kendig, he ran 6 yards for his touchdown with a little over 5 minutes on the clock.  It was North's VanWinkle who provided the final margin of victory when he rambled for 28 yards for the final touchdown of the game.  The win puts North at 3-2 on the season and Arcanum is 2-3.

North's coach, Trace Smitherman, was still a little gimpy from a hit he took on the sideline when players went out of bounds, "This is a big win, our group of seniors has not beat Arcanum so we are glad that they had this opportunity. The team is really starting to come together defensively. We haven't played our best but we continue to get better every week. We have to continue to do that. " 

Next week North will journey to Tri-Village and Arcanum will host National Trail.

Game Pics at:  MediaFire

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Trail - North Game is a Thriller


Host National Trail played neighboring Tri-County North in the first WOAC conference game of the season for both schools. It was an opportunity for both teams to get their first win of the season and even better - to get that win against a conference opponent. The teams were evenly matched and it was a close game with several lead changes that was not decided until late in the 4th quarter.

It was exciting for the fans as both teams reached deep into their playbooks to try and get an edge. Trail went for it on 4th down on their own 20 yard yard line and made it. While TCN had a halfback pass for their 1st score of the game. The game had an ebb and a flow as each teams fortunes rose and fell.

Trails coach Hoffman on the 4th down play,“Both Jamison Watts and Joey Roberts are seniors and have been in this situation before. They have both started since they were freshmen. Roberts is a big time pass catcher.”

Trail struck first as Jody Withrow ran 48 yards to score. But Trail missed their extra point. So when North scored on a half back pass from Garrett Hutchinson to Franklin Filburn and made their point after touchdown, it gave North the lead.

Jamison Watts, who had a phenomenal night for Trail, made a heads up play just before halftime to put the Blazers up at the break. TCN had driven deep into Trail territory. North runs a double wing offense which uses the triple option. Watts was able to make a play on the ball when the option went to his side and run it back about 75 yards for a touchdown. This would not be his only turnover for this night.

Hoffman: “Tonight he was the best player on the field. He's gained 25 pounds and put on 2 inches since last season. He is fast and athletic, but not only is he talented, he is smart. He is like having another coach on the field. On either offense or defense he can tell everybody what to do.”

North tried to answer but a sack by Josh Welz on 4th and 1 ended their drive. There was still time on the clock and Trail had favorable field position on the North 33. But when Trail tried to add to their lead North's Logan Flory put and end to that threat with an interception. So at the half the score was 12-7 in favor of Trail.

On North's opening drive Watts would strike again and end the Panther threat as he would recover a North fumble at the Trail 38. Once again he would make them pay for their mistake. On the 1st play from scrimmage he would find a seam and then race 62 yards down the sideline for a score. It looked like Trail had control of the game.

But the North offense got serious and went into a long ball controlling drive. The drive culminated in a score as Colten VanWinkle ran into the endzone from 13 yards out. Trail immediately went to work and drove almost the length of the field. But an injury to Trails quarterback Watts at a critical time would end the drive. It was 4th down in North territory and a muffed handoff happened with the backup in the game. Watts would sit out a few plays and then re-enter the game.

This gave North the ball with a little over 8 minutes left in the game. North went uptempo with their offense. A catch by Colten VanWinkle put the ball on the 16 yard line where he ran the ball in for the score. North opted to go for 2 and get the lead. Logan Flory was able to convert the 2 point try and suddenly North was cooking again – they were up 21-20 with about 3 and half minutes left on the clock.

“When we scored easily at first I thought what's the deal – I thought they would be tougher than that. But boy did they come back and they fought hard. They had us down and they could easily have beaten us. But we got a couple of good plays when we needed it. The kids did not panic.”

Trail got a good return but North aided them with a late hit that put the ball at midfield. Trail got the ball into the redzone. The Trail staff must have seen something open in the middle of the North pass coverage. On 4th and 11 they passed the ball into the heart of the North defense for the go ahead touchdown. This made the score 28-21 in favor of Trail with 1:15 on the clock.

North made a last ditch effort to score in final minute. But the Trail defense played with inspiration and turned up the heat, the North quarterback was sacked twice. They had to turn over the ball on downs and so Trail was able to take a knee to seal their hard won victory.

“Their quarterback [Logan Flory] and fullback [Colten VanWinkle] are as tough as players as I have seen. We had trouble stopping them all night long. VanWinkle is a downhill runner and Flory made some plays.

Next week Trail will host Preble Shawnee and North will host Dayton Christian.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Carlisle Upends South


Last years match up between these two schools was a close game decided by a touchdown. So fans of both teams were looking forward to a similar back and forth battle to kick off the 2023 season. But Carlisle dominated early on offense while the defense pitched a shutout to put Twin Valley South away 37-0.

The bigger, stronger line of Carlisle took control of the line of scrimmage and the Indians used their running game to control the clock. The time of possession, particularly in the 1st half, was overwhelming in favor of Carlisle. South's offense may have had 6-7 minutes on the field during that span. Carlisle used a double wing offense and mixed in a 2 back set.

Their offense featured the run and Carlisle passed sparingly through most of the game. But when they did pass, it was effective. They ran a play action to get the TVS to bite on the run and then quarterback Cooper Steckel passed over their heads to score or set up a big gain.

Carlisle was clearly the better team, but TVS did not help their cause with mistakes. In their 1st drive a run for a 1st down was called back due to holding penalty. That made it long yardage and they eventually had to punt. Then on their possession, Carlisle went for it on 4th and 5 twice – and made it both times. The TVS defensive line jumped offsides in the first instance. The Panther secondary bit on the run on the next attempt and Carlisle completed a pass to keep the drive alive and so they eventually scored a touchdown.

The momentum shift was not done, Carlisle did an onsides kick off and Ethan Hamm recovered for the visiting team. That drive ended in a score. A chop block put TVS in a 1st and 25 in their next possession, which eventually ended with them punting. Carlisle scored on this drive as well.

South did threaten just before halftime but a Silas Borders interception ended the drive around the Carlisle 37. It was 22-0 at halftime.

South had favorable midfield position to start the 2nd half, but a Cruz Allison fumble recovery ended that drive at the Carlisle 35. Carlisle continued their momentum ending this drive with a 35 yard TD pass. Carlisle would only pass 7 times on the night, but were very effective - 6 of these were receptions and 2 were for touchdowns.

South tried to take to the air themselves to try and score late in the 4th quarter, but the Carlisle defense remained stubborn. Carson Osborne got a sack on 4th and 8 on Carlisle's 33 yard line to dash South's last chance at a score.

The victory completed a trifecta start by the SWBL over the WOAC conference on opening day as both Brookville and Madison also won their games. Next week Carlisle will host 1-0 Miami East while Twin Valley South will open WOAC conference play - travelling to 1-0 Arcanum.

Game pics at MediaFire