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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

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