Malachi Levesque gains yards for Mississinawa Valley in Friday night with Dixie.

Blackhawks Battle Dixie

Blackhawks come up short Friday night at Dixie

NEW LEBANON – The Mississinawa Valley Blackhawks battled the Dixie Greyhounds for four quarters. It was a hard fought game, but Dixie got the lead early in the game and try as they might, the Blackhawks could not close the gap.  The outcome of the contest was in doubt until the last minute as they tried to make one last attempt to get the ball and make a play.

As we shall see untimely penalties would prove to be the Achilles heel of the team on this night as the young team had several miscues at critical times.  It would be a heartbreaking loss 22-18.

One costly penalty would be a personal foul called on a Blackhawks receiver who had just caught the ball inside the red-zone of the Greyhounds. The penalty not only moved the ball back 15-yards, but also put them into long yardage for a first down.

The Blackhawks failed to convert and turned the ball over on downs. Another critical penalty occurred at the end of the game when Dixie was trying to run the clock down, an offside penalty on fourth and two gave the greyhounds a fresh set of downs.  But throughout the game the Blackhawks had several drive killing penalties that put them in long yardage situations.  When two equally matched teams meet often times it is the team with the fewest mistakes that wins, the young Blackhawks kept stubbing their toes.

Mississinawa Valley coach, Steve Trobridge noted, “We are a young team and we just have to do the little things right and good stuff will happen. We had the ball inside the 10 yard, ready to score – and we get an unsportsmanlike penalty. We had another good drive that was stopped by an unsportsmanlike penalty. We have to stop doing that to ourselves.”

Offensively, the team moved the ball well.  Senior quarterback, Malachi Levesque, showed his versatility. He passed for 237-yards and was able to scramble when pressured and run the ball as well.  He rushed for one TD and passed for two more.

Matt Pisano caught three passes and scored twice, but almost had another TD when there was a controversial no call in the end zone as a defender ran into him. The back officials flag stayed tucked away to the protests of the fans and coaching staff.

The defense gave up two TD’s in the first quarter but then shut out Dixie in the next two quarters. In the third quarter it was 15-12 ball game. In the fourth quarter, Dixie did put together a 61-yard drive and scored with 2:32 left in the game.  But to their credit the defense did have a total of five fourth-down stops where they were able to hold Dixie and force them to turn the ball over on downs.

“After those first two scores we talked to them,” Trobridge said. “We made some adjustments and got them doing their assignments. And it worked up until the fourth quarter. But we missed on some plays. The quarterback got a bad snap, but was still able to pick up the ball and carry it for 20 yards.  If we hold them for 3 downs and make the play on fourth down – then we get off the field.”

The scoring was as follows:  In the first quarter Pisano caught a pass and got it to the 22-yard line where Levesque carried the ball 22-yards for the score on the very next play.  Pierce Daniels scored in the third quarter with a 4-yard run to cap a long drive.  Pisano caught a pass for a 50-yard touchdown late in the game.

Next week the team hosts Arcanum.  “We are playing a very tough Arcanum team,” said Trobridge. “They have a good quarterback in Bryce Shondelmyer who knows how to control the ball. But I think we have a good quarterback too in number five (Malachi Levesque), so it should be a good matchup.  We need to clear up the little things and keep fighting like we did in this game and good things are going to happen.”

Alex Jenkison carries for the Blackhawks in Friday night game at Dixie.
MV's Dylan Wehrkamp carries for the Hawks in game with Dixie.
Matt Pisano makes a diving Blackhawks catch at Dixie.
Tanner Perkins makes a tackle in the Blackhawks football matchup with Dixie.
The Blackhawks' Malachi Levesque drops back to pass in Friday night game at Dixie.

Chris Tilton / Correspondent

Chris Tilton has covered sports in Southwest Ohio for the past 23 years and has lived in Southwest Ohio most of his life. He is mostly retired and continues to enjoy travel in the USA and hs been to Asia and Europe. Chris continues to work as a freelance writer. His Hobbies include fishing and computer gaming. Chris lives on a 32 acre farm in the Camden area. He has 10 grandchildren the he enjoys spending time with when he is not covering sports or traipsing around the country.

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