UNION CITY – Mississinawa Valley playing inspired on senior night nearly pulled off the upset over visiting Tri-County North but came up just short by the score of 30-27.
The Hawks got it going on their first drive of the game with quarterback senior Malachi Levesque keeping the drive alive on a couple of long keepers for big yards. A Levesque pass to senior Davian Trump from 12 yards out to the end zone gave the Mississinawa an early lead as they led 7-0 after the extra point kick from Drew Anguiano.
North was up to task and had the answer with Luke Eby running in from 10-yards away and the two-point conversion pass from quarterback Logan Flory to Brett Woodyard gave the Panthers an 8-7 lead in the opening quarter.
Malachi used his legs again on the next series of plays eventually scoring the TD to regain the lead for Mississinawa … but the Panthers got it back with Eby again getting the call from 12-yards away and the two-point conversion run by Alex Klingenbarger made it 16-13 North to end the first half.
The Blackhawks held the Panthers on their opening possession of the second half.
The Hawks were on the move when Levesque threw a pass up the field to sideline with Anguiano making an acrobatic one-handed catch and then a run for more yards to set up another score.
The call went to senior Alex Jenkinson scoring on 14-yard run. Anguiano tossed a pass to Matt Pisano for the two-point conversion and MV led 21-16.
MV kicked onside that was recovered by Jordyn Dunlap and had the home team and crowd fired up … but they were unable to take advantage and forced to punt back to North.
The Panthers needed something big to happen to change the momentum and senior Luke Eby stepped forward with the Hawks struggling to bring the powerful back to the ground. His 14-yard run and two-point conversion put North up again 24-21.
Eby wasn’t finished scoring one more time on the ground as the lead swelled to 30-21.
Mississinawa was running out of time but wasn’t finished with Levesque completing a 37-yard pass to catch Anguiano who avoided a few defenders taking it into the endzone giving the Hawks a small glimmer of hope now trailing 30-27.
They attempted another onside kick and recovered the football, but the officials said it didn’t travel the full 10-yards and Tri-County North ran out the clock erasing any last second heroics by Mississinawa Valley.
Malachi Levesque threw for 160 yards on 9-of-19 and 2 TD’s he also ran for 172 yards and a TD.
Drew Anguiano had 2 catches for 69 yards and 1 TD and Davian Trump had 3 catches for 24 yards and a TD.
Defensively Anthony Ibarra had 22 total tackles 6 of them solo and Trent Trobridge had 2 sacks, 17 tackles and 5 solo to lead the defense.
It was the last home game for 7 seniors: Malachi Levesque, Jake Dirmeyer, Alex Jenkinson, Davion Trump, Tyler Grown, Tanner Perkins and Caleb Trobridge
After the game a clearly disappointed Mississinawa Valley coach Stephen Trobridge tried to sum up his feelings.
“Man, it was tough one, we had some flags that were very questionable, but it was like that both ways. We also had costly dropped passes that could have sealed the game for us,” Trobridge stated.
It’s always hard to talk about your seniors especially when you don’t get the win, but Trobridge is very pleased with his senior group.
“For my seniors it tugs on my heart strings that we weren’t able to pull this off for them. This group of seniors had one of the hardest tasks of going out and playing well but mentoring the younger classes which makes up most of this team.
“We have a kid like Davian Trump who is speaking captain not only giving up his body playing Friday night but on Saturday morning film session he’s all bang up and still sits down with his younger teammates to help teach them what went wrong and what went right,” Trobridge praised.
“That goes for all my seniors also. It’s no secret we are a young team and I hate to use that term, … but we have gotten so much better thanks to these seniors. I know it doesn’t show in our record 1-8. But look at our games now compared to last year and just look at the stats compare to last year. I know the lessons we are learning this year will transition well and I believe it will lead to an exciting season next year. I want to thank this senior class for their part to help teach and mentor the younger kids,” Trobridge concluded.
Tri-County North improves to 4-5 overall on the season and 4-4 in the WOAC. They will host Twin Valley South next week.
Mississinawa Valley falls to 1-8 overall and 1-7 in the WOAC. They will travel to Ansonia next week.