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WEST ALEXANDRIA – The Patriots dispatched the Twin Valley South Panthers 41-6. They got an early 20-0 lead, but stalled in the second quarter. The team regrouped at halftime and put up another 21-points to cement the win. Although the defense gave up a score, they held South in check most of the night and were able to generate turnovers – even scoring a touchdown.
Coach Burke, “We didn’t play to the level that we need to – we said that last week and we said it this week. We had a good week of practice and it showed in the first quarter. We lost our focus in the second quarter or we probably would have broken this game open a lot sooner. We can’t turn the ball over, we can’t have some of the penalties that we had.”
It was a victory that Tri-Village needed having suffered a loss to Preble Shawnee the week before. Tri-Village, Arcanum, and Shawnee were all favorites at having a shot at the league championship in the preseason. So for the Patriots to stay in the hunt, they need to win out and have a little help from the other teams.
Sophomore quarterback Braden Keating continues to improve his game. He ran well when he had to and was able to connect with his receivers – scoring on 3 pass plays. He would pass for 178 yards on the night with receiver Justin Finkbine accounting for 79 of those yards and Tanner Printz 62 yards. Reed Wehr handled the bulk of the ground duties, accounting for 125-yards rushing. With the Patriot offense able to run and pass equally well the combination kept the South defenders from focusing on any one phase of the game.
“Braden kept stepping up and stepping up. He just keeps getting better and better every week. He made some really great plays for us tonight. When we can threaten people with our speed in the run game and then throw the ball around – it opens things up.”
The team did stall in the second quarter. After racking up 20-points in the first quarter, the Patriots became their own worse enemy. Penalties and turnovers kept the team far from the end zone. A 79-yard TD strike by Keating to Justin Finkbine was called back because of a holding penalty. On their next possession, the Patriots gave up an interception. The Patriots intercepted a Panther pass, but then fumbled it away on offense. It was that kind of quarter – as well as they had played at first, the team had turned from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde.
But at halftime coach Burke got the team refocused and got the ship sailing right. The Patriots dominated the remainder of the game. The defense did give up a score in the last quarter. But in the meantime the defense blocked a punt, got 4-interceptions, and Josh Scantland picked off a Panther pitch in the backfield and raced 64-yards for a score. Not a bad way to finish the game.
“I am proud of the way that we came out to play in the second half. We set the tone for the game. Our defense is really playing well. Even when we gave up the points last week – they still battled that whole night. The offense put them in some really bad situations. The defense traveled well this week. “
Scoring for the Patriots: Justin Finkbine 26-yard pass; Tanner Printz 1-yard run; Scantland 11-yard pass – this is noteworthy as Prinz bobbled the ball but Scantland dove for the ball and made the catch about 1-foot off the ground in the end zone; Finkbine 32-yard pass; Reed Wehr 22-yard run; Scantland 64-yard run (int).
Interceptions: Jace Lipps; Braden Keating, Wilson Suggs; Josh Scantland. Fumbles Tanner Prinz 1. Leading tacklers: Austin Rismiller 13 total; Josh Scantland 11; Reed Wehr 6; Joshua Randall 6, Tanner Printz 5.
Next up for the Patriots is Mississinawa Valley. “They are always a hard nosed team, the record can go out the window. I know that they are going to play hard against us. I have a lot of respect for the kids and their coaching staff. In the tape that we have seen they have battled hard and we expect them to play us hard in our house. We are expecting them to give us a game.”