GRATIS – Two of the top teams considered to be in the hunt for a Western Ohio Athletic Conference football title squared off Friday night. It was the arrows starting well scoring 14 first half points only to see the Patriots score 14 of their own in the 3rd quarter. Preble Shawnee answered with two more scores in the 4th quarter to register a 26-14 victory in an early WOAC league showdown.
Preble Shawnee came into the contest having registered an impressive win over Miami East in the previous week 49-14, while the Patriots earned a 21-7 win over Troy Christian.
Tri-Village also came into the game without the services of their 1st Team All-State senior quarterback Layne Sarver who broke his collar bone last week to end his season and that would change the dynamics of the Patriot offense.
A 90-minute lightening delay and a light rain to start the game didn’t seem to affect the home team as Preble Shawnee scored 14 points in the first half.
It would be the solid play up front at the line of scrimmage by the Arrows that set the tone in the first half as 6’2 – 220lb senior running back Hunter Crockett ran through and over Tri-Village for two touchdowns.
Meanwhile the Patriots struggled to get going as the Preble Shawnee defensive line led by 6’3” 280lb senior DL/OL Xavier Adams disrupted the Tri-Village offense and held the Patriots
scoreless in the first half.
“Xavier is a big boy and hard to block, we rely on his presence to help us control the line of scrimmage,” Preble Shawnee coach Dave Maddox praised.
“I was worried with the delay that it would throw us off a bit to start the game … but we really started well, we were hungry and ready to go. We played really hard and when you can control your effort and attitude it helps tremendously,” Maddox added.
“We knew Preble Shawnee was super physical, we knew they could score the ball and that they would play hard all night and they took it to us early,” Tri-Village coach Robert Burk said heading into the locker room at half-time.
After the half-time break Tri-Village came out and made some big plays on back-to-back drives to tie the game at 14 each.
Sophomore quarterback Braden Keating now under center filling the spot for Layne Sarver connected on a 43-yard pass to Justine Finkbine minutes into the third quarter, Keating then kicked the extra point and the Patriots trailed 14-7.
On the next series running back Reed Wehr took one around the left end and galloped 21-yards for a second touchdown and another kick by Keating tied the score as Tri-Village roared back.
“Tri-Village is a really good team; they have some really good athletes and so they are scary because you never know when they can bust one open and that’s what they did in the 3rd quarter,” Arrows coach Maddox said.
Preble Shawnee never panicked but they needed a boost as the 4th quarter began and they would get that with senior Hunter Crockett. Crockett had a good 1st half but took a big hit hurting his shoulder and sat out in the 3rd period.
Crockett immediately had an impact on the game helping Preble Shawnee re-establish their ground game.
“We were struggling in the 3rd quarter and once he (Crockett) decided to come back in we kind of got it going. He just adds another element for us, he’s 220 pounds and runs like a wild buck deer and it’s kind of hard to tackle a kid like that. I’m very proud of him and the rest of the team for the way they responded,” Maddox stated.
With TV keyed in on Crockett, quarterback Brayden Doran pulled the ball from Crockett and ran it 22-yards for the go ahead score 20-14.
“Our guys settled back in and kept fighting and I’m proud of how they handled that adversity and answered their run,” Maddox commented.
“It’s key for us to control the line of scrimmage and get our running game going and that’s what we did in the 4th quarter,” Maddox added.
Tri-Village moved the ball a few times in the 4th quarter but stalled themselves on the drives and with time dwindling down the Arrows were content to run clock. They would add one more touchdown a 10-yard run by Crockett with 48 seconds left to play to make the final score 26-14.
“We’ve got 3 seniors Hunter Crockett, Xavier Adams and Cole Hawkins and all 3 of them did a great job of playing hard and leading this team tonight and I’m so proud of them and the entire team on the way they played,” Maddox concluded.
Preble Shawnee goes to 2-0 overall, 1-0 in the WOAC and will travel to play National Trail next week.
For Tri-Village it was a disappointing loss but one they’ll have to put behind them quickly as it’s a long season with a lot of football yet to be played.
“We just weren’t ready to play. They jumped out in front of us early and we tried to come back … but it was too little too late and that’s on me,” TV coach Robert Burk commented.
“Going in we knew this was a big game and they (Preble Shawnee) were a team contending for a title. We just made too many mistakes to beat a team like that. That’s not the kind of football we played last year or is the type of football we want to play,” Burk stated.
“We’re doing a little soul searching and trying to learn how to play without Layne Sarver. It’s up to us to figure out how to put our kids in a position where they know what’s going on and able to have success,” Burk added.
“We have zero excuses for tonight, we must find out what kind of team we are without Layne and what we are best at, and we didn’t do that tonight and that’s 100% on me.”
Tri-Village falls to 1-1 on the year and 0-1 in the WOAC and will travel to Twin Valley South next week.
“We told our kids be ready to go Monday, we aren’t upset with them at all, they’re frustrated, and we’re frustrated … but we love them and we’re going to get better and be ready to take on Twin Valley South next week,” Burk concluded.