The Offensive Line played well and the defense was good too ... but mistakes at key times and turnovers would be the difference in Patriots loss to Preble Shawnee.

Turnovers Key In Patriots Loss to Preble Shawnee

NEW MADISON – For the 2nd straight year Tri-Village and Preble Shawnee lined up in the 2nd game of the season as two of the front runners for football in the Western Ohio Athletic Conference.

The Patriots were banged up last season heading into Camden and looking to turn the tables on the Arrows who came in a bit banged up with a couple of senior starters on the sidelines; one with a broken ankle and the other a broken foot, some sick, and others trying to gut it out knowing the impact this game has on a conference title.

Two early turnovers by Tri-Village led to two scores for Preble Shawnee.  

The first was a 30-yard half-back pass from Malechai Stephenson to Dylan Zornes.

Tri-Village answered on a 4th down 30-yard pass from Braden Keating to Justin Finkbine who out jumped 2 defenders coming down with the ball in the endzone as the Patriots went up 7-6.

The second Patriot turnover was a fumble on the 5 yard-line.  Quarterback Braden Doran made quick work with a 5-yard scamper and the two-point conversion gave the Arrows a 14-7 lead.

Patriots Reed Wehr had a couple of big runs for TV on their next possession and he capped it with a 13-yard run around the left side of the line.  Keating’s extra-point tied the game at intermission at 14 all.

The Patriots came out of the locker-room looking to regain momentum and scored a 28-yard pass from Keating into the corner of the endzone to Tanner Printz who came down with it to give TV a 21-14 lead.

Preble Shawnee answered at 3:40 in the 3rd period with a Braden Doran 4-yard run … but their two-point conversion failed still trailing the Patriots 21-20.

Tri-Village drove the ball down to 1 yard line on their next possession and looked like they had punched it in with an official signaling a touchdown … but after a conference amongst themselves they ruled that the ball was fumbled before crossing the plain negating the score.

The turnover was one of 6 on the night for the with the Arrows taking advantage.  

Once again it was Doran doing the damage with his feet from 6-yards out.  Again, the two-point conversion failed but Shawnee led 26-21 with 6 minutes left in the game.

TV drove the ball down to the 40-yard line on the next possession but was stuffed at the line of scrimmage by the Arrows defensive front on a 4th down with a half-yard to go.

The Patriots would get the ball one more time deep in their own territory with time dwindling away and was unable to answer with the Arrows holding on for a 26-21 win.

“I’m just proud of these guys, there were a lot of ups and downs, a rollercoaster of emotions going throughout that game, but we stepped up when the game was on the line.  They were about 6” from the goal-line and we dug in deep to stop the score and then the 4th down near the end of the game was just guys finding a way to step up and get the job done,” Preble Shawnee Coach Dave Maddox said.

“We’ve had some injury issues and guys sick along with guys playing hurt, but they fought through it, battled and we came out on top.  I’m just proud of them for the heart they showed tonight.”

“That’s a great team (Tri-Village) they played hard and were tough and their going to have a successful season and it’s a shame a game like this couldn’t be played at the end of the season but that’s just how things go”

“What a game for Braden Doran, injured in the first preseason game and not playing our first week, he’s one of the guys I mentioned who played through an injury … but I’m also proud to see other guys fill and step up for this team,” Maddox concluded 

Doran was a difference maker on the night rushing for 102 yards on 23 attempts and 3 TDs on the ground. He also completed 10 of 18 passes for 129 yards.  

According to Tri-Village coach Matthew Hopkins the Preble Shawnee game has quickly become huge game and rivalry in the new WOAC league.

“This was a real big game for both of us, but you can’t expect to win this type of game committing 6 turnovers, let alone the defending league champs and a team that went to the Regional finals last year,” Hopkins stated.

We shot ourselves in the foot and they took advantage and that’s what good teams do.

We have work to do, we need to correct our mistakes and I told our kids there are two paths we can take; we can hang our heads, or we can come back out on Monday and get better.  Not just the kids but the coaching staff too, we made mistakes too and we must do a better job of putting our kids in the best position to do well, coach them up and improve our execution,” concluded Hopkins.

Reed Wehr rushed for 144 yards and a TD and also registered 14 tackles ... but the Patriots came up short to the Arrows. (Dale Barger Photo)
Senior Justin Finkbine came down with this big catch on a 4th down for a TD early in the game. (Dale Barger Photo)
Braden Keating threw for 171 yards and 2 TDs both 30 yarders to Finkbine and to Tanner Printz.
Senior defensive lineman Christian Cantrell wraps up the ball-carrier for now gain. (Dale Barger photo)
Senior Seth Cook harassed Brayden Doran much of the night and had 2.5 sacks and 13 tackles for the Patriots. (Dale Barger Photo)

Dale Barger / Sports Editor

Dale Barger is a lifelong sports enthusiast and has covered high school athletics for nearly 20 years in Southwest Ohio and now becomes sports editor for Darke County now. For 18 years Dale has been a sportswriter for The Daily Advocate and has been published in online sorts magazines and conference websites. Dale is also an accomplished photographer who has captured thousands of athletes in action over the years. Dale is a member of The Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association and was a 2019 recipient of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Southwest District Media Service Award. Dale lives on a 72-acre farm outside of New Madison, Ohio and is married to Rita Ann (Fourman) Barger and together they have two sons and three grandkids. If you don’t see Dale at a sporting event you might catch him following his other passion – photographing nature and wildlife. Contact Darke County Now Editor Media Sports Editor Dale Barger at

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