LEWISBURG – Both Ansonia and Tri-County North lost winnable games to the open the season. This meant that both teams needed to rebound and gain momentum in round two of their fall campaigns.
Although the Ansonia football team was able to hang with North in the first half, North gained the second half momentum in the game and was able to pull away for an easy win, 42-6.
Ansonia was able to move the ball but was unable to keep its drives alive and punch the ball into the end zone. The first drive of night set the tone – it went all the way to the red zone of the Panthers thanks in part to a 32-yard catch by Hunter Muir of a Matthew Shook pass. But the drive fizzled from there as the Tigers couldn’t convert a fourth down.
Ansonia’s last drive of the first half was another case in point. North had scored early in the second quarter to go up by two touchdowns. But with 8:15 left in the half the Ansonia offense went to work at its own 28 and methodically moved the ball down the field – despite a penalty about midway through the drive that made it first and 15.
Grinding out yardage and clock are a trademark of an Ansonia offense. The team was able to convert a first down on that series by going for it and making it on fourth down two times. But the drive ran out of gas in the red zone, and the Tigers turned it over on downs on a fourth-and-3 play that fell short with 44 seconds left in the half.
That was a frustrating series for Ansonia, punching the ball in would have given the Tigers momentum going into the locker room and also made it a one-score game. Ansonia tried again to change the direction of the game with an onside kick called by Coach Eugene Hoening that worked as Devyn Sink pounced on the ball. But the offense was unable to move the ball and gave the ball back to North. So again Ansonia squandered a chance to swing the game in its favor.
Despite a tackle for loss by Nathan Denniston, North kept its ensuing drive alive and was able to score. This seemed to open the flood gates as North’s offense kept the pressure up and tallied several scores in the second half.
One has to wonder how things could have changed if Ansonia could have scored on its first drive of the game and its last possession of the first half – it could have been a 14-14 game going into the third quarter and after that who knows?
Overall Ansonia had several hundred yards of offense – but only one touchdown, a run by Trevor Beam in the fourth quarter, to show for its efforts. Beam also recorded a quarterback sack in the first quarter.
Ball control is the hallmark of a Tiger offense. They held the ball for a good portion of the game – there were not many three-and-out series. So that was a positive for the team. With young players at several of the skill positions, there will be a learning curve to the season. The quicker that they get up to speed to varsity play, the better the team will become as time goes on.
Aydan Sanders had a good game for the Tigers with 62 yards rushing on offense and 10 tackles on defense. Hunter Muir led all receivers with 32 yards.
“First I want to compliment Coach Derringer and his team,” Ansonia’s Coach Hoening said. “They came out prepared – their backs ran the ball hard. Their offensive line executed. Their defense forced our offense to make mistakes. We were able to move the ball; we just couldn’t finish our drives.
“We know that they run a wing T offense, so we are expecting to see that,” Hoening said of his team’s next opponent, Miami East. “And on defense they have a 6-2 (eight in the box), so we will have to prepare for that. They execute well on offense, and their secondary runs a very good zone defense against the pass.”