Mississinawa Valley football team snaps 31-game losing streak


BRADFORD – It was a showdown between two teams looking to restore their football programs.

Bradford rejoining the Cross County Conference after a three-year absence and Mississinawa Valley looking to get its first win in more than three years.

Mississinawa on its opening drive moved the ball past midfield until Bradford’s Kyle Mills picked off a pass.

Bradford’s opening drive was short, and the Railroaders punted back to the Hawks.

Mississinawa then would strike first in the contest when Trent Collins tossed a screen pass to Dylin Rammel out of a quad set on a fourth down play. Rammel did the rest, racing 37 yards for the touchdown. Colton Hines kicked the extra point, giving the Blackhawks a 7-0 lead at 1:48 in the opening quarter.

In the second quarter MV was on the move again only to have another drive stopped when Bradford’s Hunter Penkal snared the ball away from the Hawks and returned it to midfield.

After both teams traded punts Bradford took over on its own 44-yard line and the very first play Penkal broke off tackle and sprinted 56 yards for the touchdown. The fake extra point was stopped, and with 4:20 left in the half Bradford trailed 7-6.

In the third quarter Mississinawa Valley stalled in the red zone as Bradford held strong, taking over on downs at its own 6-yard line.

Bradford punted back moments later and with the short field the Hawks were back in business, moving the ball back in the red zone to the 10-yard line.

Again, the Railroaders stiffened up and put the Hawks in another fourth-and-goal situation on the 10-yard line. This time Collins connected with Alex Scholl on a slant pass for the score. The extra point was blocked, and the Hawks led 13-6 with 16 seconds left in the third period.

In the fourth quarter Bradford came up big to stop another Mississinawa drive when Mills grabbed his second theft on the night at the 17-yard line.

Bradford, however, was just unable to get anything going offensively and facing a fourth and 4 the Railroaders went for broke on a fake punt … but Nathan Gladdish was having nothing to do with it, stuffing the play taking over again with a short field.

A few plays later Gladdish was rewarded on a 1-yard plunge for the TD. Collins then found Scholl in the corner of the end zone to convert the two-point play and MV led 21-6, and that is how the game would end.

It’s been a long time coming for Mississinawa, all the way back to its 2013 upset over Ansonia and season-ending victory over Bradford for the Blackhawks’ last previous wins, and none of the guys playing today were a part of that.

“This is a great feeling,” second-year Mississinawa Valley coach Mike Griffin said. “I’ll be honest, I’m happier for these guys then getting my first win here as the coach because they have never won a Friday night game in their lives/careers. For these seniors to finally get one, I’m elated for them, and for our fans who have endured a 31-game losing streak … I’m excited for them, too.

“We had a lot of good individual contributions tonight, and I don’t like to single out any one guy … but tonight Nate Gladdish was a stud. He goes 100 miles an hour. He will do anything you ask of him, and he was completely gassed. He came up with a big fourth down stop late in the game. I finally had to give him a rest because if you tell him to play a 110 percent … well, he plays 150 percent, and he didn’t have a lot left in the tank,” Griffin said.

“It was a complete team effort, though. Yes, we had our fair share of miscues … but getting that first win after 31 losses wasn’t going to be easy no matter who we played … when you’re not used to winning it’s hard to overcome. Too see these kids now, the smiles on their faces, everybody hugging, well, that’s what it takes to build a winning mentality … we’ve never experienced it before, and this will be extra motivation for them to come to work and put more time in … and hopefully lead to more future wins,” Griffin concluded.

For the Bradford Railroaders, their first varsity CCC game return was not the result they wanted but one first-year head coach Chris Hawk can build on.

“I’m not here to make excuses, but we have a team that has had four coaching staff changes in four years, and we’re trying to change the culture, establish some continuity and get these guys to buy in … and we are,” Hawk said.

“We looked bad in week one, played well for two quarters in week two, and this week we competed ’til the end. Yes, we made some silly mistakes, but as a team we’ve improved every week, and we are going to continue to make improvements … we’ll go back and look at the film and work on correcting those mistakes we made tonight.

“I’m proud of the way our kids played tonight. They fought until the end, never giving up. That is something positive we can build upon,” Hawk concluded.

Mississinawa Valley goes to 1-2 overall and 1-0 in the CCC on the year and will host Tri-Village (1-2, 0-1 CCC) for its Homecoming game next week while Bradford (0-3, 0-1 CCC) will go to Arcanum (0-3, 0-1 CCC).

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Mississinawa Valley’s Dilyn Rammel celebrates as Alex Scholl scores a touchdown during a Cross County Conference football game on Friday night at Bradford.
http://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_Dilyn-Rammel-Alex-Scholl-WEB-1.jpgMississinawa Valley’s Dilyn Rammel celebrates as Alex Scholl scores a touchdown during a Cross County Conference football game on Friday night at Bradford. Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate
Blackhawks defeat the Railroaders 21-6

By Dale Barger

For The Daily Advocate