UNION CITY – Mississinawa Valley was coming off its first win in more than 30 games and celebrating Homecoming festivities … but Tri-Village would erase the Blackhawks’ winning streak and spoil Homecoming with the Patriots’ first-ever Cross County Conference win by the score of 54-32.
Prior to the game the Hawks crowned Ethan Bowman and Paxton Scholl for Homecoming king and queen.
Tri-Village would strike first in the contest after blocking a punt. The Patriots would go 50 yards and cap it off with a 5-yard pass from Noah Burns to Trey Frech to go up 6-0.
Mississinawa answered the score when Trent Collins connected with Nathan Gladdish over the middle, and he would take it 28 yards to tie the game at six each.
Elijah Livingston blocked a Tri-Village punt that was recovered by Billy Bridges, setting up Mississinawa in the red zone at the 18-yard line.
TV would hold strong and take over on downs to thwart an MV scoring opportunity.
Burns would toss an 18-yard pass that Christian Ricker would go up high for and haul in with one-hand on the 1-yard line. Burns then plunged in from 1 yard out, the extra point from Jacob Shaffer was good and the PATS led 13-6.
Burns would strike once again on a QB keeper up the middle, going 54 yards for another score, and TV went up 20-6.
Mississinawa tried to answer but Cody Eyer dropped back in coverage in the middle and picked off a Trent Collins pass to set up another Patriot score.
Burns wasted little time airing out a 23-yard strike to Austin Bruner, and the Patriots would lead 26-6 at the half.
In the third quarter Collins would give the Hawks a breath of fresh air as his passed went over an out-stretched hand of Patriot defender Camren Munchel, landing in the hands of Max Dirmeyer who would take it to the house for a 60-yard score to make the score 26-12.
Tri-Village had the answer in Burns this time he went 7 yards for the score to go up 33-12.
Burns again went 46 yards, making a number of Hawk defenders miss, and the PATS lead 39-12.
Mississinawa then went to work with their best drive on the night with a couple of nice quarterback option runs by Collins and Gladdish finished it off with a 3-yard run and Will Hall ran in the two-point conversion to pull the Hawks closer down 39-20.
The thorn in talons of the Hawks struck one more time with a 1-yard score followed by a Munchel extra point to put the PATS up 46-20.
The Hawks lack of offense early materialized as the game progressed as Collins tossed a 17-yard pass in the end zone to Dilyn Rammel who hauled it in to make the score 46-26.
Mississinawa had done a good job of bottling up senior running back Jared Buckley, but he would finally break free and not be denied breaking multiple tackles, rumbling 50 yards to cap the scoring for Tri-Village, which now led 52-26.
Mississinawa scored one more time as Bridges raced 37 yards for the score. The two-point conversion pass to Zack Connor was good, and the final score was 52-34.
Offensively Tri-Village dominated the football game, especially on the ground. Buckley rushed 25 time for 175 yards and one score.
But the legs of newly installed quarterback Noah Burns did the most damage on the night with 28 rushes for 247 yards and five touchdowns that broke the Hawks’ back.
“We got together as coaches last Saturday and felt like our best two guys were Burns and Buckley, and Burns wasn’t getting enough touches so we decided why not just snap it to him and see what happens,” Tri-Village football coach Robert Burk said.
“Trey Frech our starting quarterback was on board with that … he plays well for us and was up for playing tight end for us tonight, and he caught our first touchdown. Noah did a great job leading the offense and attacking the line of scrimmage, and he became a great compliment to Buckley since everyone was keying on him,” Burk said.
“We preached all week: Buckley, Buckley, Buckley and for a reason: he’s a horse, and we did a good job bottling him up and slowing him down,” Mississinawa Valley head coach Mike Griffin said.
“He is such a load, and I thought our kids did a good job of keying on him … but they changed things up putting Noah Burns at quarterback. It was a heck of coaching move on their part, and we just couldn’t stop him tonight. I give him all the credit he had a heck of game,” Griffin added.
Collins led Mississinawa with 125 yards passing and three touchdown passes, and Bridges had 107 yards rushing.
“We scored 34 points, and that’s enough to win football games … but we just didn’t get it done defensively tonight,” Griffin concluded.
“Our offense really worked well tonight (479 yards total offense), but we didn’t execute perfectly and left opportunities despite scoring 52 points … but we turned it over a few times and stalled out a few times that could have put the game away much earlier,” Burk said.
Tri-Village first ever win in the conference was not taken lightly by Coach Burk.
“Winning is a very precious thing. It’s very hard to do. It takes a lot of work, sometime a little luck along with good players … and I told them to cherish that. It’s an unbelievable feeling to get that first win ever conference win for our program,” Burke concluded.
Tri-Village improved to 2-2, 1-1 CCC and will travel to National Trail Friday while Mississinawa Valley fell to 1-3, 1-1 CCC and goes to Twin Valley South.