LEWISBURG – On paper the game should have been an easy win for Tri-County North, who entered Friday’s contest with a record of 4-2. Arcanum, on the other hand, only had a single win.
But when a team prepares well and you get momentum on your side – well, that is how upsets happen. A snowball became an avalanche as Arcanum took a 13-8 halftime lead and completely dominated the second half as the Trojans steamrolled to a 39-16 victory.
Arcanum and TCN sparred in the first quarter, but in the second quarter the Trojan line began to dominate the Panthers and the Trojans established a running game that was firing on all eight cylinders.
Arcanum had good field position for most of the game and was able to utilize the short field and score points. Ray Denniston scored, Daniel Coats ran back a punt for a special teams score, Evan Atchley ran for two touchdowns, and Austin Fourman had a 19-yard carry for a score.
Defensively Trojans gave up a couple of big plays, but overall they kept the Panther offense on the sidelines. When Tri-County North attempted to pass, Arcanum pressured the quarterback. When the Panthers tried to run, it was stuffed at the line of scrimmage. And the Trojan defense put up some points of its own when Devin Keckler stripped a receiver of the ball and ran 55 yards to the end zone for a score.
Coach Jason Schondelmyer credited the success of the defense to the line, who put together a good pass rush and made the North quarterback scramble.
“That helped our defensive backs, who had a good night and even had an interception,” the Arcanum football coach said.
Turnovers were a big factor in the game. North coughed up the ball five times while Arcanum didn’t give up the ball once. Besides Keckler, the Trojans had Braden Garbig and Wills Troutwine both recover a fumble, Austin Fourman recovered an onside kick, and Ethin Hoffman had a big interception to end the first half. North was threatening to score, but Hoffman made a pick to halt that drive with seconds left on the clock and end any chance of North drawing even and going into the locker room with momentum.
“What gets those turnovers is the effort from those kids,” Schondelmyer said. “You have to hustle to the ball and be in position to make a play.”
Coach Schondelmyer had praise for both his offensive and defensive lines.
“We have had some injuries in our skilled positions, but our lines are pretty much intact this whole season,” he said. “They dominated the line of scrimmage tonight. Our young players are stepping up in the skilled positions due to some injuries, but I was most impressed with the play of our linemen tonight. The team had a good week of practice.
“It’s the best game we played so far, but we prepare hard every week. The team was really focused this week. But the difference tonight was that our team was the more physical team. We made some big plays tonight when we needed to make them – even our young players played like experienced players. That’s a credit to the kids, and that’s a credit to our coaches.”
Next up for Arcanum is league leading Miami East.
“I’ll just tell you this, our guys will be ready,” Schondelmyer said.