Tri-Village football program excited to join the CCC


NEW MADISON – In its first season in the Cross County Conference, the Tri-Village football team hopes to contend for the league championship.

Robert Burk, who replaces Jason Schondelmyer as the Tri-Village head coach, wants the Patriots to aim high during his first season guiding the team.

“They were 3-7 last year,” the former Mount Healthy High School defensive coordinator said. “We’d like to improve on that. I feel very strongly that we want to challenge … you don’t come out here to shoot low so we’re challenging for the CCC title; that’s our goal every single year.”

Tri-Village played its first season of high school football in 2015 against junior varsity competition. The Patriots moved up to the varsity level against non-conference opponents last year, and now along with Bradford and Fort Loramie they join the CCC to give the league 12 teams.

“It’s nice to have teams in the county that you’re playing,” Burk said. “Last year they played people from Indianapolis and all the way down to Gamble so that was difficult to drive around. Some of the drives are long but not like going to Indianapolis or anything like that. I’m really excited to be a part of this league.”

As they enter the CCC, the Patriots have 25 players on their roster including nine seniors.

On offense, Tri-Village will utilize spread formations but will look to establish the run first.

“We are going to pass the ball a little bit,” Burk said. “We do run out of spread personnel and a little bit of two-back spread. So we will throw the ball around a little bit, but it’s all based off the run. We’re going to run the ball first then throw the ball to help set up the run if we need to, take shot shots in the play-action.”

Senior Trey Frech is slated to start at quarterback after backing up Jonny Wilson a year ago. Austin Bruner also could see some time at quarterback.

Bruner primarily will line up at the slot position on offense along with Noah Burns. Christian Ricker also will start at receiver while Camren Munchel will play a tight end and H-back role.

Jared Buckley, who ran for 1,153 yards a year ago, once again will be the featured player in Tri-Village’s offense out of his running back position.

“He’s the real deal, man,” Burk said. “He’s got to learn to finish plays and be more physical, but he’s got all the tools to maybe get some money to go play college somewhere. He’s going to be our featured guy for sure offensively and defensively. He’s kind of the engine that makes us run; that’s for sure. We’re going to ride him as much as we can.”

Along the offensive line, Tri-Village will depend on the senior leadership of Dagan White, Jackson Plush and Trevor Mote. Mason Sullenbarger also will be one of the key players up front for the Patriot offense.

Defensively Tri-Village will utilize a 4-3 scheme and will be aggressive in attacking opposing offenses.

“We’ve got to try to be aggressive,” Burk said. “Right now we’re teaching them how to play defense; we’re teaching them how to read and attack blocks and things like that, but one we get a chance we will put in some pressures and some D-line stunts and things like that to kind of give us an advantage and get people off track.”

Just like on offense, Sullenbarger, White, Plush and Mote will anchor the defensive line. Freshman Dylan Finkbine also will see time at defensive end.

Buckley will be a central part of the Tri-Village defense as the middle linebacker. Camren Munchel also will be a key player at linebacker for the Patriots.

Ricker, Bruner and Burns will all see time at safety while Mason Coby, Dillion Ballard and Zacharie Dowler will line up at cornerback.

Tri-Village won’t play Covington, Miami East or Tri-County North in its inaugural season in the CCC, which will make the Patriots’ transition into the league a little easier. But they still have room for improvement as they seek to contend in the conference.

“They’ve answered every challenge that we’ve given them, and they’ve improved from the first seven-on-seven to the second to the third,” Burk said. “Then Tuesday we didn’t look very good, and we looked pretty good today. We’re not all the way there. We’re not game ready yet, but we made a big improvement. I think they’re ready, and they’ve answered every challenge we’ve given them so far so I’m looking forward to the season.”

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The Tri-Village football team will play in the Cross County Conference for the first time this season. Tri-Village football team will play in the Cross County Conference for the first time this season. Kyle Shaner | The Daily Advocate

By Kyle Shaner

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Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to

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