NEW MADISON – It was an offensive shootout between Tri-Village and Twin Valley South in football action. When the night concluded the Panthers made a few more plays than the Patriots for a 48-34 Cross County Conference victory.
It was a busy Friday night in New Madison as Tri-Village hosted Homecoming and school fair festivities prior to game.
Grand marshals for the 2017 Homecoming were Bill and Jill Moore, both dedicated education professionals who gave many years of service to Tri-Village.
Shirley Dubbs is another long-time educator and Daily Advocate columnist, and she was tabbed as grand marshal for the school fair with all three being recognized before the game.
School fair then presented the junior high court crowning of Princess Samantha Combs and Prince Austin Rismiller.
Homecoming court followed and Noah Burns was crowned as king and Kara Hollinger as queen.
With all the activity going on there was a huge crowd on hand, and it didn’t take long for the Patriots to give them something to cheer about.
Austin Bruner received the opening kickoff on the far side at the 10-yard line, ran to the middle and avoided a few tackles then bounced it to the outside on the near-side of the field where he picked up a couple blockers, and 90 yards later he was in the end zone to give the Patriots a quick strike 6-0 lead.
But before the celebration had a chance to subside when Twin Valley South’s Cade Cottingim received the kickoff and ran 85 yards up the middle untouched to the house, quickly quieting the home crowd. The Panthers added the extra point kick to go up 7-6.
Tri-Village on its next possession move the ball just over midfield before Bruner aired out a 25-yard pass to Trey Frech on a post route. The ball was a little under thrown … but Frech adjusted, jumped high and reached back over the defender to bring it in for a great catch.
Moments later Jared Buckley crossed the goal line from 1 yard out and the PATS were back on top 12-7.
Just when the Patriots look like they had momentum they gave up another big play … this time on the first play from scrimmage Cottingim tossed a 65-yard pass to Chandler Napier for the score and South led 14-12.
On Tri-Village’s second possession from scrimmage the Patriots utilized their ground game with Buckley doing the legwork. Buckley ripped off a 52-yard run that was culminated by Bruner with a 6-yard run. Buckley added the two-point conversion, and the Patriots led 20-14 at the end of the first quarter.
The Panthers answered the score. Facing fourth down and 1, Ryan Bassler broke free in the middle on a 3-yard run to tie the game at 20 with two minutes to go in the first half.
The Patriots turned the ball over the for the second straight possession, and the Panthers struck one more time before the close of the first half. It was Bassler again doing the damage to go up 26-20 at the half.
South went up 34-20 midway through the third quarter on an Isaac Clark 6-yard TD.
Buckley helped keep the PATS close as with just 53 seconds to go in the third quarter he made his way in from 20 yards out to make the score 34-26.
On this night Tri-Village was just unable to slow down or make the big stop and Bassler ran it in from 27 yards out to go up 42-26.
The Patriots, however, weren’t giving up with Noah Burns scoring on a 4-yard run to the outside and then he caught a jump pass from Bruner to keep the Patriots in the game, now trailing 42-34.
Twin Valley South would put the game on ice, using the clock to its advantage and running it down on each possession as the Panthers slowly moved the ball down the field.
The drive was culminated by 6-foot 3-inch, 320 pound lineman Nick Stacy who took half the Patriots defensive line with him into the end zone on a run reminiscent to the days of Refrigerator Perry for the Chicago Bears.
The score sealed the victory for the Panthers, 48-34, and improved their record to 3-4 overall and 3-2 in the conference.
Tri-Village fell to 3-4 overall and 2-3 in the conference.
“We turned the ball over again too many times,” first-year Tri-Village coach Robert Burk said. “It’s the same old story. We just can’t get out of our own way. Were really good offensively … but were not to the level where we can make up for our defense right now.
“In the second year of this program we’re still building. We got to lift more. We got to get more kids out to keep this going. We have had a lot of kids come out since the beginning of the school year, and we are in the weight room every day. That’s just going to be a process we have to go through,” Burk said.
“At the same time, we were close enough in this game to make some plays … six or seven plays go the other way and maybe it’s a different game … but we have to find a way to do a little bit more and play better on defense,” Burk concluded.