FORT LORAMIE – It was a game of execution for the Ansonia Tigers on Friday night.
In the first half, the Tigers executed well and had the lead on two separate occasions. In the second half, not so much.
A late first half touchdown by Fort Loramie gave them a 14-10 halftime lead over Ansonia, but the Redskins dominated the second half scoring 23 unanswered points to cruise to a 37-10 win over the visiting Tigers. Coupled with Mississinawa Valley’s loss to Twin Valley South and Fort Loramie now sits atop the Cross County Conference standings alone with a 3-0 record in conference play. They are 4-1 overall.
“We didn’t do the best job executing right away and when that happens it can be a little frustrating to start off games,” FLHS coach Spencer Wells said. “Credit to Ansonia. They came out really fighting and they were physical from the get-go. But our guys responded. Like I just told them it was 10-7 at one point and it ended up 37-10 so I was proud of the way they responded.”
Neither team did much of anything with their very first possessions, but when the Tigers (3-2, 2-1 CCC) got their second opportunity, Devyn Sink made it count as he burst through the hole in the middle of the line for a 62-yard touchdown and a 7-0 Tigers lead.
However, Fort Loramie’s next possession was just as successful as the Redskins took over on their own 43-yard line and went 56 yards in five plays capped by a 28-yard touchdown run by Carter Mescher and a 7-7 tie game at the end of the first quarter. It was the first of two touchdown runs for Mescher, who carried the ball just four times for 87 yards and two scores. He also had 41 receiving yards and a touchdown catch in the game.
“I wast to congratulate Fort Loramie. They played a good game. They played a tough game. They are just a good football team and they executed their offense well,” Ansonia coach Eugene Hoening said. “We made some plays ourselves, we just didn’t make enough. You can’t make mistakes against good teams. We didn’t block real well and that is because Fort Loramie is a good defensive team. Good teams make you look bad and they did. We did so some good things ourselves, we just didn’t do enough.”
Even with the game tied 7-7, Ansonia looked to have the momentum going into the second quarter, but on Fort Loramie’s first play of the period, quarterback Collin Moore’s pass appeared to be intercepted by Ansonia, but the officials ruled incomplete. It was the second questionable call in the game that favored the home team. In the first quarter, the Redskins punt returner appeared to fumble an Ansonia punt which the Tigers recovered, but the officials gave possession to Fort Loramie.
With 1:17 left in the first half, the Tigers had driven the ball from their own 20-yard line all the way to Fort Loramie’s 18, but facing a fourth down and 5 yards to go Ansonia opted for a field goals attempt. Michael Hall put in through the goalposts from 35 yards out and the Tigers had a 10-7 lead as they gave the ball back to the Redskins with a little more than a minute to go before halftime.
That turned out to be more than enough as Fort Loramie got the ball near midfield and capped off a seven-play, 49-yard drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Moore to Mescher to take a 14-10 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Redskins dominated the second half forcing the Tigers into four straight three-an-out possessions while they put points on the scoreboard on their first three possessions of the second half for a commanding 30-10 lead with one final quarter still to play.
“Sometimes we don’t always play with focus,” Wells said. “We don’t always read our keys and do the discipline job. We just needed to play more as a family and that’s everybody doing their job together. When we play as a family and as a team it is fun to watch. You can see the difference.
“The touchdown right before the half was huge,” he continued. “Collin Moore, our sophomore quarterback, did a really nice job with his reads on that drive and he made good decisions and that was big going into halftime.”
Nick Brandewie scored the final touchdown on a 37-yard run with 11-plus minutes to play in the game for Fort Loramie. The Redskins had more than 400 yards of total offense with 186 yards through the air and 267 yards on the ground, while Ansonia had slightly less than 200 yards of offense with 163 yards rushing and 18 passing.
Sink led the Tigers ground attack with 9 carries for 93 yards and a touchdown. Matthew Shook had 121 carries for 37 yards and Reece Stammen had 10 touches for 33 yards.
For Fort Loramie, Moore completed 14-of-29 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown. Mescher was his favorite target with five catches for 41 yards and two scores.Mason Kemper also had four receptions for 53 yards for Fort Loramie. Brandewie was the leading rusher with 89 yards and a touchdown.
“We were prepared for their passing game,” Hoening said. “We had a lot of near interceptions, but we just didn’t finish it off. They didn’t do anything we hadn’t seen before. Once they got a couple scores up on us they were able to run the ball.
“A loss is a loss. You have to get over it,” he continued. “You don’t get everything you want in this life. The sun is still going to come up. The trees are still going to be green. We got our whole lives ahead of us. We just have to get over this and keep going. When you get knocked down you get back up.”
Ansonia will host Mississinawa Valley next Friday, while Fort Loramie will head to Twin Valley South.