GREENVILLE – Things went from bad to worse in a hurry for the Greenville football team on Friday night.
The Wave got the ball first on the cold, rainy night at Harmon Field and were set up pretty good after the strong opening kick return by John Butsch, but a fumble on the first play from scrimmage went over to Tippecanoe, who capitalized a few plays later when Cade Beam ran it in from 9 yards out for a 7-0 Red Devils lead.
On its next possession, Greenville was pinned inside its own 5-yard line and wound up getting tackled in the end zone for a safety and Tippecanoe led 9-0 with 9:09 remaining in the first quarter. Tippecanoe got the ball after the safety and marched down field in about 5 minutes to score again on a 4-yard run by Beam and take a commanding lead, 16-0.
Another Greenville fumble led to a third Beam touchdown run at the start of the second quarter and by the end of the first half, the Red Devils held a 43-0 lead en route to a 43-7 win. It was the second biggest margin of defeat for the Wave this season. They lost to Chaminade Julienne by 42 points (58-16) in Week 3.
“What we do is a tough sport, a physical sport and sometimes you get put in a position where you have to battle and fight through some things adversity wise,” Greenville coach Aaron Shaffer said. “Tonight we were battling through some things and we just have to continue to grow. It’s tough to go out there and fight when maybe one of your buddies isn’t out there next to you where he normally is, so we have to battle through those things. You have to be able to trust the guys around you and trust they can do the job. Tipp is a good team and the things they do are difficult to defend, but we’ll keep growing and coaching and doing the things that we do to try and put our kids in good positions to play and win.
“Our kids are tough and they are resilient,” he continued. “It’s just been a tough week around here. We had a great return right off the bat, but sometimes when you run that option stuff that we do the exchange gets a little out of whack and ends up on the ground and we couldn’t jump on it. We had a snap issue on the second drive that we have to be able to rally up on and get covered up and things like that, but it is just battling through some adversity right now. It’s character stuff…building character and learning how to fight through difficult things. I’m proud of the kids for the way they came out and tried to fight for one another. They played hard and did the best they can and that’s what we ask.”
Greenville did score late in the fourth quarter to avoid the shutout. Di’Maurye Ewing broke one for a 27-yard scoring run with 5:50 left in the game to get the Wave on the scoreboard. It was his second rushing touchdown of the season.
“Di’Maurye hasn’t necessarily been the featured back throughout the early part of the season, but we’re confident in his skills and abilities. It’s good to see him get some runs and go score,” Shaffer said.
Marcus Wood made a number of big plays as well for Greenville, mostly on special teams but also on defense. He had a 40-yard punt return, 110 yards on 5 kick returns, a 28-yard interception return and he also caught 4 passes for 36 yards in the game. The interception was his fifth of the season leaving him all alone at the top of the Greater Western Ohio Conference in that category.
“You put the ball in Marcus’ hands and he’s dangerous,” Shaffer said. “We are confident in our skill kids across the board that you put the ball in their hands there is a chance they can go make a play and do something with it. Marcus has done that. He’s had some really good returns the last few weeks. We have kids that can go out and make some plays. Sometimes we have to get out of our own way a little bit and take care of the ball and reduce our penalties.”
Beam led the Red Devils offense with 104 yards rushing and four touchdowns. He had scoring runs of 9, 4, 10 and 25 yards in the game. Ben Ambos also had 56 yards on the ground and a touchdown for Tippecanoe.
“We talked to our team about it’s our run game versus their run game,” Tippecanoe coach Joel Derge said. “We wanted to come out and stop the run defensively and then run the ball ourselves. I think we did a good job between the tackles tonight getting our fullback going and our halfbacks on the edge. They have a good running back over there that we were really keying on and I just thought our kids played well tonight.
“Another one of the keys victory is winning the turnover battle,” he continued. “Last week we lost the turnover battle 4-0 so that was a big key this week to make sure we won it. It was a good game overall by our kids. They executed well and we had a lot of kids that had their first start tonight so I’m really encouraged at how well they played and how well they blocked.”
Next Friday is Senior night for Greenville (3-5, 0-3 GWOC North) as they host Troy in the final home game of the season. Tippecanoe (4-4, 1-2 GWOC North) travels to Piqua.