By Bill Matthews
ANSONIA — Friday night action saw the Tri-Village Patriots (3-1) travel to their Western Ohio Conference opponent Ansonia Tigers (2-2) for a Darke County matchup that would highlight the second and third stingiest defenses and the third and fourth most scoring offenses in the WOC through the first four weeks, with Tri-Village holding an edge in both categories.
Both teams, tied for fourth in the standings, were 2-1 in league play coming into the matchup and both needing a “W” to keep pace with the league leaders Preble Shawnee 4-0 (3-0), Arcanum 4-0 (3-0), and Tri-County North 3-1 (3-0).
Tri-Village won the toss and chose to defer to the second half. Ansonia had a hard time holding on to the kickoff and on the first play from scrimmage, losing 17 yards as the first snap went over the quarterback’s head, putting the Tigers in a hole from the onset.
Their first four downs ended with an Ansonia punt and the Patriots starting their own drive from the Tigers 28-yard line.
The Patriots started their first offensive drive in neutral with two incomplete passes but put it into gear with a 15-yard run from Reed Wehr to the 13. The Patriots managed another first down before an eventual 3-yard TD pass from Braden Keating to Josh Scantland with Keating kicking the extra point.
The Tigers started the next drive on their own 28 and managed one first down and progressed to their own 48 before being forced to punt once again.
The Patriots second drive started deep on their own 8-yard line. It took just nine plays to cover the field and sticking with what works, Keating tossed to Scantland for another TD, this one for 11 yards. Keating split the upright again to make it 14-0 Tri Village.
The Tiger’s next offensive chance ended with four plays and a turnover on downs.
The Patriots once again had the ball near midfield and a chance to turn it into a rout. A Tiger interception a few plays in, would offer Ansonia new life, but the home team couldn’t penetrate the Patriot D. The first half ended with another change of possessions. Ansonia had the ball last in the first half with an opportunity to tighten the gap to no avail and the half ended with the Patriots leading the Tigers 14-0.
There was a scary moment in the second quarter when the Tigers’ Exzaviar Moody was hit hard and high by a Patriot defender, leaving spectators concerned as coaches, trainers, and local EMS crews checked Moody out. Exzaviar was able to climb aboard the ATV to applause from the stands and players and play resumed.
The second half started with a Patriot kickoff returned for a touchdown, but the score was negated by a holding call. It didn’t matter, however, as Reed Wehr ran the first play from scrimmage 80 yards for a touchdown. Keating, once again added the point after.
Peyton Beam was able to put up the Tiger’s only touchdown on the board with 4:23 left in the 3rd quarter. Conner Schmit added the point after, making the final score 21-7.
The Patriots improved to 4-1 while the Tigers fell to 2-3. Ansonia next faces Twin Valley South (1-4), while Tri-Village takes on Tri-County North (3-2).
In other league action, Preble Shawnee improved to (5-0) with a win over Bradford (0-5); Arcanum (5-0) maintained its perfect record with a win over Tri-County North (3-2); National Trail beat (2-3) beat Dixie (1-4); and Twin Valley South (2-3) beat Mississinawa Valley (0-5).
With OHSAA expanding playoff qualifiers to 12 teams per division, both teams will need to turn it up a notch to punch a ticket to a 2021 rematch.
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