Tri-Village earns share of WOAC Championship


By Ryan Berry

NEW MADISON — Tri-Village earned a share of the Western Ohio Athletic Conference Championship on Friday night with their 40-14 victory over National Trail.

Although the score looked lopsided, the teams fought to a stalemate for three quarters of the game. The Patriots broke through in the fourth quarter with 26 points to secure the win.

The Trailblazers got on the board first with a 46-yard run from Chase Ruebush on their first play from scrimmage. It didn’t take long for the Patriots to even up the score. A couple minutes later, Braden Keating found Noah Finkbine in the endzone on a 13-yard pass to tie the score at 7-7.

The defenses took charge of the game for the next 14 minutes of the game. Trail was able to move the ball to first goal at the two-yard line with 3:35 left in the half and that is when Burgan Hoffman got a push from his offensive line and put National Trail on top. With the extra point, the Blazers were up 14-7.

With time running out in the half, Keating connected again on a 12-yard touchdown pass to another Finkbine. This time it was Justin Finkbine who was able to get control of the ball and a foot inbounds for the score.

Coach Matt Hopkins said his team “strapped in at halftime.” He continued, “Cudos to Trail. Those kids played hard, and they hit like a ton of bricks. Our guys had to get adjusted to that and we answered the bell. At halftime I challenged them, and they challenged themselves. Our seniors weren’t going to lose this game. We put it on them. They wanted the ball and they just played really, really, well.”

It took another quarter for Tri-Village to finally get on track. With 10:45 left in the game, Keating found Noah Finkbine in the endzone again for a 22-yard touchdown pass and went up 21-14.

After stopping Trail on their own 45, the Patriots took over and so did Reed Wehr. He took the ball 45 yards for the score and a 28-14 lead.

The Blazers started pushing and the mistakes started coming. National Trail fumbled on their own 47-yard line and Noah Finkbine came up with recovery. With 3:01 left in the game, Keating found the endzone on the 20-yard run. The extra point was no good, but the Patriots were up 34-14.

Keating would get the final score of the game on a 51-yard interception return for a touchdown. The extra point was no good, but Tri-Village would get the 40-14 victory.

Hopkins pointed out the Tri-Village has only had a football team for seven years and already has two league titles. “There are places that have been around forever and have none. We don’t take any of it for granted. It’s a big deal and we talked about it all week long. When you get to put numbers on a banner, that’s a big deal. It should never, ever get old.” He credited the senior class for the success. “They are going to be the winningest class ever to come through and they deserve it,” he said.

A new season begins next week for the Patriots. The regular season is over, and the playoffs begin. “We’ll be watching tonight to see how everything shakes out,” said Hopkins. “We have a pretty good idea of who we’re going to play. I think we have a good shot of getting a high seed and playing two home games and that will be important to us. We’ll play whoever we get. We’ll start watching film tomorrow and see what we can do.”

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].

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