By Ryan Berry
ANSONIA — The Ansonia offense’s ability to grind it out on the ground and sustain long drives was the key in the Tiger’s victory of Mechanicsburg on Friday night. The Division VII second round of the OHSAA football playoffs saw Ansonia advance with its 34-8 victory while picking up the school’s first-ever 12-win season in football.
Coach Adam Hall said his guys played great. “We had a lot of guys go down and we had a lot of young guys step up. We had a lot of injuries coming into this. All of our guys are ready to play, we put them in.” He said the Indians are a good football team and was excited with the win. “To beat them period is a win. To beat them without some of our guys the way that we did is a testament to how hard our guys worked.” He praised his kids, “We have great kids. They worked hard all year long. We’ve never had a team here have a 12-win season. It couldn’t happen to a better group.” Ansonia picked up 11 wins last season.
Ansonia’s offense punted only once in the game and only two other possessions ended with no points and those were the possessions going into halftime and at the end of the game.
The Tiger’s began the game with a 69-yard drive that culminated with junior running back Zane Henderson taking it in from five-yards out and giving Ansonia a 6-0 lead. The extra point was no good.
On their next drive, the Tigers took it 77-yards down the field. With 9:32 remaining in the half, Keegen Weiss found the endzone on a one-yard run. The two-point conversion was good, and Ansonia was up 14-0.
Just under five minutes later, Weiss put up his second score of the night with a three-yard run. Weiss was given the ball for the two-point conversion and the Tigers were up 22-0 with 4:49 left in the half.
Mechanicsburg gave Ansonia great field position after going for it on fourth down on their own 47. The Tigers quickly found the endzone on a two-yard run. It gave Weiss his third touchdown on the night. The extra point was no good, but Ansonia was up 28-0.
The Indians were able to get on the scoreboard before the end of the half. With 43 seconds remaining, they got a two-yard touchdown run and faked a one-point attempt and got two. Mechanicsburg was down 28-8 at the half.
Ansonia’s defense stiffened up in the second half. With the Indians down three scores, they were able to drive to the Tiger six-yard line, but Ansonia was able to stop the Indians on fourth and goal and the Tigers were able to get the ball back.
Ansonia took the ball 94-yards while taking a lot of time off the clock. With 7:02 left in the game, Quarterback Nick Burns called his own number and took it 20 yards for the final score of the game. The extra point was not good, but the Tigers were poised to take the 34-8 victory.
Up next for Ansonia will be St. Henry. The Tigers and Redskins will play at a neutral site to announced next week.
To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].