By Drew Terhall
PIQUA — The second seed Ansonia Tigers are moving on to the Regional Finals in Division VII, Region 28 after a 20-13 win over St. Henry at Alexander Stadium in Piqua. The Tigers have now won 13 games this season.
Head coach Adam Hall said despite the roster turnover from last season into this one, this team has put in the time and work all offseason to be where they’re at.
“We knew coming back, we had some guys to replaced. But the way we worked in the offseason and the amount of seniors we have and the way they work and lead this team, I’m proud of them. I’m happy for them. I’m not surprised where we’re at,” Hall said.
It was scoreless after the first quarter. The offense for Ansonia couldn’t get going early, but were able to pin St. Henry deep in their own territory.
The defense made a few plays to back up the Redskins offense on their first possession. The second time, a punt by freshman Jacob Schmitmeyer pinned the Redskins down to their own 10-yard line.
Eventually, Ansonia won the field position battle and scored on a 19-yard touchdown pass from senior Nick Burns to junior Zane Henderson.
Midway through the second quarter, Ansonia was up 6-0.
During that drive, Ansonia was able to convert those third and fourth downs to keep the clock going and continue their drive.
After winding down the clock to 33 seconds left in the second half, senior Keegen Weiss scored a 13-yard touchdown run and was virtually untouched on his way to the endzone.
Weiss said it all starts with his offensive line on the scoring plays and on the scoring drives.
“That’s all credit to my guys up front. They’re opening everything for me,” Weiss said.
Hall said the team as a whole has bought into the offense and is successful even when most teams know what’s coming. Everybody does their job for the team to succeed.
Leaders, like Weiss, help set the tone with their work ethic during the offseason.
“I just think about January, six o’clock lifting everyday he’s (Weiss) there. When he’s playing baseball, he’s there. Great leader, great athlete. We wouldn’t be where we’re at without him,” Hall said.
The defense was holding off the St. Henry passing attack effectively during the night. They were able to pressure the quarterback and get a few sacks along the way.
The Redskins got tricky at the end of the third quarter as they scored on a 50-yard flea flicker play to close the gap, 12-7.
Ansonia didn’t flinch as they ran down the clock and senior Ethan Reichert scored on a three-yard run to go up 20-7.
Senior Garrett Stammen was out for this game after he injured his knee. His presence was missed, but his teammates stepped up in his absence.
Reichert was one of those players who filled in Stammen’s role on offense. He got his first carries of the season in this game. He was also an unstoppable force on the edge as he collected a few sacks in this game.
St. Henry did make the game interesting at the end as they drove down the field and scored a one-yard touchdown pass with 45 seconds left in the game.
Ansonia recovered the onside kick and bled out the clock to move on to the Regional Finals.
Burns said a win like this shows they can compete with a lot of schools, even those in a tough conference like the MAC.
“Everybody thinks we can’t beat a MAC team. This just goes to show we can do it. We can beat a MAC team,” Burns said.
The Tigers will have the best of the MAC waiting them next week as they take on the one seed Marion Local on Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. The site for the game will be announced on Sunday.
Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]