GASTON, Ind. – Tri-Village didn’t match Wes-Del’s physicality, especially in the first half, leading to an 18-6 loss for the Patriots.
Wes-Del came out Friday night and controlled the tempo of the game right away. The Warriors ran 34 offensive plays in the first half while the Patriots only ran 13.
That early control helped Wes-Del build a 12-0 first half lead, which ended up being the Warriors’ margin of victory.
“We’ve got a ways to go to be a physical football team,” Tri-Village football coach Jason Schondelmyer said. “I don’t know. We’re not learning that fast enough in my opinion because that’s part of the game. Right now we’ve just got to do a better job. Offensively we’re letting people hit us, and we’re not responding very well. And defensively as well. We’ve got a long ways to go. We’ve got to improve on just the physicality of the game.”
It didn’t take long for Wes-Del to establish its offense as the Warriors scored on their opening drive. They went 63 yards on 10 plays with Jake Redwine scoring on a 5-yard touchdown run to put Wes-Del up 6-0 midway through the first quarter.
After a three and out by Tri-Village, Wes-Del kept rolling and went 74 yards on seven plays with Redwine running 22 yards for a touchdown, his second of the night. After the Warriors again failed to convert the two-point conversion, they led 12-0 with 1:48 remaining in the first quarter.
“When they’re playing a run-oriented game like that where they eat at the clock, you’ve got to get a stop,” Schondelmyer said. “You can’t allow them to keep moving the chains, moving the chains and eating at the clock. That happened tonight for us. We just missed so many tackles. We stop our feet on contact. There’s a lot of things that we’re just really inexperienced, but that’s not an excuse. You can preach it until you’re blue in the face. They’ve got to realize that this is a physical game, and in order to win and compete you’ve got to play physical football.”
Tri-Village was able to hold Wes-Del scoreless the rest of the half, but the Patriot offense couldn’t get anything going. The Patriots managed only one first down in the first two quarters and found themselves down by 12 points at halftime.
In the second half things started to turn around for Tri-Village. The Patriots took their first possession of the third quarter all the way down to the Warriors’ 10-yard line before the drive stalled.
Then after forcing Wes-Del to turn the ball over on downs, Tri-Village had its second turnover of the game via an interception. The Warriors returned the interception all the way to the Tri-Village 20, setting up a four-play touchdown drive with Mason Whitted connecting with Kyle Dosch for a 15-yard touchdown pass and an 18-0 Wes-Del lead.
Tri-Village quickly responded, though, and scored on the second play of its next drive. Trey Frech, who started at quarterback in place of an injured Jonny Wilson, found Gavin Richards for a 43-yard touchdown pass to get the Patriots on the scoreboard and cut their deficit to 18-6 with 2:37 left in the third quarter.
“Some guys stepped up as the game went on and in the fourth quarter,” Schondelmyer said. “But we’ve just got to get better.”
Tri-Village continued to play much better in the second half, running 25 offensive plays to Wes-Del’s 26, but couldn’t put up any more points as they lost 18-6.
Wes-Del outgained Tri-Village with 355 total yards compared to the Patriots’ 197. Wes-Del had 250 rushing yards and 105 passing yards while Tri-Village had 138 passing yards and 59 rushing yards.
Frech was 8-of-18 passing for 138 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for Tri-Village.
Richards was the leading receiver, catching five passes for 90 yards and a touchdown. Noah Burns caught two passes for 32 yards, and Austin Bruner caught one pass for 16 yards.
Jared Buckley led Tri-Village with 52 rushing yards on 13 carries. Bruner had 21 yards on three carries. Frech had -14 yards on four carries, which included sacks on the final two plays of the game.
Wes-Del’s Whitted was 5-of-12 passing for 105 yards and a touchdown. Tyler Rector caught two passes for 37 yards, Calvin Carmin caught one for 27 yards, Cade Ashley caught one for 26 yards, and Dosch caught one for 15 yards and a touchdown.
Redwine ran 14 times for 58 yards and two touchdowns. Connor Townsend ran 11 times for 75 yards. Rector carried the ball 10 times for 64 yards. Dylan Torbush had 48 yards on five carries.
Wes-Del improved to 3-0 with Friday’s victory while Tri-Village fell to 1-1 – its first loss in its inaugural season of varsity football.
Tri-Village will return to action on Friday with another road game at Preble Shawnee, who is 2-0 with a 50-0 win against National Trail and a 34-0 win against Twin Valley South.
“We’ve got a huge challenge next week with Preble Shawnee,” Schondelmyer said. “So for us we’ve got to grind. It’s a long season. Hopefully they bounce back and understand and start doing some of those little things we’re talking about.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.