CAMDEN – The Tri-Village Patriots ran into their toughest opponent yet in their inaugural season.
Preble Shawnee has been a juggernaut to start the season. The Arrowheads steam rolled in their first two games 50-0 and 34-0, and next up was Tri-Village, who had won its first game decisively but had stumbled in the next game, losing 18-6.
In addition, Shawnee is a larger Division V school while Tri-Village is Division VII so the Patriots were playing up two divisions. Shawnee had too much experience and too much talent for the first-year varsity Patriots, winning by a margin of 48-7.
The Patriots did not help their cause as they made it easy for Shawnee in the early going. Their first series set the tone for the night.
A sure first down catch was called back for an illegal block. The Patriots could not convert on third and long and on the ensuing possession Shawnee scored on a short field.
On Tri-Village’s next possession a first down catch was fumbled and recovered by Shawnee, and again the Arrows converted that into a touchdown.
So Shawnee was definitely the better team, but Patriot mistakes made it easy for Shawnee as the Patriots had six turnovers. Austin Moore did the hat trick for the Arrows with three interceptions.
Despite all of this the Patriots were gamers and did get to the red zone twice in the game. In the second quarter the Patriots put together a respectful drive and thanks to a 52-yard catch by Austin Bruner of a Jonny Wilson pass. They were threatening on the 9-yard line, but a pick-six by Shawnee ended this promising drive.
But the second trip in the second half finally hit pay dirt for the team. Trey Frech was in at quarterback, and on a keeper around the end he ran into a sea of black jerseys. But he reversed field and raced to the 2-yard line where he was caught from behind. A few plays later he called his own number and plunged across the goal line to end Shawnee’s string of shutouts. So this was something positive that the Patriots could take away from the game.
This was the first game against a tough opponent for the Patriots.
“After the game we talked about where we are at,” Tri-Village football coach Jason Schondelmyer said. “This was a big stage for us. Preble Shawnee is a really good team. These guys are playing football for the first time. We are a ways from being at their level. It’s a fork in the road for these guys. Do you just accept that? Do you just go on and accept being at this level? Or do you grind it out and say, hey, we are going to get better.
“We are not using that as an excuse,” Schondelmyer said, “just because we are a new team that we are not going to be successful. That is not acceptable. That was our message to the guys – that we will get better from here.”
The Patriots will return home Friday where they will host Riverside Academy. The Patriots had a few players on the sidelines who were dinged up. So getting healthy by Friday will be job one for the team.