WEST ALEXANDRIA – After watching a winless Arcanum team dismantle Twin Valley South last week, Mississinawa Valley was hoping to repeat that performance and get its first win of the season.
But a resolved South team took it to the Blackhawks and quickly put any hopes of an upset to rest.
When you run a spread offense and have to start a young team, a slick field is not something that you want to deal with. Turnovers would be a major factor on the night.
The Panthers have a decent running game, and they used that to keep the Blackhawk offense on the sidelines. They were able to grind out yardage in the teeth of the Blackhawk defense and churn out a 45-14 win.
With only six seniors and one of those being out Friday night, the Blackhawks are a young team. They had to start a sophomore at quarterback – you could tell that it was going to be a long night when their first play from scrimmage was an interception. And they had a lackluster first quarter – with five minutes left in that quarter Mississinawa Valley had only ran the one play.
But instead of tucking their tails, the Blackhawks fought back in the second quarter. Will Hall helped set things up when South muffed a punt on the wet field, and he covered the ball.
Andrew Johns caught a Trent Collins touchdown pass to put the Blackhawks on the board. They then executed an onside kick to perfection when Trent Perkins fell on the ball.
But turnovers would be the bane of the team with six in all on the damp night. An interception ended this drive. So MV was not able to capitalize on the fumble and any hopes of a comeback faded quickly.
The Blackhawks had another drive go to the Panthers 35, but they could not stand good fortune and a muffed snap put the ball back to midfield where they had to punt on fourth and 22.
The Blackhawks did find the end zone one last time. Starting at their own 34, they drove the field for a touchdown. Dilyn Rammel set up the score when he caught a Collins pass to the 4-yard line and ran it in from there for the score on the next play.
“We spotted them too many points early to have any hope of a real comeback,” Mississinawa Valley football coach Mike Griffin said. “Our defense needs to tackle better and be tougher up front. On offense we need to block better and run better routes. We have a young team, and it seems like on every play we have one, two or even three people that are not on the same page – and those mistakes hurt. We had to start Collins, who is a sophomore but has not played since junior high – so he is basically a freshman. He is coming around, though. He made some really good throws and then some that were off. But that is part of the learning curve with a young quarterback.”
“I know that they are very good up front with both their offensive and defensive lines,” Griffin said of National Trail, MV’s next opponent. “I know the junior and seniors because I was there when they were freshmen. We are going to have our hands full with them. They have something we don’t, which is size. We have to step up and play hard to overcome that.”