NEW MADISON – A large crowd was on hand Friday night to welcome home Clayton Murphy, who was introduced prior to Tri-Village’s football game vs. Gamble Montessori.
Murphy, who is used to running from behind and finishing with a strong kick, witnessed the Tri-Village football team trying to emulate his finish, only the Patriots came up short as they stalled on their last possession with less than a minute to go and lost 34-28.
“It’s been two weeks in a row for us and two heartbreaking losses,” Tri-Village coach Jason Schondelmyer said. “We were right there, and we just can’t quite get it done. I think it’s more about us than it is the other team. We self-destruct at times and hurt us more than what the other team does to us.”
Tri-Village opened the game by moving the ball to midfield, but an errant pass was intercepted by Montessori, who took it 50 yards the other direction for the first score and with the two-point conversion grabbed an early 8-0 lead.
The Patriots responded on their second possession when Austin Bruner returned the kickoff 45 yards, putting them in good field position. A few plays later Jonny Wilson took in the quarterback keeper from 1 yard out to answer and then tossed the a two-point conversion pass to Gavin Richards to tie it up 8-8.
Early in the second quarter Jared Buckley busted one up the middle, broke a tackle and then raced 70 yards all the way to the 14-yard line, putting the PATS back in business. Buckley then got the call again and ran it in from 9 yards out. The conversion was no good, but TV grabbed a 14-8 lead.
Tri-Village fumbled the ball late midway through the second quarter, and Gamble Montessori took advantage by throwing a 37-yard touchdown pass and with the conversion went up 16-14.
Gamble Montessori scored again with just under a minute in the first half as the Gators burned Tri-Village’s defense on two long passes, moving nearly 80 yards in just a few plays to score before the end of the half to lead 22-14.
They say games are won on how you finish and half and start a half, and that would play out as Montessori took the first play from scrimmage 80 yards for a quick score to start the second half going up 28-14, and Tri-Village would play from behind the rest of the way.
Tri-Village managed to move the football and stopped inside the red zone not once but twice on two different drives and time dwindling away.
The third time was a charm for TV as Wilson tossed a 9-yard pass in the corner of the end-zone with Noah Burns making a diving catch. Wilson then passed to Christian Ricker for the conversion and the PATS were mounting a comeback with 5:23 to go down 28-22.
Tri-Village’s defense, however, couldn’t stop Kenny Jones as the speedy back burst through the middle of the line and went untouched 63 yards to put Gamble Montessori two scores in front again at 4:21, 34-22.
“We can’t tackle high and get the job done. No. 25 (Kenny Jones) is a great runner and has a lot of speed. They have a lot of speed over there, and when we were trying to tackle high, we weren’t able to get it done,” a frustrated Schondelmyer said.
Tri-Village, though, didn’t quit as the Patriots moved the ball downfield as Wilson scrambled for a long gain. They he connected with Ricker for a long gain but brought down on the 1-yard line.
But the PATS would finish on another QB keeper but failed on the conversion, trailing 34-28.
With just about a minute left to play Tri-Village went with the onside kick and with the field a muddy wet mess the Patriots were able to recover the ball to try and set-up a dramatic come-from-behind win.
Only on this night there would be no dramatic finish as the drive would fall short and Gamble Montessori ran out the clock to preserve the 34-28 victory, spoiling the Clayton Murphy Homecoming.
“I’m just disappointed that we couldn’t finish this one with a win,” Schondelmyer said.
“We missed some great opportunities late in the game with the passes when we had the chance. We’ve done that the last couple of weeks, and I don’t know if it’s the lack of experience or if it’s a confidence thing, and that’s one of the things we’ve been harping on. We’ve got to make those plays in those situations,” Schondelmyer added.
“We are better than this and we know it. We don’t have that football IQ yet. We miss that senior leadership in certain situations, and those are the things that will come with time. We’re asking our kids to hurry up fast and figure it out fast, our backs are against the wall especially If we are want to go 5-5 in our first varsity season.”
“Some people think our expectations are too high, but you wouldn’t want it any other way. I want our kids to learn to win now and be successful now. This is not where we thought we would be at this point. Our work is cut out for us. We’re at the bottom of that mountain looking up so we’ve got some work to do and it has to start next week,” Schondelmyer concluded.
Tri-Village fell to 2-4 and will host Dohn Community Friday while also celebrating Homecoming and School Fair.