NEW MADISON – The Battleground of the basketball courts turned into the battlefield of Patriot pandemonium as Tri-Village hosted the Preble Shawnee Arrows of Preble County in a junior varsity football scrimmage Friday.
This lid-lifter played Friday night at Patriot Stadium was the first high school football game ever for Tri-Village. The Patriots will open up regular season play Aug. 29 against the Bethel Bees.
Tri-Village suited up 21 strong with three players being injured. There are no seniors on the squad due to the two-year junior varsity program status. However, there was no JV-like atmosphere as more than 500 people filled the bleachers as the grill was cooking and the cow bells were ringing to welcome the Patriots onto the field.
“With the Patriot Stadium next to the cemetery, you could call this stadium now ‘the graveyard’ as fans are dying for football action,” Tri-Village coach Jason Schondelmyer said jokingly.
The Patriots were decked out in their traditional red, white and blue colors and led onto the field by veteran Coach Schondelmyer, lately of the University of Dayton staff. Schondelmyer is ably assisted by Dave King, Corey Zickefoose, Dale Ary and Tracey Brown. The trainer is Jared Rush, who hopefully won’t have to rush the field to take care of many injuries this year.
The Patriots brought out onto the field six juniors with William Blanken playing fullback and linebacker, and Johnny Wilson manning the quarterback and safety positions. Grant Flory was next on the roster and listed as offensive guard and defensive line along with classmate Josh Wilford splitting out to be a split end and center on the other side of the ball. Charlie Bailey will be bailing out the running backs and quarterback as an offensive guard while on defense he will man the middle as a linebacker. Last up on the junior listing is Nicholas Napier, who will be an offensive guard and defensive lineman.
The sophomores, which is the biggest class for the Patriots, includes nine 10th graders led by Trevor Mote at offensive guard and defensive line. Dalton Stephens will lug the pigskin at running back and play deep as the defensive back. Jared Buckley will mash it up the middle at fullback and run stuffing at linebacker Ultra quick Noah Burns will slice through the line at running back and pounding runners at linebacker. Jackson Plush will not have a plush job as he will man the center position and also be on the defensive line. Dillon Ballard will be split out at split end and on the opposite side of the ball will slam heads at linebacker.
Dagen White will be a tackle on the offensive side and defensively will be on the line. Trey Freck will launch the ball at quarterback and be a center on the defensive set. Last but certainly not least will be split end Christian Rickes and he flips over to defense will protect everyone’s backside at safety.
Six freshmen make up the last group of players for Schondelmyer’s crew being led by
Austin Bruner listed at running back and center on defense. Mason Sullenbarger will man the trenches at tackle while on the defensive end stopping the sweeps. Elijah Driver will concentrate on driving the defenders back at center while a defensive lineman on the other side of the ball. Derek Eyer will eye the ball at split end while run stuffing at center on defense.
Mason Coby will split his efforts at split end and defensive back while Dillon Callihan will be another split end and defensive back.
The game itself started with 10 plays apiece for each team, which ended up being several sessions worth. Preble Shawnee scored first on its 12th play with a 15-yard pass reception for a touchdown with no P.A.T. attempted.
Tri-Village’s first 10 plays were highlighted by a 15-yard run by Noah Burns and a pass to Burns for another 13 yards. Two passes fell incomplete in the end zone for the Patriots.
The second 10 plays for the Pats were an aerial circus with several passes attempted but no points on the brightly lit scoreboard.
However, all that changed in the blink of a New Madison minute as Noah Burns picked off an errant pass for a 25-yard jaunt to pay dirt for a 6-6 tie. This was a record setter as this was the first football points ever scored by the Patriots.
Preble Shawnee ignited on its last five plays of action before down and distance by gaining 30 yards off tackle and then throwing a TD pass that was tipped at the 5 and caught on the fly for a 12-6 count.
Tri-Village came right back with quarterback Johnny Wilson taking it 20 yards on an option run to make it 12-12. However, Preble Shawnee would not be denied and scored before the scrimmage ended to make it 18-12 in favor of the Arrows.
“That for the first time out we were not too bad as we were going at it full speed while looking for alignment and effort,” Coach Schondelmyer said. “We are testing the waters by getting into full contact and hitting. We now have 16 kids in the junior high program and hope to have a lot more in the upcoming years. We are looking forward to our next scrimmage over at Twin Valley South on Tuesday.”
Athletic Director Brad Gray expounded afterwards, “We have a nine-game JV schedule with seven at home. Three of these will be on Saturday night under the lights and the others will be Saturday at 10 a.m. We are looking forward to a great JV season, and the fans are already excited about the upcoming schedule. The weight room, concession stands and press box are already under construction and hope to have them in place in the very near future. We will have much more seating once the Darke County Fair is over as they are donating to us their bleachers.”