ANSONIA – Five Tigers ran for touchdowns Friday night as the Ansonia football team recorded a 40-7 Homecoming victory over Cross County Conference foe National Trail.
Ansonia tallied 382 rushing yards in Friday’s game with Hunter Buckingham, Aydan Sanders, Cody Sanders, Devyn Sink and Jarvis Thwaits each reaching the end zone.
“I think it was the difference in the ballgame,” Ansonia football coach Eugene Hoening said of his team’s running game. “Coach (Matt) Macy rotated the backs in, kept them fresh. The boys executed the offense well, and that’s the result.”
Ansonia was in control through most of the game with the Tigers unofficially racking up 451 yards of total offense while limiting National Trail to 247 yards.
It took a while though for either team to get going Friday night. National Trail turned the ball over on downs after falling inches short on a fourth down play during the game’s opening possession. Ansonia then fumbled on a fourth-and-inches play on its first drive. The next three possessions all ended in punts, leaving the game scoreless through one quarter.
But early in the second quarter Ansonia finally broke through with Thwaits taking a handoff 3 yards for a touchdown to put the Tigers up 7-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, Sink recovered an onside kick in National Trail territory to set up a 49-yard touchdown drive that culminated in a 1-yard touchdown run by Thwaits to make it 14-0.
National Trail responded with its lone scoring drive of the night as Evynn Short connected with Angel Garabito for a 72-yard touchdown pass, cutting Ansonia’s lead to 14-7 with just over four minutes remaining in the first half.
“They got us on a wheel, but other than that we kept the ball in front of them,” Hoening said. “And that’s one thing we were afraid of – their ability to throw the long ball because if you look at the Arcanum game and some of the other games we looked at that was their forte, getting the long ball, making the big play.”
Ansonia went into halftime up 21-7 as Buckingham scrambled for a 21-yard touchdown run with less than 30 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Ansonia extended its lead further by taking the first possession of the second half into the end zone. This time Sink scored from 24 yards out. The extra point was blocked, leaving the score at 27-7.
With a 62-yard run from Peyton Lane, National Trail drove into the red zone on its next possession but stalled at the Ansonia 6-yard line and turned the ball over on downs.
That set up a 94-yard scoring drive for the Tigers with Cody Sanders running for an 11-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion was no good, making it a 33-7 game early in the fourth quarter.
“Usually high school teams, they goof up before they get there, but we got it,” Hoening said of his team driving 94 yards for a touchdown.
Ansonia scored the game’s final points with just over five minutes remaining. Aydan Sanders ran 3 yards for the touchdown to put the Tigers up 40-7.
Sink led Ansonia with 104 rushing yards and a touchdown on 11 carries Friday night. Thwaits had 66 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. Aydan Sanders ran the ball 12 times for 60 yards and a touchdown.
Cody Sanders had seven carries for 38 yards and a score. Buckingham ran six times for 20 yards and a touchdown. Brock Shellhaas had eight carries for 77 yards.
Buckingham completed 3-of-7 passes for 45 yards. Hunter Muir caught a 27-yard pass, and Sink caught two passes, including a 17-yarder. Aydan Sanders caught a 24-yard pass from Cody Sanders.
Lane led National Trail with 113 yards on eight carries, which included runs of 62 and 43 yards. Jacob Heck ran nine times for 22 yards.
Short was 5-of-13 passing for 108 yards and a touchdown. Garabito had three catches for 76 yards and a touchdown.
National Trail fell to 2-5 overall and 1-4 in the CCC with Friday’s loss while Ansonia improved to 3-4 overall and 3-2 in the conference. Ansonia, which has won its last two games, will travel to face Twin Valley South (3-4 overall, 3-2 CCC) on Friday.
“I would like to think we’re still improving,” Hoening said. “Some days in practice I have to wonder, though.”
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.