FORT LORAMIE – Watching Fort Loramie, Tri-Village coach Robert Burk saw the type of program he wants to build in New Madison. But there’s still a ways to go as Friday night showed.
Tri-Village traveled to Fort Loramie and lost 49-14 in a Cross County Conference football game. The Patriots scored all of their points in the second half after Loramie had removed its starters from the game.
“We knew they were really good,” Burk said. “Obviously we thought we were going to perform a little better, especially offensively. We’ve been able to score on some people. We didn’t think we were going to be able to run the ball – they’re big and physical – and we had two dropped passes on that first drive, and that kind of put us behind, and we never kind of got over that hump in the first half.”
Fort Loramie shut down Tri-Village’s offense, holding the Patriots to just 30 yards in the first half – 15 rushing and 15 passing. Tri-Village entered the game averaging more than 260 yards per game on the ground, but against Loramie Burk didn’t see many opportunities to run.
“We thought we needed to get (Jared Buckley) the ball in space,” Burk said. “And as you saw when we did run the ball tonight we had a lot of trouble at the line of scrimmage until the second half. Our offensive line has done phenomenal job all year, but we don’t have big brawlers that move people off the ball, and these guys were big and physical at the line and at linebacker. We felt like what we’ve been doing probably wasn’t going to get us what we needed to be.”
Tri-Village threw the ball on its first three plays, but a couple drops forced the Patriots to punt.
Fort Loramie’s first three plays all went for first downs, and the home team eventually scored on a 4-yard run by Mike Hoying to go up 6-0 after just three minutes of play.
Nathan Raterman intercepted a Tri-Village pass on the next drive, setting up a Fort Loramie touchdown drive that culminated with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Austin Siegel to Cody Barnhorst. With a two-point run by Hoying, Loramie led 14-0 midway through the first quarter.
“While we couldn’t really get off the field on defense, we definitely slowed them down a little bit and got in their way a few times,” Burk said. “Against Bethel it was a lot of long, long plays, and these guys we at least made them drive a little bit. It’s small, small wins.”
Pinned inside its own 10-yard line to start its next possession, Tri-Village wasn’t able to get anything going, which set up Fort Loramie with great field position. It took just three plays for Loramie to score with Hoying taking a handoff for a 2-yard touchdown run and a 20-0 lead.
Fort Loramie made it 28-0 before the first quarter ended with a 1-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion run, both by Hoying.
An interception by Carson Moore then gave Loramie possession near midfield. Five minutes into the second quarter Hoying ran for his fourth touchdown of the night, and Fort Loramie led 35-0.
Moments later an interception by Devin Wehrman led to a four-play drive that ended with a 26-yard run by Carter Mescher, making it 42-0.
After Fort Loramie scored touchdowns on its first six possessions, Tri-Village finally made a play late in the second quarter when Dylan Finkbine recovered a fumble – the first of two fumble recoveries for him on the night.
“That kid is a guy that we trust implicitly,” Burk said. “He’s a freshman. He’s played pretty much every snap for us this year on defense. I mean he’s 170 pounds, and he’s going up against these big boys, and he’s going to be a really good player in this league for about the next four years. We’re very high on him, and he’s very opportunistic in jumping on the football.”
With its backups in, Fort Loramie still continued to move the ball in the second half. The home team put together an 11-play drive to start the second half that ended with a 6-yard touchdown run by Blake Holthaus to make it 49-0.
Facing an insurmountable deficit, Tri-Village didn’t give up and finally got its offense moving in the third quarter. The Patriots covered 51 yards in five plays with quarterback Austin Bruner running 29 yards for a touchdown late in the quarter, making it 49-6 and ending Loramie’s hopes of a shutout.
Tri-Village got the ball back midway through the fourth quarter but went three-and-out. The Patriots caught a break, however, when Fort Loramie muffed the punt return and Finkbine fell on the loose ball.
That set up a 40-yard scoring drive that culminated in a 1-yard run by Buckley. He also caught a two-point conversion pass from Trey Frech to make it 49-14.
“I felt like we kept fighting the whole game,” Burk said. “We fought in the second half and got a couple scores on the board.”
Tri-Village unofficially finished the night with 122 total yards, 103 rushing and 19 passing.
Buckley led the way with 47 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Bruner had 43 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.
Fort Loramie had 416 total yards including 322 rushing yards and 94 passing yards.
Hoying ran 12 times for 84 yards and four touchdowns. Mescher had four carries for 31 yards and a touchdown. Holthaus had seven carries for 27 yards and a touchdown.
Siegel completed 3-of-7 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown. Barnhorst had 10 receiving yards and a touchdown while Mark Seger had 53 yards and Mescher had 31.
Tri-Village dropped to 3-5 overall and 2-4 in the CCC with Friday’s loss. Fort Loramie improved to 6-2 overall and 5-1 in the league.
“We don’t want to be these guys, but this this is the kind of program that we want to be,” Burk said. “They’ve got a lot of guys on the sidelines. They’re all dedicated in the weight room – you can tell that; you can tell that by the way they play. And that’s the challenge to our kids. It’s just a growing process for us right now.”
Tri-Village will return to action on Friday at Ansonia before concluding the regular season the following week with a home game against Arcanum.
“We’ve got two games that we feel like we’re going to go out and compete well in, and our seniors are jacked up to go play these next two,” Burk said.
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.