ANSONIA – It was senior night for nine football players and three cheerleaders in Ansonia, and the Tigers made the most of it, pouncing on Tri-Village early and often to a convincing 63-14 win to keep their postseason hopes alive.
Things went bad for Tri-Village on its first possession, and it was a sign of how the night was going to go. After picking up a 9-yard gain on the first possession the Patriots had two straight penalties and a couple of negative plays, forcing a punt that was partially tipped to give the Tigers the ball at the Patriots’ 45-yard line.
Ansonia wasted little time capitalizing as the Tigers handed the ball to Cody Sanders three straight times, one a 35-yard gainer and the final one a 7-yard touchdown run. Michael Hall boomed the extra point; he would go perfect on the night in that department, converting on all seven of his tries.
Ansonia’s second possession was all Jarvis Thwaits who burst up the middle for 47 yards, putting the Tigers in Patriot territory.
Thwaits followed up later with a 21-yard rush for a score at 5:07 to go up 14-0.
On Tri-Village’s third possession the Patriots went for it on fourth down to try and get the offense going … but the Tigers stopped them short and took over on downs.
Devyn Sink got the nod and scored from 6 yards out as Ansonia increased the lead to 21-0 ending the first quarter. Sink added a 5-yard TD run midway through the second quarter to go up 28-0.
Ansonia proved it was human, failing to score on its fifth possession as the Tigers fumbled the ball at midfield and it was recovered by Tri-Village’s Dylan Finkbine
The Patriots turned the ball over on downs only this time in Tiger territory.
Max Wardrip busted one up the middle for 67 yards but was caught from behind on the 3-yard line … but he was rewarded with the next carry and made good on the score as Ansonia led 35-0.
Moments later Ansonia scooped up a loose ball and turned it into a score to go up 42-0.
The Tigers were looking to add their lead near the end of the first half … but Austin Bruner intercepted the pass around the 5-yard line and then eluded a few tacklers, running the other way for 90 yards before Sink tracked him down and got a hand on his foot around the 3-yard line to save the touchdown with 3.5 second to go in the half.
It was enough time for the Patriots to get off one more play, and they would make good on it as Jared Buckley faked a rush up the middle and then completed a jump pass to Trey Frech for the score. Bruner’s pass to Buckley was good for a two-point conversion, and the Patriots went into the half trailing 42-8.
There would be no dramatic comeback for Tri-Village in the second half as the Tigers were all business.
Sink ripped off a 38-yard score to start the second half, and Aydan Sanders followed up with an 8-yard run as the Tigers increased their lead to 56-8.
Freshman Reece Stammen capped the Tiger scoring with a 4-yarder in the fourth to go up 63-8.
Just like the first half Tri-Village scored on the very last play of the game on a 15-yard run from Noah Burns to complete the scoring in the game at 63-14.
“Our kids were fired up tonight,” longtime Ansonia coach Eugene Hoening said. “They came out and played with urgency and intensity from the start and all the way ’til the end.
“We executed extremely well. Wur kids played through the whistle on every down tonight,” Hoening said.
“Coach (Matt) Macy reps our offense constantly. Whenever we have extra time in practice he’s repping extra plays and drilling these guys over and over again. Sometimes the boys get tired of it, but this is when is pays off … it comes back to execution,” Hoening said.
“You have to hand it to our assistant coaches, too. Our offensive line coach (Adam) Hall had those guys up front executing well. Coaches (Stuart) Beisner and (TJ) Phlipot also have done a tremendous job of getting these guys ready on Friday night,” Hoening added.
Coming into Friday’s game the Tigers were sitting in the ninth spot just behind Miami Valley Christian, who lost Friday night in the Division VII Region 28 playoff standings. The top eight teams after 10 weeks qualify for the Ohio High School Athletic Association state playoffs.
Ansonia was aware of that and although the Tigers have no chance at a league title they were playing for a winning season and a chance for a postseason game as well.
“Having an outside shot at the playoffs has been an incentive not only for our seniors but the entire team. We knew coming in here tonight we had to have this game first to have a chance at a game in week 11,” Hoening concluded.
Ansonia now stands at 5-4 overall and 5-2 in the Cross County Conference and will travel to take on winless Bradford on Friday to finish out the regular season.
Tri-Village fell to 3-6 overall and 2-5 in the CCC and finishes the season on Friday in what will be an emotional senior night and home game against Arcanum.