ANSONIA – Thing looked promising for Ansonia at the start the game against visiting Twin Valley South on a beautiful night for football under the lights.
Ansonia held the Panthers to a three-and-out and took over on the 28-yard line to start its first drive of the night.
Nick Buckingham struck like lightning on his first two carries. The first he rattled off 12 yards and the second he went for 50 yards, and the Tigers were threatening to score on the TVS 10-yard line.
But the drive stalled as South stiffened on defense, turning back the Tigers’ threat to gain possession on downs.
Ansonia had South in a third-and-12 situation … but the Panthers’ kicker and quarterback Jacob Bassler saw an opening and raced around the outside of the rushing Tigers to gain a first down at midfield to keep the drive going.
Moments later Bassler aired a pass to a streaking Mike Meyers, who caught it in stride and raced 52 yards for the score to go up 7-0 at 5:35 in the opening quarter.
TV South was on the move again early in the second period when Bassler threw a 7-yard pass into the flats to Jared Cottingim for the score to go up 14-0.
Ansonia moved the football, taking time off the clock in a long sustained drive that once again stalled out in the red zone on the 9-yard line of South.
The Panthers went right back to work and got a score just before the end of the first half when Chad Ehler broke free on a 24-yard run for the score, giving South a 20-0 lead at the break.
South moved the ball methodically taking time off the clock on its first possession of the second half, which culminated in a 1-yard plunge from Sammy Shockey to put the Panthers up 27-0 at 5:54.
Ansonia moved the ball again … but it was like watching your favorite sitcom re-run over an over, as the Tigers would be stopped in the red zone on downs.
This time it was senior nose tackle Aaron Deaton getting through the double team and sacking quarterback Dane Wentworth to stop the drive.
“He was a handful tonight. We knew he was going to be tough, and we even double teamed him in the second half to try and slow him down,” Ansonia coach Eugene Hoening said.
Deaton would prove to be a thorn in the side of the Tigers all night long.
However, the Tigers persevered and finally struck pay dirt on a 9-yard run from Cody Burnfield to break the scoring drought to make it 27-6.
TV South wasted no time answering the bell as Troy Bowers received the kickoff on his 25-yard line and burst through the wedge, cutting it back to the outside and out-raced everyone to the end zone for a 75-yard kickoff return to get the score back and put the Panthers up 34-6.
“They have some athletes and they featured them. I was concerned about their speed, and they displayed it tonight,” Hoening said.
Ansonia would tack on one more score as Jarvis Twaits broke free for an 18-yarder and a Matthew Shook pass to Devyn Sink for the conversion made the final score 34-14 in favor of Twin Valley South.
“Tonight they controlled the line of scrimmage most of the game. We drove deep into their territory three times, and they turned us away. They played great defense tonight,” Hoening said.
“We got the trap working a little bit. If we were just a little better executing our offense tonight maybe it would have been a different game. We will get better we just have to keep working on execution,” Hoening said.
“This was a good win for us tonight,” Twin Valley South coach Tyler Cates said. “ Ansonia is such a hard-nosed football team, and I have tremendous respect for Coach Hoening … and I would love to have the kind of success he has had.”
Twin Valley South goes to 3-1 on the year and 2-0 in the conference and will host to Arcanum next.
Ansonia falls to 1-3 on the year and 0-3 in the Cross County Conference. The Tigers travel to National Trail next.
TVS: Mike Meyers 52-yard rec from Jacob Bassler (kick good)
TVS: Jared Cottingim 7-yard rec from Bassler (kick good)
TVS: Chad Ehler 24-yard run (kick no good)
TVS: Sammy Shockey 1-yard run (kick good)
ANS: Cody Burnfield 9-yard run (conversion no good)
TVS: Troy Bowers 75-yard kick return (kick good)
ANS: Jarvis Thwaits 18-yard run (2-point Matthew Shook pass to Devyn Sink)