TROY – Ansonia made a statement on its first possession Friday at Troy Christian.
Engineered by senior quarterback Dane Wentworth, the Tigers drove 80 yards for a touchdown on 16 rushing plays. Wentworth culminated the eight-minute drive with a touchdown run.
Senior fullback Nick Buckingham, who paced the team with 114 yards on 27 carries, tallied the 2-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.
Undaunted, the host Eagles responded with a three-play, 60-yard drive capped by a 10-yard TD run by featured back Luke Dillahunt. An extra point by Seth Wynne cut the Tiger lead to 8-7.
It was the first of four TD runs by Dillahunt, who sparked the Eagles to a 36-16 victory.
After the second Tiger drive stalled, Wentworth punted the ball to the Eagle 23-yard line. Dillahunt, who gained 245 yards on 18 carries, rushed for a total of 44 yards on a scoring drive he capped with a 2-yard run and a 13-8 advantage.
Near the end of the second period, a long Tiger drive for the go-ahead score was thwarted by fumble recovery by the Eagles. It was the first of three Tiger fumbles.
“We were on own worst enemy tonight,” said Ansonia football coach Eugene Hoening, who has coached the team since 1980. “Too many mistakes.”
Trailing 13-8 at halftime, the Tigers defense had no answer to the Eagle running game.
Dillahunt rushed past the line of scrimmage on the first play in the third quarter and sprinted 64 yards for his third TD and a 21-8 advantage.
On their next offensive possession, Dillahunt added his fourth TD on an 80-yard run. A 2-point conversion gave the home team a 29-8 spread.
In the final period, Eagle quarterback Hayden Hartman connected with Jacob Brown for a 79-yard score and a 36-8 bulge. With the win, the Eagles keep their hopes alive in the Division VII Region 26 playoffs.
With four minutes remaining, Buckingham scored a Tiger TD on a run for the final score of the game.
The third senior on the Ansonia squad, Cody Burnfield, gained 104 yards on 21 carries. On defense, the only Tiger sack of the Eagle quarterback was credited to junior Trevor Beam.
The Tigers dropped to 1-5 overall and 1-4 in the Cross County Conference. Friday is Homecoming for Ansonia as the squad hosts league foe Arcanum.