NEW MADISON – It was a successful start to the football season for the Tri-Village Patriots who handled the visiting Jefferson Broncos by the score of 50-12.
Second year Tri-Village coach Robert Burk said his Patriots were ahead of where they were at this point last season despite having a lot of young freshman playing varsity football and he couldn’t have been more pleased with the win.
“The biggest positive tonight is we have a very young team and their first game out here we get a “W” and that’s the number one thing, winning is precious and a big deal, we don’t take that for granted ever, so that’s the number one positive thing we can take away from tonight’s game,” Burk said.
The Patriots defense would set-up the first score on the night when Cody Eyer recovered a fumble on the 20-yard line.
Senior running back Tyler Cheeseman then put them on the board with a 15-yard run to go up 6-0 at 11:03.
On Tri-Village’s next possession they faced a long fourth down, but freshman quarterback Layne Sarver tossed a pass out to the sidelines to senior Austin Bruner for a 22-yard scoring strike. Bruner ran in the two-point conversion to put the Pats up 14-0 with 5:38 in the first quarter.
Jefferson answered the bell as quarterback Coleman aired out a 39-yard ball to Thomas to cut the lead to 14-6 at 4:46 in the first quarter.
Tri-Village fumbled the ball at midfield on their next possession leaving the door wide open for Jefferson to get back into the game … but the very next play Bruner leaped high into the air to pull one away giving the Patriots the ball back at the 27-yard line.
It didn’t take long for the Sarver-Bruner duo to connect again. This time Bruner hauled in a pass at the 20-yard line, slipped a couple of tackles then high stepped into the end zone for a 57-yard touchdown.
The Patriots defense once again made a positive play forcing another Jefferson fumble recovered by senior Mason Sullenbarger on the 35-yard line setting-up the next score.
Sarver tossed a ball to Tylor Cheeseman in the flats and he made a move to elude one tackler and then dove across the goal line for the touchdown. Bruner ran in the two-point conversion to put Tri-Village up 30-6 with 4 seconds left in the first quarter.
Mason Lay stopped another Jefferson drive with an acrobatic play by diving in front of a receiver to pick-off Coleman’s pass just before hitting the turf to give the Patriot the ball back at the 41-yard line.
The Sarver-Bruner party continued this time on a 20-yard hook up as the Patriots went up 36-6.
Jefferson put together a nice drive looking to score before time ran out in the first half. Once again Tri-Village defense rose to the occasion, in particular Bruner who snared his second interception on the night and with no time on the clock raced down the sideline slipping a few tackles around midfield and going all the way for a 95-yard score. Bruner kicked the extra point to expand the lead to 43-6 at the break.
In all the Tri-Village defense forced five turnovers in the first half and scored on all five.
“I’m pretty happy where we are defensively,” Burk said. “We played fairly well against the run tonight. We are still having trouble finding the ball once it’s in the air, but overall we are more physical than we were last year where teams imposed their will on us, so we just need keep at it and get better each week. I was pleased with the turnovers we generated and how we took advantage of them tonight.”
It would be an exceptional first half for Bruner who had two interceptions including one for a score and five receptions for 139 yards and three touchdowns.
“Austin Bruner is the real deal and he showed it tonight,” Burk said. “We have been saving him and didn’t use him much in our scrimmages. Tonight, he showed what kind of impact he can have on the game with some big touchdown catches and a few interceptions including a big one at the end of the half then we cut him off in the second half.”
Jefferson came out in the second half and momentarily stopped the running clock when Lamarcus Phipps bulldozed his way up the middle for a 30-yard run to get the score differential under 35 at 43-12.
Sarver got that score back on a 5-yard quarterback keeper to answer the Broncos as TV went up 50-12 to put the continuous clock back in motion, which ended up being a good thing as things turned ugly on the extra-point attempt.
While kicking the extra point, a frustrated Jefferson player got a little overly physical with a Tri-Village player and some punches were thrown setting off a lot of pushing and shoving between both teams that was broken up by officials and a quick acting sheriff deputy to restore order.
One player from Jefferson was ejected and a player from Tri-Village was also ejected.
“One of their kids landed on ours and when our guy tried to get up he was pushed down again then started throwing punches while our guy was trying to protect himself by raising his arms to push him off,” Burk said. “I guess the OHSAA rule is you can’t put your arms or hand up, so now our guy is out next week, but I’m going to try and appeal after I check with our Athletic Director what that process is right now. I’m not very happy with the way that went. We felt like we played clean with good sportsmanship the whole game. I could see if both guys were standing up and going at it, but my guy was laying on his back and just trying to protect himself.”
The last quarter went by quickly with no additional flare-ups and the Patriots walked away triumphant with a 50-12 win.
“Last week we didn’t score at all in our scrimmage with Troy Christian and were starting a freshman quarterback Layne Sarver,” Burk said. “This week he came out and played really well in the first half. He made a few mistakes throwing the ball, one time when he should have kept it, then handing off the ball on a play-action where he should have rolled, but he also made big plays for us hitting on some touchdown passes as well.”
Sarver was 8-for-10 in the passing department for 210 total yards including four TD tosses and one rushing TD as well.
Defensively the Patriots got a fumble recovery from Drew Medaris and quarterback sacks from Dylan Finkbine, Mason Sullenbarger and Blake Brandenburg.
“Other positives; our passing game was good tonight, our offensive line was solid and we got better from last week and our run defense is doing pretty good right no, so overall I’m very excited about this team and the direction of this football program,” Burk said.