ARCANUM – Ansonia set the tone early in a 38-0 win over Darke County and Cross County Conference rival Arcanum on Friday night.
The Tigers, now 2-1 overall, began their first possession on their own 9-yard line with 10:08 on the clock in the first quarter and drove 91 yards on eight plays – all of them runs – capped by a 53-yard touchdown run by Matthew Shook for a 7-0 lead. The rest of the game was much the same as Ansonia racked up 326 total rushing yards on 46 carries and four total touchdowns.
Though Shook was the leading rusher for the Tigers with 12 carries for 116 yards and two touchdowns, the running attack was a bit more balanced with multiple carries each for Devyn Sink, Brock Shellhaas, Reece Stammen and Hunter Buckingham. Shellhaas had 14 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown, while Sink carried the ball 12 times for 74 yards and a score. Stammen had 5 rushes for 13 yards, Buckingham added 2 yards on 2 carries and Ethan Fischer also had 1 touch for 10 yards.
“Devyn, Brock, Shook and Stammen all ran hard tonight,” Ansonia head coach Eugene Hoening said. “Coach (Matt) Macy did a super job preparing the offense. You can tell in our execution that our offense especially was prepared. It was just hard-nosed football and we kept bringing it to them.
“Our offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage and our backs ran hard,” he continued. “(Macy) does a good job of keeping fresh bodies in there. We were very balanced out of the back field and that’s the way we like it.”
While the offense was churning out yards and points, the Ansonia defense was just as effective. The Tigers held Arcanum to just 51 yards rushing total, and the most important stat of zero points on the scoreboard.
But the defense also played a little offense when Hunter Muir intercepted a pass and ran it back 20 yards for a touchdown putting the Tigers ahead 21-0 in the second quarter. It was his second interception of the game.
“I saw nothing but grass in front of me,” Muir said of his pick-6. “I didn’t want to get caught from behind again on the second interception. We knew what pass play they were going to run, so it was kind of just dropping to my spot and waiting for it to come.”
Michael Hall then added a 26-yard field goal near the end of the first half giving Ansonia a 24-0 lead at the break.
“This win feels great,” Muir said. “We had a really hard week of practice. Everyone stepped up. We had a couple players on the scout team step up too, and that really helped us get ready on both offense and defense. Being 2-1 sounds great. Now we’re going for 3-1.”
Hoening credited the defensive preparation as well.
“I want to commend Coach (Adam) Hall for getting the defense prepared,” Hoening said. “Anything they threw at us our guys were ready for. (Coach Hall) stresses to our outside linebackers about being in the right place at the right time. Hunter dropped accordingly and it paid off.
“It’s definitely nice to come back this week and get a win after losing last week,” he continued. “We’ll hopefully get some momentum going forward.”
Things feel just the opposite for Arcanum, which falls to 0-3 on the season.
“It was a beat down,” Arcanum coach Jason Schondelmyer said. “We didn’t rise up and we got hit in the mouth a lot tonight. Credit Ansonia. I mean they only have 25 guys, but their kids played hard. We need to find a little more physical toughness in our locker room. We really do because right now because they were able to run basically their entire offense and we are still struggling offensively.”
Ethin Hoffman was the leading rusher for the Trojans carrying the ball 6 times for 25 yards. Cory Ross was next with 24 yards on 11 carries. Nick Fry did complete a pair of passes, one each to Devin Keckler for 18 yards and to Ian Baker for 15 yards, but he was intercepted twice by Muir. In all, Arcanum turned the ball over three times and suffered under a running clock for most of the second half.
“We had a lot of turnovers and we had a lot of penalties,” Schondelmyer said. “There is just so much room for growth at this point and time. At the same time, we send the message that we have to get tougher and we have to get tired of having other teams celebrate on our field. We need some guys to step up and we need some leaders to step up. It was just one of those games where there is not much else you can say.”
Ansonia returns home next Friday for a battle with Bethel, while Arcanum hits the road to Bradford.
AN – Matthew Shook 53 run (Michael Hall kick)
AN – Brock Shellhaas 38 run (Hall kick)
AN – Hunter Muir 20-yard interception return (Hall kick)
AN – Hall 26-yard field goal
AN – Devyn Sink 1 run (Hall kick)
AN – Shook 3 run (Hall kick)
The Daily Advocate sports editor Skip Weaver can be reached at (937) 569-4316 or by email at email@example.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @skipweaver65.