NEW MADISON – It was a match-up between two 2-1 teams that on paper looked to be a good a game and the Daily Advocate “Game of the Week”. The game lived up to the hype with five lead changes, but in the end Mississinawa would walk away the winner 44-28 and a little respect.
Will Hall got the scoring started when he broke a tackle, shot through the gap and rumbled 72 yards on the second play of the game to jump out in from of the Patriots 6-0.
The Patriots calmly marched down field on their opening possession and Layne Sarver found a wide-open Zach Dowler for a 38-yard TD strike. Austin Bruner ran in the two-point conversion to put the Patriots out in front 8-6 at 8:38.
Mississinawa fumbled the ball in their territory and Cody Eyer recovered for Tri-Village on the 35-yard line and the opportunistic Patriots wasted little time to take advantage as the Sarver-Dowler duo connected for again, this time 22-yards at 5:57 and the Patriots led 14-6 after one quarter of play.
Trent Collins scored on a 35-yard run around the left end to answer pulling the ‘Hawks within two, trailing 14-12 at 7:29 in the second quarter.
Tri-Village fumbled the football and it was recovered by Zeb Hannah giving Mississinawa great field position. A few plays later, Hall broke some tackles and went 23 yards for the touchdown. Josh Fett scored the two-point conversion to put the ‘Hawks on top 20-14 with 2:39 to play in the half.
Mississinawa tried an onside kick and after much confusion the Patriots had possession and then two penalties later the Patriots were sitting on the 23-yard line.
After two straight holding penalties the Patriots got it going in the right direction. Sarver hit Bruner over the middle who then made a great cutback and outraced the defense to the end zone for a 32-yard score. Bruner added the two-point conversion and TV led again 22-20 with 1:40 to play in the half.
Tri-Village stopped the ‘Hawks on the next possession and was looking to try and add to its lead at the half, but Zach Connor picked off a pass giving MV the ball back with 18 seconds.
Mississinawa took advantage with Collins finding Hall on a middle screen and he went 30 yards moving the football to the 18-yard line with 2.8 seconds left in the half. The very next play, Collins found Dylan McGhee in the back of the end zone with no time left for an 18-yard strike to give the ‘Hawks big momentum at the break leading 26-22.
Tri-Village stripped Hall of the football early in the third quarter, but the gift was given back as Trey Godfrey intercepted a pass and returned the ball to the 18-yard line setting up another ‘Hawks score. Collins on the keeper went in from 9 yards out and at 8:05 MV was up 32-22.
Tri-Village looked like they were going to stall on their next drive facing a very long third down. Sarver aired one out and freshman Josh Scantland pulled it in for a 30-yard gain to keep a key drive alive for TV. Moments later, Sarver connected with Derek Eyer out of the backfield in the seam over the middle and he took it to the rest of the way for a 35-yard score and the Patriots closed the gap to 32-28 at 6:18 in the third quarter.
Mississinawa Valley drove the ball down field with Collins chewing up yards on the ground and taking 5 minutes off the clock. He then connected with Trent Mote for a 3-yard score to extend the lead to 38-28.
Tri-Village put together a nice drive of their own taking a lot time off the clock, but it stalled out at the 20-yard line.
The Patriots were unable to stop the ‘Hawks who took it 80 yards capped off by Hall on a 13-yard run at 1:47 in the fourth quarter for the final score of the game and a 44-28 win.
The win gives Mississinawa Valley its first 2-0 start in the Cross County Conference going all the way back to when Curtis Enis played back in the early 90’s and the first 3-1 start since the 2009 team.
“This was an ugly game and I didn’t think the calls were going our way at times,” Mississinawa coach Steven Trobridge said. “We feel like it’s us against the world, but our guys stuck with it. We preach, ‘Don’t tuck your tails, keep competing no matter what happens.’ This senior class stepped up to make sure everyone is committed and giving 100 percent.”
“Tonight, was about respect. We want to earn that respect and have others respect us. That was our goal coming in and I think we accomplished that,” he added.
Collins, who threw for a single-game record 6 TD’s the week before threw just two Friday night and was 8-for-23 and 103 yards. The senior signal caller showed he has more weapons then just his arm rushing the ball 14 times for 195 yards and 2 more scores with his legs.
Hall rushed 13 times for 191 yards and 3 TD’s and the team had a total of 396 yards rushing.
Hall also had 2 catches for 45 yards, Blake Scholl 1 reception for 11 yards, McGhee 1 for 18 yards and a TD, Zach Connor 1 for 9 yards and Kyler Mote 1 for 2 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively the ’Hawks were led by Max Dirmeyer with 17 tackles.
“I’m very proud of defense,” Trobridge said. “We had a lot of players in on tackles … 5 players had 10-plus tackles and 6 players had 5-plus tackles. We were flowing to the ball and playing through every whistle. None of our guys took a play off.”
Tri-Village was led by Sarver on 19-of-33 passing, 215 yard and 4 TD’s along with 66 yards rushing. Bruner had 107 receiving yards and 1 TD catch and 69 yards rushing. Eyer had 69 yards rushing 1 TD and Dowler 2 TD receptions.
It was a game Tri-Village coach Robert Burk knew his team didn’t play at their best, but they are hungry to get back to work to improve.
“Hat’s off to the Mississinawa Valley coaches and players, they came ready to play, played hard and made the plays they needed to make and were much improved from last year,” Burk said. “In the first half we had a lot of opportunities, we didn’t capitalize on a couple of red-zone opportunities, fumbled the ball, threw a couple interceptions and then had some very big penalties and that kind of changed the game.
“We really are struggling on defense and not tackling well and that’s on me as a coach,” he continued. “We are going to go back and work on that and keep getting better. We have to improve and put a better product out on the field. We have great kids but were not quite playing the way I think we can play, and it wasn’t our best game.
“The number of penalties called in this game was astronomical. Some of them helped us and some helped them, but most of them killed our drives and took away our momentum. It was hard to get a flow or rhythm going in the game. But we have to clean that up. If we would have played better we wouldn’t even be talking about it. If we played better team defense and score the ball when we have opportunities it’s a different game,” Burke concluded.
Tri-Village falls to 2-2 on the year and 0-2 in the conference with the loss. The Patriots will host National Trail Friday night for their homecoming.
Mississinawa Valley improves to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the conference and will host Twin Valley South on Friday night for its homecoming.