UNION CITY – It was not that long ago that the Blackhawks were struggling to eek out a win. This week the team came into the game against Twin Valley South with a 3-1 record and both teams fighting for position in the conference. What a difference a season makes for the Blackhawks. It was a hard fought battle, but South made some plays in the second half that would make the difference in the game as they would win 25-18.
It was homecoming night for Mississinawa Valley and they may have fed off of some of that emotion in their home stadium on the first drive. It took less than a minute to score their first touchdown. Will Hall plunged into the line and appeared to be stopped for a short gain, but he broke free on second effort and raced 62 yards for the score.
The Blackhawks had some good defensive stands in the first half, but the bigger line of South wore them down in the second half. They held back South on fourth and 11 and also fourth and 2 in the first half. But the next three fourth downs were converted by South. Also the team had a problem with penalties. Unofficially there were 11 for the Blackhawks and four for TVS. One defensive penalty kept a drive alive for South and lead to a score, while the offense was plagued with third and long situations for a good bit of the night.
Still it was a close ball game at the half. South scored late thanks to the aforementioned penalty that allowed their drive to continue. Isaac Clark scored on a 5-yard run. South got the ball back with about a minute left and tried to strike deep, but Cameron Shimp managed to bat the ball away and deny South. It was 7-6 in favor of South at the start of the second half.
In the second half, South seemed intent on pounding the ball inside the tackles while the Blackhawks mixed the run in with short, quick passes. South quarterback Cade Cottingim scored early in the half with a 54-yard TD run.
It was the Blackhawks turn to answer and using their passing game, they moved the ball down the field. Trent Collins connected with Blake Scholl on a 25-yard pass to cap the drive. That made the score 13-12 in favor of TVS.
Mississinawa Valley’s special teams had a mixed night. They blocked two extra-point attempts and got some good rolls on punts that made South start deep in their own territory, but that was partially negated on the next kickoff. South returned the kick for a touchdown to stretch out their lead again. It was 19-12 at this point.
South’s last score came from a grinding, clock-eating drive where they took about seven minutes off the clock and plunged across the goal line with about a minute left in the game. The Blackhawks rapidly moved the ball down the field after the kick off. Zach Connor had a nice catch to put the ball on the 11-yard line. A few plays later quarterback Trent Collins tucked the ball and ran it in for the score from the 6. The Blackhawks tried to do an onside kick, but South managed to cover the ball and then run out the clock for the 25-18 win.
“Hats off to Twin Valley South and their coaching staff – and their players,” Mississinawa Valley head coach Steve Trobridge said. “It was a good game. We just shot ourselves too many times in the foot. This is not the team that I know, that’s what hurts. We had too many mental mistakes on offense, that made for a frustrating night. We couldn’t keep our defense off the field, they won the battle for time of possession. Their line had to outweigh us by 50 pounds at each position so it was hard to hold them back. Trey Godfrey had a good night though and Cody Dirksen did a good job at middle linebacker. Max Dirmeyer and Will (Hall) played well too.”
Next week Mississinawa Valley makes a short trip to Ansonia to play the 3-2 Tigers. Both teams are playing for position in the league as well as a shot at the playoffs so expect another hard fought game.