ANSONIA – It was an emotional backyard rivalry game between Ansonia and Mississinawa Valley and the Tigers set the tone early jumping out to a first quarter lead 21-0, a margin big enough to hold up the rest of the way as Ansonia earned a 56-36 win over the Blackhawks.
It was a game that featured contrasting styles with Ansonia playing power football and Mississinawa spreading it out and passing the ball.
The Tigers were successful lining up in a power formation and running the ball early that resulted in three first quarter touchdowns.
Ansonia’s first drive started after Hunter Buckingham intercepted an MV pass and it took them just six plays to reach the end zone. Reece Stammen took it in from 6 yards as the front line opened up a huge hole for the score.
A mishandled snap on the second ‘Hawks possession resulted in a fumble recovered by Ross Shook and the Tigers were in business again with a short field. They scored quickly with senior Matthew Shook taking in a 1-yarder to go up 14-0.
Mississinawa punted their third possession and after a long sustained drive highlighted by a great catch from Hunter Muir for 20 yards to keep the drive alive, Buckingham capped it off on a 1-yard quarterback sneak just before the first quarter ended to put the Tigers up 21-0.
Mississinawa finally got on track in the second period as Trent Collins led a brilliant drive spreading the ball around to his receivers and running backs on quick hitters, up field, and over the middle. There were some great grabs by Blake Scholl and Max Dirmeyer along the way and the ‘Hawks finally got on the score board on a 2-yard run by Will Hall. They added a two-point conversion on a toss from Collins to Max Dirmeyer to make the score 21-8.
Ansonia went back to their ball control ground game and took time off the clock and scored on a 34-yard break away run by senior Brock Shellhaas. The two-point conversion try was no good and the Tigers led 28-8 with 6:45 to go in the first half.
Mississinawa still had their mojo going offensively and quickly moved the ball upfield. Collins scrambled around the left end and dove for the pylon and now the ‘Hawks trailed 28-14.
With 4 minutes left to play in the half it was more than enough time for the Tigers to take advantage as they scored one more time with Shook taking it in from 10 yards out. He would also catch the two-point conversion pass from Buckingham to give Ansonia a 36-14 halftime lead.
Ansonia played the first half with a lot of emotion and took control of the game from the onset. Longtime Ansonia coach Eugene Hoening gave props to his coaches for getting them ready.
“Our offensive line played well, and I want to give credit to Coach Hall our offensive line coach who drills those guys and does a great job of getting them ready every Friday. Coach Macy’s play calling was aggressive, and he saw where we could get yards and called the appropriate plays and it worked well for us tonight,” Hoening said.
Mississinawa coach Steven Trobridge could only wonder about what if as his team’s two early turnovers in Ansonia territory led to two quick scores and a 21-0 first quarter deficit.
“In the first half we shot ourselves in the foot so many times, especially with our turnovers,” Trobridge said. “You can’t do that against a good football team. That’s tough to overcome. Ansonia is such a well-coached football team and I have so much respect for Coach Hoening, he had his boys ready to go.”
Ansonia wasted little time in the second half to keep the ‘Hawks at bay when Muir had a nice 40-yard kick-off return to the 30-yard line and just a few plays later Ethan Fischer ran it in from 4 yards out and the lead was 43-14.
Mississinawa Valley was intercepted by Shook on their next possession and just a few minutes later Buckingham found Shook out of the backfield for a 26-yard toss and catch for the touchdown. Michael Hall added his sixth extra point on the night to make the score 50-14.
Despite the score, the Blackhawks didn’t mail it in. Collins bobbled the snap but was able to collect the ball and turned a broken play into a 6-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion to Max Dirmeyer was good and the ‘Hawks closed the score to 50-22.
Josh Fett recovered an onside kick for the Blackhawks and they didn’t waste the opportunity. Moments later Collins hit Dirmeyer on a slant pass over the middle for a touchdown cutting the lead to 50-28.
Mississinawa was holding on to a glimmer of hope, but it would be dashed when Shook ran in from 10 yards out for his fourth touchdown on the night to make the score 56-28.
Ansonia was playing without senior Devyn Sink, but Shook stepped up leading the team in a number of areas including rushing for 100 yards on 13 carries, 3 TD’s and one reception for a 26-yard TD. He also led the team in tackles with 14, including 8 solo and one interception on the night.
Other leaders for Ansonia were Reece Stammen (110 yards rushing on 15 carries) and Brock Shellhaas (94 yards on 8 carries). All in total the Tigers rushed for 349 yards and amassed 488 total yards on the night.
Ethan Fischer had 12 tackles, Andrew Rowland 11 and Hunter Muir 9 on the night.
Mississinawa though had a no man quit attitude and continued playing until the very end with Hall going in from 6 yards out to conclude the scoring for the game.
It would be easy for a lot of teams to quit after being down 50-14 with a running clock, but the ‘Hawks didn’t do that and earned praise from Coach Hoening.
“I want to congratulate Mississinawa and their team they were a never say quit team, where other guys would have folded up they kept fighting back and made a game out of it. There preparation was excellent, and they made some big plays on the other end. They were competitors till the end and that’s what you want in a football team,” Hoening said.
For Coach Trobridge he knows it’s not easy when you have limited numbers and is proud of the effort his team gave.
“We kept fighting, we just didn’t have an answer for their two big lineman number 75 (senior Andrew Rowland) and 71 (senior Ross Shook),” Trobridge said. “When you get down by two or three scores to a running team like this it’s hard to come back. My guys kept fighting, we never tucked our tails and quit.
“With our limited numbers and only having 18 kids tonight it’s tough,” he continued. “We got wore down at the end of the TV South game, and Ansonia wore us down this week as well, but we have to get back up and get ready for a real tough opponent next week at Fort Loramie and hopefully we can fix some things on the defensive end as well.”
Mississinawa Valley falls to 3-3 overall and 2-2 in the conference and will be at Fort Loramie next week. Ansonia with the win improves to 4-2 overall and 3-1 in the conference and travel to National Trail next week.