ARCANUM – Arcanum found themselves in a slugfest with Tri-County North in football action Friday night. It was a game of missed opportunities, injuries and youth as the Panthers took home a 30-6 Cross County Conference win over the Trojans.
Arcanum punted on its first possession and Dane Craport put North in a big hole with a great punt that rolled out at the 1-yard line.
TCN coughed up the football at the 10-yard line with Craport being the man at the right place to recover it for Arcanum and the Trojans were in the red zone in great scoring position.
Facing fourth down inside the 5-yard line, sophomore quarterback Nick Fry rolled out to his left, made a dash for the goal line and was met by a wall of North defenders that he couldn’t penetrate, denying Arcanum a golden opportunity to get on the scoreboard first.
The Trojans had one more opportunity in the first half, when they had a receiver in the clear and nothing but green grass out front but left the ball behind negating a second scoring chance.
It looked like the first half was going to end up a 0-0 tie, but the Panthers made some big plays late and got inside the 10-yard line with 8 seconds left in the first half. North wasn’t going to be denied as quarterback Brian Stinson weaved his way through the middle of the defense and into the end zone and then added a two-point conversion to give the Panthers and 8-0 lead at the half.
Tri-County’s momentum carried over into the second half as they scored on their opening drive with Stinson getting the job done again from 6 yards out and another two-point conversion gave North a 16-0 advantage at 7:54 in the third quarter. North added a third score on a 65-yard middle screen to go up 24-0.
Just under a minute into the final stanza, Arcanum finally put points on the board.
Freshman end Ian Baker made a great catch on a throw from Fry around the 30-yard line. Baker was sandwiched by two defenders and somehow, he remained on his feet, regained his balance, and then tip-toed up the sideline untouched for a 50-yard score.
It would be the highlight of the night for Arcanum, who now trailed 24-6. North added one more score on the night to make the final score 30-6.
Arcanum coach Jason Schondelmyer didn’t want to talk about injuries after the game, but it begged the question when seeing the number of guys banged up on the sidelines.
“We had all kinds of guys coming off the sideline causing personnel issues. It’s as bad as it’s ever been here with the injuries on this football team. You look out there at the line, it’s all freshman and sophomores going against a team who has 15 seniors and you have to do everything perfect, the margin of error is so small,” Schondelmyer stated.
Arcanum is just trying to play the hand they’ve been dealt and it’s a tough one trying to build confidence with younger guys some who are playing before they are ready because they don’t have options.
“Sometimes as a coach it’s a double-edged sword playing guys before they’re ready,” Schondelmyer said. “Obviously guys want to play and as a coach you say, ‘Man he’s not really ready’, but under the circumstance he’s got to play. It can be good and bad, but we really have to work on building their confidence.
“We’re learning to play harder and over the last couple of weeks we’ve competed well, in fact, step for step with Covington, and we had young guys step up for us,” he continued. “I told our guys we have to continue to go, it’s a process, we can’t point fingers and as a group we need to keep working to get better.”
Arcanum falls to 1-6 overall and 1-4 in the conference and travels to Casstown next Friday to take on Miami East.