ARCANUM – It was an emotional night for Arcanum, which recognized its seniors prior to the game before taking on Tri-Village in what has quickly turned into a rivalry game in the short span of football at TV.
In the end it was a few plays making the difference in a pretty evenly played game, but it was Arcanum’s seniors who came up with big plays at the right time to edge out the Patriots in the end for 16-14 win.
For the third week in a row Friday night football was played in less than ideal conditions with wind, cool temperatures and a steady mist of rain coming down makes for an interesting game.
Arcanum recovered a Tri-Village onside kick at the 43-yard line to start the game.
The Trojans lined up on offense in an interesting formation that reminded me of old school football much like the great coach Knute Rockne ran at Notre Dame with the four horsemen.
The offensive line had no splits and all the receivers and backs huddled in close at the line of scrimmage.
On the very first play of the game quarterback Nick Fry handed off to senior Devin Keckler who disappeared into the middle of the line, then a few seconds later came out the other end and raced 57 yards untouched for a touchdown giving Arcanum a quick shot of adrenalin.
On the extra point attempt the Patriots were called for encroachment that moved the ball half the distance to the goal thus prompting the Trojans to go for a two-point conversion instead and Cory Ross ran it in for a quick 8-0 lead with just 14 seconds off the clock.
After exchanging possessions a few times Tri-Village finally got some rhythm going only to cough up the pigskin at Arcanum’s 32-yard line and recovered by senior Ethin Hoffman to stop the drive and neither team scored the rest of the first quarter
The Patriots put together a nice 13-play drive in the second period and scored when tailback Austin Bruner switched roles with quarterback Layne Sarver tossing him the ball in one-on-one coverage and Sarver won the match-up with a 3-yard catch for the touchdown, but still trailed 8-6 at 7:25.
Arcanum mishandled a snap on its next drive and Tri-Village’s Dylan Finkbine recovered the ball putting the Patriots in good field position on the 9-yard line.
A few plays later Cody Eyer scored on a 3-yard rush followed by a pass from Sarver to Mason Coby for the two-point conversion, and just like that TV was up 14-8 at 5:15 in the second quarter.
Tri-Village attempted a second onside kick and Coby was there to scoop it up and the Pats were back in business quickly moving inside the red zone.
Senior defensive back Cory Ross literally stepped up big and right in front of Sarver’s pass returning it 53 yards to flip the switch on the Patriots now looking to score before the end of the first half.
Good defense forced Arcanum to try a field goal that came up short. Tri-Village was unable to move the football and Arcanum used timeouts hoping to get the football back with enough time to score.
The special teams would come up big for Arcanum with several good plays but none maybe any bigger than getting a blocked punt they recovered at the 6-yard line with under 30 seconds to play.
“In that situation we felt like we wanted to call some time outs and force them to punt, it’s windy, rainy and high school football, you never know what can happen,” Arcanum football coach Jason Schondelmyer said. “We were able to get a paw up to block the punt, it was just a huge play for us at the time.”
Arcanum wasn’t going to be denied this time as Ross ground his way into the end zone from 3 yards away with 11 seconds to go tying the game at 14 going into the break.
Tri-Village defense came up big twice in the second half, once on a terrific goal line stand stopping the Trojans inches from breaking the plane.
The Patriots though were playing on the wrong end of the field the entire second half and couldn’t find the rhythm they had in the first half.
Meanwhile, Arcanum was content keeping the ball on the ground and grinding it out in its tight formation.
With time running down and maybe one last shot for Tri-Village, Arcanum punter Dane Craport came up big with a punt he rolled out at the 1-yard line, pinning the Patriots at the goal one more time with 99 yards to go and just two minutes to play.
“That punt was huge. Craport is another senior who just made a great play when it counted. He has done a great job all season long directionally punting, and to put that one down at the 1-yard line was just huge,” Schondelmyer praised.
On the very next play, Arcanum senior defensive back Isaiah Hootman became the hero of the night, coming up and tripping Derek Eyer two yards deep in the end zone for a safety that would end up being the tie-breaker giving the Trojans a 16-14 hard fought win on senior night.
“That play by Isaiah … wow, just wow, what a safety play by that young man a senior making a play. I decided right there that I loved that kid,” beamed Schondelmyer.
It was a tough game, emotionally draining, and disappointing for second year Tri-Village coach Robert Burk whose team came up short on the night.
“Things just didn’t fall our way tonight. Some of that is on me. I didn’t make the right calls at the right time. Our kids fought really hard and played great defense. We would like to play them dry just one time, it’s been a mud fest the last two years. We’ll get to work, get back in the lab and be back at it again next year,” Burk stated.
Tri-Village ends the year 3-7 overall for the second year in a row and 1-7 in the Cross County Conference.
Arcanum with win finished the year with a 2-8 overall record and 2-6 in the conference.
“Anytime in your last game at home and your faced with a long season, it becomes hard to keep going to practice, hard to stay focused and get better, and to be honest with you to be playing in week 10 under these conditions, against a team really close to us in proximity with all the emotions, well it was just a huge win for us,” Schondelmyer commented.
“These seniors are a great group of kids and I’m just so happy for them to persevere and get this win here tonight,” Schondelmyer concluded.