NEW PARIS – For three quarters the Tri-Village Patriots played with the Blazers. But the bigger line of National Trail and turnovers took their toll on the Tri-Village cause and the game spiraled out of control in the last quarter. It was 23-12 in favor of the Blazers entering the last quarter, but the Blazers would score 20 points in the last stanza for a final score of 43-12.
The Patriots fought hard in the game and had their chances. They had three drives stopped in the red zone and two of the stops were turned into touchdowns by the Trail Blazers. Those two TD’s given up resulted in 28-swing points if you add two TD’s that Tri-Village could have scored and subtract two TD’s off the scoreboard for the Blazers. So not being able to finish drives was a problem for the young Patriots team.
For the first three quarters the Patriots were probably winning the battle of possession. They had long sustained drives. But they had a knack of giving up the big play to the Blazers on defense. The first Blazers’ play from scrimmage was a 70-yard TD run by Peyton Lane for example. He would have another long break away run for a TD later in the second half. Another time they had the Blazers bottled up at their 3-yard line and gave up a score.
Late in the game the Blazers went from a shotgun to a wishbone offense. They used their heavier line to wear down the Patriots and used the running game to eat clock. This kept the Patriot offense on the sidelines thus limiting their chances at a comeback.
And the Patriots traveled with a loud crowd. Particularly in the first half when the game was close – the Patriot faithful made themselves heard. The Patriots did respond to the crowd – scoring first in the game on a Cody Eyer 3-yard carry on their opening possession of the game. The score was set up by a 64 yard catch by Devin Swick from Dylan Finkbine. The next TD was set up with a punt block by Swick and with the short field the Patriots drove to the 5-yard line where quarterback Layne Sarver plunged across the line.
“With the two quarterbacks we use two different systems,” said TV coach Robert Burk. “So a lot of it depends on the situation – which quarterback gives us the best option. And sometimes it is using the one that has a hot hand.”
The Patriot special teams did fairly well. There were 2-blocked kicks in the game, one of which set up a score. A fake punt would have worked, but it was called back with a holding call. On defense Josh Scantland had a pass block; Seth Wogoman and Finkbine had quarterback sacks.
“When you aren’t executing at a high level and turn the ball over so many times you’re not going to beat anyone,” said Burk. “We had multiple opportunities in the first half to go up by two scores that we missed and we turned the ball over on the goal line twice. We had injuries in the second half and even though we have more kids out this year, we have to scramble to get someone out there. But we did fight well and blocked better – there were a lot of positive things that we did. But the end result is that we have to do better. We beat ourselves with too many mistakes. But National Trail has a good football team – I thought they were the second best football team on our schedule so our hats are off to them.”
Next Friday the Patriots will host Mississinawa Valley.