VANDALIA – The Greenville varsity football team took advantage of two second quarter touchdowns and a field goal to give the Green Wave its first winning season in the past 11-years with a 17-13 win over the Vandalia-Butler Aviators.
“This group is resilient,” said first year Greenville head coach Bart Schmitz. “We played about as good a first half as we have played in a long time. The second half we made just enough plays and it’s like I just told the guys – this group of kids handles adversity better than any group I’ve been around in a long time. When something bad happens, they just go make another play.”
“I couldn’t be more proud of the way our kids acted,” Schmitz continued. “I know we had some penalties but we played a clean game. We played with our mouths shut, but we did what we did – tough hardnose football. What more could you ask for.”
The teams played even after one period of play before Greenville got on the board with a 12-yard pass from Tyler Beyke to Haydn Sharp to complete a 62-yard 7-play drive. Ethan Flanery made good on the PAT kick giving Greenville a 7-0 lead at 5:44 in the second.
The Wave pushed its lead to 10-0 with an Ethan Flanery field goal splitting the uprights out of the hold of Beyke with 0:55 remaining on the first half clock.
It took just 21-seconds for Greenville to record its third score of the second period with John Butsch intercepting a Myles Cantrell Aviators’ pass good for a 35-yard pick-six. Flanery nailed the PAT giving the Green Wave a 17-0 lead with 0:34 showing on the first half clock where the score would stand with the teams heading to the halftime break.
Butler made it a 17-7 third quarter game with an 8-play 65-yard drive, scoring on a Gavin Cassella 38-yard pass to Ryan Wilson and a Jenson Brown PAT kick.
The Aviators’ Cassella scored on a fourth quarter 5-yard quarterback keeper with 6:49 remaining on the game clock to pull the Aviators to within 4-points at 17-13.
The Wave’s Marcus Wood made a diving block of Butler’s extra point attempt to keep Vandalia 1-point short of a game tying field goal.
Greenville was ready for a Butler onside kick resulting in a Greenville first-and-ten at the Vandalia 38-yard line.
Greenville was held to a three-and-out setting up a Butler fair catch at their own 22-yard line.
The Aviators immediately went to work using up 3:17 on the game clock putting together a 9-play 61-yard drive with the big play coming on the eighth play of the drive; a 27-yard completed pass with Wave’s Conner Mills making a touchdown saving tackle at the Greenville 14-yard line.
The stubborn Greenville defense had Haydn Sharp diving on a Butler fumble on the following play at the Wave’s 17-yard marker giving Greenville the ball with 1:10 remaining on the fourth quarter clock.
A Greenville fumble had Butler taking over with a first-and-ten at the Greenville 34-yard line with 0:55 left in the game.
Greenville’s Colton McCartney threw Butler’s quarterback for a 2-yard loss setting up an Aviators second-and-twelve at the Wave’s 36-yard line.
Butler’s Cassella once again went to 6’2” Ryan Wilson with an 18-yard pass completion setting up an Aviators’ first-and-ten at Greenville’s 18-yard line.
The Wave’s Tyler Beyke slammed the door on the Aviators with a leaping interception at the 1-yard line to secure the MVL win and assure Greenville of a 2019 winning season.
Greenville coach Bart Schmitz played on an Al Hetrick Versailles Tigers state championship football team and knows the satisfaction of a winning season.
“That just means everything to the program,” Coach Schmitz said of the team’s first winning season in 11 years. “I do this because I want the kids to have the same opportunities that I’ve had.”
“When you work this hard, it is what we all do especially the players, they do exactly what you ask of them every week and they can come out here and get rewarded the way that they have been this year so far, I couldn’t be more thrilled for the kids.”
“This is just a special group of kids,” Schmitz added. “I am proud of them and they can always say that they helped do this – you can always say that you were a part of that and that is something they will live with forever.”
The rigorous hot August summer days of conditioning and practices are noticeable on the field of play as many Green Wave players play both sides of the ball.
“It’s paying off,” conclude Coach Schmitz. “There is nothing easy and nobody is going to give you anything in this world and our motto; ‘Go Take It’ – and they did.”
The Aviators led many statistical categories on the night but it was Greenville making the big plays at opportune times to earn the victory.
First Downs: Butler 14 – Greenville 9
Rushes / Yards (Net): Butler 39 / 117 – Greenville 31 / 76
Passing Yards (Net): Butler 142 – Greenville 27
Total Offensive Plays / Yards: Butler 53 / 259 – Greenville 40 / 103
Interception Returns / Yards: Butler 1/0 – Greenville 2/49
Fumbles / Lost: Butler 3/1 – Greenville 3/1
Penalties / Yards: Butler 9/107 – Greenville 6/47
All Purpose Yards: Butler 295 – Greenville 283
Time of possession: Butler 39:02 Greenville 13:24
Butler was 6-12 in third down conversions while Greenville was 2-10.
Greenville was 2-3 in redzone conversions, Butler 1-3.
Greenville’s Marcus Wood led all players with 121 all-purpose yards with 82 coming on a third quarter kickoff return.
Ethan Flannery 8
John Butsch 7
Connor Mills 5
Haydn Sharp 5
Contact Darke County Media Sports Editor Gaylen Blosser at email@example.com or 937-548-3330