NEW MADISON – The Ansonia Tigers were able to grind out a win over the Tri-Village Patriots to end their season with a 6-4 record. They utilized a full house backfield and mainly ran between the tackles. An effective style of football for a cold November night. They hung onto the ball in the first half like a pitbull hangs onto a ham bone.
Tri-Village could barely pry the ball away. Ansonia did most of their scoring in the first half and then turned the ball game over to their defense which held Tri-Village to a single score in the second half as the Tigers would finish their season with a win, 31-8.
Neither team scored in the first quarter as the teams exchanged possessions. The Patriots shanked a punt at the end of the quarter and that gave Ansonia a short field which they exploited at the beginning of the second quarter with Reece Stammen punching the ball in from the 4-yard line.
Tri-Village was held to 3-plays and punt and the Tigers promptly drove down the field thank to a long run by Stammen who scored on a 2-yard run on fourth down.
The cold weather seemed to be a bigger factor for Tri-Village. There was a muffed snap on a punt attempt that gave Ansonia the ball on the 20-yard line. Stammen completed the short drive with a 3-yard TD run. Besides the bad snap, there were several dropped balls by the Patriots who run a spread offense and feature the pass. They had a tough time getting their offense on track in the first half.
Tri-Village did get good field position just before the half when Lane Sarver returned the ball to the Ansonia 24 after a kickoff. But a stubborn Tiger defense would not let the Patriots advance the ball. Zack Ward got a key sack that put Tri-Village in long yardage and they finally had to turn the ball over on downs.
Tri-Village tried to answer on their opening drive of the second half. But Ward, Ethan Setser, and Preston Prater each recorded sacks. Later in the game Austin Helmke would get yet another sack later in the game as the Tigers pressured the quarterback all night. Still the Patriots got the ball to the Ansonia 21, but could go no further and had to give up the ball.
Ansonia advanced the ball to their own 30 where they left their conservative game plan and elected to go for it on fourth-and-3. There was either a miscommunication, or maybe the cold weather made the ball hard to handle, but the exchange between the center and quarterback was not smooth and the ball went to the ground. Quarterback Isaac Barga gamely tried to make a play out of it, but he was tackled short of the down marker.
Now it was the Patriots turn to work with a short field. Lane Sarver completed a pass to Josh Scantland at the 1-yard line and they went to their jumbo package for the score.
Ansonia scored once more after an Ethan Fisher interception. Stammen scored on a 1-yard plunge and Alliyah Hall kicked the extra point to end the scoring for the night. Fisher ended the ensuing Patriot drive with a fumble recovery.
Although the Patriots moved the ball better in the second half, the Tiger takeaways ended any chance at a comeback. As much as the Tiger offense dominated the first half, the Tiger defense dominated in the second half.
The young Tri-Village (5-5) football team has its first non-losing season under Coach Robert Burk. His thoughts, “We let them play their game. We could not get them off schedule. We let them grind the ball. It felt like we only got 12-plays of offense in the first half. We did not take advantage of our opportunities. We had plays to make and didn’t make them. Then we made mistakes and got some penalties. In the second half we played a little better. Technically we outscored them 8-7, but we were already down 24-0.”
Tiger coach Matt Macy ends his first season at the helm with a winning season. His team ended up ninth in the district, just missing the playoffs. His comments on the game, “This was the epitome of what I want our program to be – a ground and pound style of football, our defense was aggressive and got on the quarterback. We did not make many mistakes, the game was played the way that I wanted it to be played – it was great.”