UNION CITY – Two teams still fighting for a chance to make the post season squared off Friday night in the final regular season contest. Emotions were high for both teams, plus Mississinawa Valley had to deal with Senior night. It was a cold night that played out much longer than it needed due to a struggling officiating crew. The Blackhawks found a way to come from behind late in the game stunning Arcanum for a 22-12 win.
On the Blackhawks first possession they threw a pick as Arcanum’s Ian Baker stepped in front to snare one away. Arcanum took advantage of the opportunity and two plays later Bryce Schondelmyer hit Brennan Troutwine who tiptoed up the sideline for a 35 yard touchdown to give the Trojans a quick 6-0 lead.
Looking to strike quickly, Arcanum recovered an onside kick to keep the momentum in their favor … but the Blackhawks were able to hold them off and they went to work after a nice long run from Alex Scholl set them up in scoring positions. Cody Dirksen then hooked up with Zach Connor for a 3 yard score to tie the game at 6-6 to end the first quarter.
Arcanum responded on their third possession that was capped off by a Schondelmyer keeper up the middle as the Trojan offensive line dominated on the drive. Arcanum would maintain a 12-6 lead at the half.
Neither team mount a threat in the third quarter as the flow of the game was interrupted often with an officiating crew who struggled on the field.
Still trailing 12-6 heading into the final stanza Mississinawa Valley finally showed signs of life as Cody Dirksen connected with Blake Scholl for a 41-yard gain. Two plays later Scholl and Arcanum’s Ian Baker both came down with the ball on a pass play at the 2-yard line … and when the dust settled it was Baker who came away with his 2nd interception on the night to stop the Blackhawks drive.
Backed up against the goal line the Trojans were unable to take advantage and after a short punt the Blackhawks went back to work and this time they would not be denied with Dirksen tossing a short pass to Josh Fett in the flat … Fett weaved his way into the endzone for a 15 yard score. The two point conversion good and with 4 minutes to go the Hawks led for the first time 14-12.
MV held Arcanum on the next possession and the MV offensive in went to work. Dirksen benefitted scoring on the QB keeper, the two point conversion was good making the final score 22-12 for an exciting and memorable senior night finish for the Blackhawks.
The Trojans who started the season at 7-0 dropped the last 3 games of the season to finish 7-3 overall and 5-3 in Cross County Conference play for a 4th place finish.
Mississinawa also finished with a 7-3 overall record and 6-2 in the Cross County Conference for 3rd place. The 7-3 finish is the 2nd best season in school history.
The best record was 1991 when Curtis Enis led the Hawks to a 9-1 record … but they failed to qualify for the state playoffs that year.
Fortunately for the Mississinawa Valley they take 8 schools instead of 2 in those days and have qualified for the State Playoffs for only the 2nd time in school history, the other being in 2004.
Unofficially it looks like Mississinawa will travel to Marion Local to take on the Flyers. Official results will be announced by the OHSAA after 2 p.m. on Sunday.
“In years past, we would tuck our tails. I have preached for the last couple of years, don’t ever give up, stay focused and stay the course. Good things happen when you do that, it showed tonight. We kept fighting and kept fighting and finally made a few plays to turn it our way. I couldn’t be prouder than I am for my guys right now,” beamed MV Coach Steven Trobridge.
“All the credit goes to these kids. When I took over my goal was to change the mentality here, I wanted the kids to be honest, work hard and believe … that along with amazing community support has been the difference. Now we just want to enjoy this moment and then we’ll see who we get to play in the playoffs,” concluded Trobridge.