CAMDEN — Preble Shawnee’s football team is off to its best start in more than a decade after a convincing 48-7 win over visiting Tri-Village on Friday, Sept. 9.
The Arrows improved to 3-0 with the win.
It’s the first time since the 2001 season that Preble Shawnee has opened the season with at least three straight wins. That season the Arrows began 5-0 before finishing 6-4. The last time Shawnee won more than three games in a season was in 2014, when they were 5-5.
Against Tri-Village, a first-year varsity program, the Arrows wasted little time in establishing dominance.
Behind a stingy defense and an opportunistic offense, the Arrows stormed out to a 27-0 lead after the opening quarter and led 48-0 at the half — and it could have been more had Preble Shawnee coach Matt Hopkins opted not to try and score late in the second quarter when his team had the ball on the Patriot 1-yard line with under a minute to play before halftime.
The Arrows scored on six of their eight possessions of the first half, including the first four. The other score was a defensive touchdown.
Shawnee’s defense forced seven Patriot turnovers, including on six consecutive possessions spanning the second and third quarters.
“We came out and played well. We executed the game plan,” Hopkins said. “Like I tell the guys all the time, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing. We’re playing ourselves. It’s about execution, fundamentals and doing your job right every single time. It doesn’t matter if it’s Tri-Village or a state champ — you’ve got to do your job to the best of your ability.”
The Arrows took the opening possession and scored just over two minutes into the game on a 6-yard run by Luke Lovely (10 carries, 83 yards), the first of his three rushing touchdowns on the night.
On its next possession, Shawnee quarterback Kevin Ketring broke free for a 42-yard TD run to give his team a 14-0 lead at the 8:35 mark.
Shawnee’s defense forced the first turnover of the night, which led to Lovely scoring his second touchdown of the night on a 4-yard run with 3:09 left in the first quarter, for a 21-0 lead.
An Eli Gibson (6 carries, 43 yards) 6-yard TD run with 38 seconds left in the quarter made it 27-0.
Midway through the second quarter, Austin Moore picked off the first of his three interceptions on the night and returned it for a school record 97 yards for a touchdown to make it 34-0 with 7:29 left in the half.
Tri-Village fumbled the ensuing kickoff which led to Lovely’s third score of the night — a 5-yard run with 6:30 to play in the half to make it 41-0.
Moore then got his second interception on the Patriots’ next series. That led to a Gibson 10-yard TD run on the first play after the turnover and a 48-0 Shawnee lead.
The Arrows’ defense yielded its first points of the season with 3:27 left in the game as the Patriots scored on a 1-yard run to make it 47-7.
“Tri-Village, they didn’t give up. That’s a good team,” Hopkins said. “They are going to have a lot of success. I’m kind of glad we only play them once because I think they are going to be really good.”
For the game, Shawnee racked up 303 yards rushing on 41 attempts and Hopkins credits the offensive line for that success.
“I thought that we gelled finally,” he said of the running game. “I love what they’re doing and that’s important as we are getting ready to go into league play.”
The Arrows will stay at home this week as they host Madison for their homecoming contest. The Mohawks enter the game 2-1 and were the preseason favorites to win the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division.
“It huge. The first part of our season is done and we came out 3-0 in our non-conference and now it’s 100 percent focused on league play,” Hopkins said. “More importantly, it’s our homecoming against our rival. You couldn’t ask for much more. Our guys are already thinking about it and talking about it. Our focus is to beat Madison. We want the Totem Pole back and they’re going to be a great team that is physical and we’ve got to match their physicality. Until somebody beats them, they’re the top dogs. We want to play as best as we can and we’ll let the chips fall where they may.”
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH
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