NEW LEBANON — The Twin Valley South football team kicked off the 2016 season against the Dixie Greyhounds with a display of offense, but ended up short, losing 47-30 in their road opener.
The game started on Friday night, Aug. 26, but was forced to finish Saturday morning due to serious storms which rolled in during the first quarter.
Dixie jumped out on South early in the game due to several turnovers and penalties by the Panthers. With the help of running backs Clayton Washington and Ethan Arnett, the Greyhounds built up a 13-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“We were plagued by five fumbles and one interception, but Dixie is good enough to capitalize on the mistakes we made,” coach Clint Bartlett said. “When we came back on Saturday, we challenged our kids to play better and made some adjustments. We were able to make it 20-6 at half. Tied it up 20-20. Made more mistakes and then it was an offensive blitz.”
“Dixie is a really good team,” Bartlett said. “They have that kid, Clayton Washington. Once he gets into open field, there really isn’t anyone who can catch him. He’s that fast. Nice running back with some top speed.”
Offensively, South was able to move the ball. The opening drive was 65 yards until a fumble on the 3-yard line stalled it. The Panthers had some passes which got the team out of a few third-and-long situations. The defense was able to hold the Dixie offense early in the second half and South tied up the game, 20-20. But the turnovers put the defense in too many bad field position situations.
“We had some penalties in the game, most of them were more aggressive than mental penalties,” Bartlett said. “I don’t think they were instrumental to the outcome of the game. It was the turnovers much more.”
“Derek Cottingim, Mike Myers, Sammy Shockey, Andrew Augspurger did a good job offensively. Up front, we had Isaac Paxson, Blake Holp, Wyatt Derk, Skylar Adams, Wendell Webb, and John Gray pave the way in the strong running game for the backfield. They did a good job of opening holes and getting the job done.”
Defensively, the team was able to cause two turnovers. They had some chances for more fumble recoveries, but just didn’t fall on some of those when needed.
When the game was tied in the third quarter, Dixie unleashed a scoring blitz of 27 points to the Panthers’ 10. At the end of the game, it was Washington and Arnett who combined for 363 of the team’s 440 total yards rushing.
“They run a very unique offense, a lot of teams don’t run the kind of offense that they do,” Bartlett said. “I give them credit for their execution. But their best kid is Washington. I don’t think there’s anyone in the state who can catch him. They ran a lot of wing-T and double wings to one side. They block down to one side and pull blockers to the other side, they hand off to Washington and just let him use his talents.”
Shockey led the Panther offense with 11 rushes for 123 yards. He also had one reception for 25 yards. Augspurger had six rushes for 98 yards and two touchdowns, while Jared Cottingim had 11 carries for 85 yards, one touchdown, and one reception for five yards.
Ryan Bassler added three carries for 18 yards, and one reception for three yards. Mike Meyers was 7-for-13 passing, for 141 yards and one interception. He also had four carries for 26 yards.
Chandler Napier was the leading receiver for the Panthers, with three receptions for 86 yards and one touchdown. Troy Bowers had one reception for 22 yards.
Twin Valley South combined for 350 yards rushing and 141 yards passing, good for a total of 491 yards offense. The defense scored a safety during the game, but TVS committed six turnovers.
The Panthers’ next game is Friday, Sept. 2, against Preble Shawnee, at home. Kick-off is at 7 p.m.