LEWISBURG — In a matter of three minutes, Preble Shawnee turned a tightly contested game into a blowout.
The Arrows led host Tri-County North 23-15 after the Panthers scored with just over two minutes left in the first half, but Shawnee added two scores in a total of 27 seconds to push the lead to 37-15 by halftime.
The Arrows then added another score on the first play of the second half, which took 11 seconds off the clock, to force a running clock, en route to a 52-22 win on Friday, Sept. 29, in a Western Ohio Athletic Conference football game.
“I told the guys, man that was kind of a weird game. It was kind of a weird start,” Shawnee coach Dave Maddox said. “I feel like I didn’t even see half the offensive plays because the defense would come off and we’re coaching them up and I turn around or guys are in the end zone.”
North. which was celebrating homecoming, opened the game with a nearly seven-minute drive to keep the Arrows offense off the field. The Panthers capped off the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run by Logan Flory with 5:10 left in the first quarter. After a successful two-point conversion, North led 8-0.
It took Shawnee exactly 11 seconds to respond.
Quarterback Brody Morton connected with Reece Smith for a 67-yard TD pass and the two-point conversion tied the game.
North kept the ball for the remainder of the first quarter. The drive ended with an interception in the end zone by Smith early in the second quarter.
Shawnee, which scored on all five fist half possessions and seven of eight for the game, drove 85 yards in just over four minutes to take the lead at 15-7 on a Morton to Kaden Taylor 15-yard TD pass with 7:40 left.
Another North turnover set the Arrows up for another score. This time the drive was 45 seconds and was capped off with a 22-yard touchdown run by Lane Lovely with 6:50 left in the first half for a 23-8 lead.
North responded with a four-plus minute drive to get with 23-15 with 2:19 left in the half.
That proved to be plenty of time for Shawnee to do damage.
The Arrows scored in just 17 seconds on a 68-yard TD pass from Morton to Isaac Blankenship to go up 30-15 with 1:55 left.
Shawnee’s defense then held and got the ball back for the offense with 58 seconds left.
One play later, Smith caught a 51-yard TD pass from Morton to push the lead to 37-15.
The quick strike continued into the third quarter.
On the first play of the third quarter, Morton’s shovel pass to Riley Stevenson went for a 69-yard TD pass to extend the lead to 45-15 after a successful two-point conversion.
The remainder of the game was played under a running clock.
“Very happy with how our offense played. I think it shows how many different weapons we have. We have got a lot of guys that get the ball and can be dangerous,” Maddox said. “Defense started out a little bit slow and North’s tough. The way they run that option, it’s hard to defend. And it’s hard for us to simulate that practice. Once guys got the hang of it and got into the flow of it, then we did a much better job.”
Morton finished game completing 7-of-10 passes for 286 yards and five touchdowns.
“Brody Morton played a very good game offensively at quarterback. The offense just kind of executed the way that we would have hoped,” Maddox said. “Happy to see that the guys were able to get out in the open. Get some of our guys the ball out in space and they can be pretty dangerous.”
Maddox said he was concerned about the long drive for North to begin the game but was please with his team’s response.
“They had a long drive. I looked up, I think there was maybe five minutes (before) we got the ball. I mean that’s dangerous if their offense is able to do that and chew up clock and keep our offense off the field but it’s also good for us that we can score that quickly and answer back after they scored,” Maddox said.
“Our answer to that also was to score as fast and as many times as we possibly could to get up on them. Our thinking at the end of the first half was let’s score as many times as we can because we don’t know how often we’re going to have the football.
Maddox said the decision to go for two and get the running clock was a chance to shorten the game and not let North control the clock.
“We said let’s go ahead and go for two and if we can get it a running clock that would be to our advantage to try to get this game over. We haven’t played that well offensively all year. And so, I think we finally started clicking.”
Shawnee (5-2, 4-1 WOAC), winners of five straight, will return home to host Arcanum on Friday, Oct. 6.
North (3-4, 2-3) will host league-leading Ansonia (7-0, 5-0), also on Friday.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on X @emowenjr.