PREBLE COUNTY — It was rough Friday for the county’s three Cross County Conference football teams.
Tri-County North had a chance to postpone Miami East’s title celebration, but Vikings proved to be too much on their home field.
Miami East (8-1, 6-0 CCC) put Friday’s game against visiting Tri-County North (4-5, 4-4 CCC) out of reach by the end of the first quarter and went into the second half with the mercy rule already in effect, steamrolling their way past the Panthers in a dominant 42-0 showing in Casstown.
The Vikings began their first four offensive possessions of the game in Tri-County North territory and used only nine plays from scrimmage in the first quarter to take a 21-0 lead. Three plays after Justin Brown recovered a third-down fumble on the Panther 40-yard line, he finished the drive on the other side of the ball by breaking off a 30-yard touchdown run, making the score 6-0 Vikings with 9:00 still on the clock.
On the Panthers’ first play of the ensuing drive, senior Alex Dinardo intercepted a pass by quarterback Brian Stinson, setting East up at the North 43-yard line. And even back-to-back holding penalties couldn’t hold the Vikings back, as Brown weaved his way through his down field blockers on a 27-yard touchdown run, with Caleb Nickels barreling through the middle of the line for the two-point conversion to make it 14-0 with 6:28 left in the first.
Then it was the defense’s turn. With the Panthers facing third-and-21 from their own 41, Viking senior Austin Kearns nailed Stinson with a blindside sack to force fourth-and-30. And on the punt try, the snap went sailing over the punter’s head — and Kearns was there to scoop up the ball and fall forward two yards into the end zone for a touchdown to make it 21-0 with 1:34 left in the quarter.
The Panthers then went for it on fourth-and-2 from the East 49-yard line, only to have the quarterback keeper stuffed by the Vikings’ Colt Frazier, Aaron Lawrence and Lance Rohrbach, giving the ball back to East on the Tri-County North 49. A third-and-6 draw play to Nickels went for 20 yards into the red zone, and Nickels finished off the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run to make it 28-0 with 8:22 remaining until halftime.
The Viking defense forced another punt, only this time to have the snap be too low for the punter to handle, setting East up at the Panther 28. Brown broke off a 25-yard run before being pushed out of bounds and finished the drive on the next play with a 3-yard touchdown to make it 35-0 with 5:52 left in the second quarter, and that’s where things remained at halftime.
Vincent Villella put the only score of the second half on the board with a 15-yard touchdown run with 8:49 remaining in the third quarter, and the Vikings ran out the clock from there.
North will host Fort Loramie on Friday, Oct. 27, to finish the regular season.
South beaten at Covington
The Panthers faced their former coach, Tyler Cates, on Friday and come up on the short end of the scoreboard, losing 56-13.
South fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter before Cade Cottingim returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. But by the end of the first half, the Buccs had extended their lead to 35-6. Covington pushed its lead to 49-6 before South’s Ryan Bassler scored on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter.
South (3-6, 3-4 CCC) will host Miami East Friday.
Blazers fall at Loramie
National Trail fell to 3-6 overall and 2-5 in the CCC with a 51-0 loss at CCC newcomer Fort Loramie.
The Blazers will host Covington in Week 10 to wrap up the 2017 season.
(Editor’s note: Information from the Troy Daily News was used in this story)