UNION CITY — Tri-County North continues to run through its Cross County Conference competition at this point in the season, blanking Mississinawa Valley 45-0 on Friday, Sept. 18.
The Panthers were able to score on their first four possessions while also not allowing the Blackhawks to get much further than the 50-yard line. But, despite the scoring onslaught, TCN head coach Bill Derringer was not happy with his offense’s execution in the first half.
“Offensively I was not happy. I know we were up 35-0 at half but I didn’t feel we executed. They blitzed us all night long and we didn’t pick up their blitzes. We are going to see that probably the next two or three games anyway. We have to get better offensively,” he said. “I just didn’t like how many times my quarterback got hit tonight.”
North started out the game with a quick drive that resulted in quarterback Lane Gunder rolling out to his right before throwing the ball back across the field to Logan Elmore, who slipped through the Blackhawks’ defense on his way to a 44-yard touchdown.
It only took the Panthers eight seconds to get on the board again as Mississinawa fumbled the ball at the nine yard line on their first play. Gunder found Elmore again, this time for a nine yard touchdown strike.
Three and a half minutes later, Gunder got the ball to Elmore for a third time, this time on a two-yard touchdown throw.
Another two and a half minutes passed before Gunder dropped the ball over the left shoulder of Zach Edgin, who scored on the 19-yard pass and catch.
The Panthers remained quiet until just under four minutes left in the half, when Gunder kept the ball on a drop back and burned the defense for 93 yards on the way to his fifth touchdown of the night.
The successful PAT brought the score to 35-0, but two of the touchdowns on the evening came off broken plays before Gunder created scoring opportunities for his team.
Derringer did praise the tough play of his defense as well, which is holding its CCC opponents to an average of 10 points per game.
“I thought our defense did an outstanding job. They played stellar all night long,” he said.
North added an eight yard touchdown catch and throw via Gunder to Chandler Sproles mid-way through the third and a 31-yard field goal from Edgin at the beginning of the fourth to give them the final score 45-0.
The Panthers are still without starting running back Garrett Woodyard and were down to their fourth fullback on the year as injuries have plagued the team early in the season.
Gunder finished 10-16 through the air for 146 yards and five touchdowns. He also had three carries for 111 yards and a score.
Elmore added four carries for 70 yards and four catches for 76 yards and three touchdowns. Edgin chipped in one catch for 19 yards and Sproles had two receptions for 26 yards.
Tri-County North moves to 3-1 overall and 3-0 in the CCC. They are scheduled to host Bethel on Friday, Sept. 25 with a 7:30 kickoff.
Jeremy Erskine may be reached at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH