North holds off Ansonia, 34-21

Dale Barger - For The Register-Herald

ANSONIA — The Ansonia Tigers trailed 26-7 heading into the fourth quarter Friday night, but scored on a tough drive and created points off a turnover closing the gap to 26-21 with five minutes left to play. However, Tri-County North scored on a long drive with 1:13 left to play to close the door on a strong Ansonia comeback to register a 34-21 Cross County Conference win.

Ansonia started the game strong scoring on the opening drive on a 2-yard run from Devyn Sink. Reece Stammen turned in a key 24-yard run to keep the drive alive. Michael Hall’s extra point put the Tigers on top 7-0.

Tri-County North didn’t waste time responding five plays later with quarterback Brian Stinson scrambling and breaking free for a 25-yard touchdown. Stinson also ran in the two-point conversion to give the Panthers an 8-7 lead at 4:37 in the first quarter.

Ansonia turned the ball over on its next possession and North took advantage.

Stinson rolling out to his left and under heavy pressure found Ethan Rike with no one around him for a 74-yard catch and run as the Panthers went up 14-7 at 1:43 in the first quarter.

On the next couple series of possessions both teams had trouble maintaining control. Stammen recovered a North fumble on the 17-yard line to stop a drive and the next North possession Hunter Muir went up high in the air to snag a Stinson pass for the interception and the two teams went into the locker room with Ansonia trailing 14-7 at the half.

On the third play of the third quarter Mason Dreischarf broke free and went 63 yards expanding Tri-County North’s lead 20-7.

Tristen Hayslett picked off a Hunter Buckingham pass and returned it 30 yards for a North score at 1:36 putting the Panthers in control of the game with just a quarter to go 26-7.

Ansonia though never relented and with just 20 players on their team compared to 40 for Tri-County North, the Tigers actually seemed to be a little fresher in the final stanza.

The Tigers scored on their next possession with Sink breaking tackles on a couple of rushes, the final one going for 28 yards to the end zone. Add the extra point and Ansonia trailed 26-14 at 11:01.

Ansonia stopped the Panthers on the next drive at the 45-yard line on a big fumble recovery and the Tigers capitalized when Stammen got over the goal line on a 1-yard plunge. Just like that the Tigers were back in the ball game down 26-21 with 5:21 left to go.

Tri-County North kept its composure and put together a drive to seal the game for the visitors when Stinson took one in from 7 yards out for a 34-21 win.

Tri-County North improved to 1-1 on the year and 1-0 in the Cross-County Conference. North will host rival Twin Valley South (1-1) on Friday, Sept. 7.

Dale Barger

For The Register-Herald