NEW PARIS — A balanced attack by Tri-County North led the Panthers to a 22-0 victory over the hosting National Trail Blazers on last weekend.
The inter-county and inter-conference game began on Friday, Aug. 27 before being called due to lightning throughout the area – the game was resumed on Saturday morning at 10 a.m.
In the Friday portion of the game, North received the ball to begin the contest, starting at their own 23-yard line.
From there, the Panthers commenced a backbreaking 14-play, 9:53 drive that resulted in a one-yard touchdown (and two-point conversion) by senior Luke Eby to give North an 8-0 lead.
On the drive, Eby rushed for 14 yards on six carries, while sophomore quarterback Logan Flory completed three passes for 47 yards, including a conversion on fourth-and-five to senior Brett Woodyard near the Blazers’ 30-yard line.
Trail finally got the ball with under two minutes remaining in the first but couldn’t get things going on offense, going three-and-out after an incompletion on third-and-eight.
With 29.3 remaining in the first, North got the ball back at their own 20-yard line and proceeded to embark on another 14-play drive, this time taking over seven minutes off the clock.
Flory dominated on the drive again, as Flory completed four passes, including one for a touchdown, before walking in a two-point conversion to give the Panthers a 16-0 lead. Flory’s three-yard touchdown pass went to sophomore Alex Klingenbarger.
The Blazers got the ball back with 5:10 remaining in the half, but despite a late hit penalty by North that put Trail first-and-10 at North’s 35-yard line, the Blazers turned the ball over on downs three players later after an incomplete pass on fourth-and-seven.
North had the ball with 2:43 left in the half, but a slow start to the drive led to the Panthers kneeling out the half with a 16-0 lead.
As the bands began to take the field, a weather delay was called due to lightning, and the game itself would eventually be postponed until the next morning.
On Saturday, perhaps due to the stop-and-start nature of the contest, both teams started slow and were held out of the endzone in the third quarter.
Later, Eby capped off the game with an additional rushing touchdown in the fourth to make the final 22-0.
The senior finished with 145 yards on 37 carries, good for 3.9 yards per carry, and two rushing touchdowns. He also caught one pass for 21 yards.
Flory was 8-for-11 for 104 yards, plus a passing touchdown, with 39 rushing yards on eight carries.
Woodyard (33 yards) and sophomore Colten Vanwinkle (27 yards) led the team with two receptions each.
Junior Jon Shirley led the Panthers on defense with five tackles and one for loss. Eby finished with an interception and three tackles, and freshman Jeffery Ricketts and sophomore Brayden Dawson each had a sack. Dawson also had three tackles (one for loss), one forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
North will host Bradford this week, and National Trail will welcome Preble Shawnee. Both games are set for 7 p.m.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles