TROTWOOD — It was a season unlike any other for Preble Shawnee’s football team.
For a school not known as a football powerhouse, this year’s team brought its community together like never before and along the way accomplished a lot of firsts.
First conference championship in school history.
First undefeated regular season in school history.
First Preble County team to win three playoff games in a season.
First Preble County team to win 13 games in a season.
Just the third Preble County team to reach a regional championship game (Twin Valley South in 1999 and Eaton in 2010).
That’s where the Arrows run ended in front of close to 2,000 people as Versailles toppled Shawnee 28-0 in a Division V, Region 20 championship game on Saturday, Nov. 20, at Trotwood-Madison’s Miami Valley Hospital SportsPlex.
”It stinks to lose, but you can’t take take anything from us, from what they were able to accomplish this year. They’ve got nothing to hang their heads about and hopefully it’s something that we can start a tradition and build off of and hopefully we make it back this far for many years to come,” Preble Shawnee coach David Maddox said.
“We knew we had a special team and we knew we had the ability to do those things but there’s a difference between having the ability and actually stepping out on the field and doing it.
“We’re very proud of them to be able to achieve the goals we set at the beginning of the season, and then like we talked last week, I think we exceeded expectations of a lot of people. Obviously we’ll chalk this season up as a success. It’s hard not to.”
Shawnee (13-1) put up a fight against a program used to playing deep into the state tournament, although the Tigers had not reached a state semifinal since 2004.
“Goodness gracious, that’s a great football team. They’re big, strong and fast. That’s kind of the complete package team right there,” Maddox said. “They were able to dominate up front, controlled the line of scrimmage and we couldn’t really stop them defensively. We played hard and did everything that we could do, we just weren’t able to match them up front.”
Versailles struck first on a 12-yard touchdown run by Jack Osborne with 5:15 left in the first quarter to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead.
The Arrows then drove to the Tigers’ 19-yard line before committing its first turnover of the game.
After forcing Versailles to punt Shawnee drove back into Tiger territory only to commit a second straight turnover.
This time Versailles made Shawnee pay.
The Tigers scored on a 15-yard touchdown run by Carson Bey with 1:23 to play in the first half for a 14-0 lead.
”We had a couple chances to score and I think if we were able to score it obviously looks a little bit different. We get a little bit of momentum with it and maybe things happen but regardless, you can’t make any mistakes against a good ball club like that,” Maddox said.
Shawnee attempted an onside kick to begin the second half and appeared to recover. However, the Arrows were penalized for touching the ball before it had traveled the mandatory 10 yards, thus giving the Tigers the ball at the Arrows 49-yard line.
Nearly four minutes later, the Tigers scored on a 16-yard pass as Trey Mills caught a Bey pass for a 21-0 lead.
Versailles added the final score of the night on a 7-yard touchdown run by Landon Henry with 9:18 left in the game.
Shawnee was held to just 145 yards of offense on the night, with 116 of those coming on the ground.
Brayden Doran rushed for 74 yards on 18 carries and Hunter Crockett added 47 yards on 14 carries.
Versailles rushed 281 yard and controlled the ball most of the game.
Copper Roell led the team with 13 tackles. Grady Hutchinson and Brody Lynch each had 10.
In all, the Arrows had just six offensive possessions on the night.
Shawnee graduates just three seniors — Crockett, Xavier Adams and Cole Hawkins.
”They were tremendous players and tremendous assets to the team and we’re going to miss those guys. But I hope that they can always always think back that they were a big part of building something,” Maddox said. “Hopefully our success will draw more interest from other kids. We get numbers up we can play a full JV schedule and then develop younger guys and so I think it’ll be good for the program.”
Maddox said its time to make room in the trophy case for a couple pieces of hardware.
”I’m glad to finally have a couple of trophies to put in our trophy case. Got a lot of basketball stuff in there. Now we can add some football to it,” he said. “Shawnee’s never been a big football school. Never had a real big, strong football program and that’s kind of what we set out to try and build.
“Our goal was to win a conference title. Then we started winning a couple playoff games then we thought we might have a shot here at the regional. Just to make it this far and get a runner up trophy that is something special that we will remember, players will remember forever and we will finally have a football banner hanging in the in the gym to look at.”
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr