LEWISBURG — National Trail took advantage of three second half turnovers by Tri-County North to pull away for a 33-14 win on Friday, Aug. 26, in the Western Ohio Athletic Conference opener for both football teams.
With the win, Trail improves to 1-1 overall and 1-0 in the WOAC, while TCN falls to 0-2 overall and 0-1 in the WOAC.
Trail coach Mark Hoffman praised the play of his team on both sides of the ball as the offense was able to turn the turnover by North into points.
“I didn’t think our offense was clicking last week. And I think we really came around and we put it together (this week),” Hoffman said. “We were more cohesive as a group. We worked really hard on the basics and the fundamentals. We worked on coming out on different counts. And I think our offensive line just kind of took charge. I thought they were physical upfront, although I think North’s got some physical kids. Every time you come down here, you’re in for a dogfight. These guys will go after you and that fullback, that VanWinkle kid, is the real deal. That boy is a stud.”
Trail rushed for 461 yards and five touchdowns.
Jamison Watts led the Blazers with 184 yards on five carries. He scored on runs of 67 and 96 yards as Trail outscored the Panthers 19-6 in the second half.
Cayden Clark had 161 yards on nine carries and scored twice. He scored on a 13-yard run in the first quarter to put his team up 7-0 and added a 65-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to put his team back in front 14-8.
Chase Ruebush added 75 yards on 14 carries.
For North, Colten VanWinkle had 27 carries for 204 yards and touchdown. Logan Flory rushed 16 times for 72 yards.
After Trail took a 7-0 lead Alex Klingenbarger returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown. A successful 2-point conversion gave North an 8-7 lead.
Trail then scored the next 26 points to take control.
“You can’t turn the football over,” North coach Trace Smitherman said. “And right now, are guys trying to do too much. They’re just trying. They’re hungry. They want to win. They’re trying to do too much. And unfortunately, it’s biting us in the butt.”
Trail is scheduled to travel to Preble Shawnee this Friday, Sept. 2. The Arrows are coming off a key 26-21 win over Tri-Village last week.
North is scheduled to travel to Miamisburg’s Harmon Field and battle Dayton Christian, also on Friday.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr