LEWISBURG — The Tri-County North football team opened Cross County Conference play by hosting Ansonia on Friday, Sept. 2, winning in convincing fashion, 42-7.
TCN had 507 total yards on offense; 358 yards rushing and 149 yards passing on the night. Though the Panther defense allowed 227 yards of rushing from the Tigers, they allowed only one touchdown.
Ansonia owned more than 60 percent of the possession clock, but the Panthers made the most of it when they had the ball. Not once did TCN punt the ball during the game.
“I think we recovered well from the Brookville loss,” said coach Bill Derringer. “We looked at the films and we adjusted well. Very proud of the team to have played as well as they did.”
Ansonia opened the game with a fairly good offensive drive which gained yards and chewed up the clock, but sputtered out on downs. TCN took control and marched down the field but was stopped from a touchdown and settled to go for a 40-yard field goal attempt which missed the uprights, ending their drive.
Ansonia responded with a 16-play drive which took the ball close to the endzone, but was stopped on a fourth-and-short play close to the Panthers’ red zone and ended on downs.
From then on, TCN scored on each and every drive for the rest of the game, with the exception of a drive in the second quarter which ran out of time on the game clock.
The Panthers first touchdown came on a sweep play from Alex Kerby for seven yards. The point-after attempt was blocked, leaving the score only 6-0.
The second quarter saw the Panthers stage a long drive which was capped off with a touchdown on a pass from senior Bo Hendrickson to senior running back Gavin Overholtz, for 29 yards. The two-point conversion pass to tight end Clifton Conway was good and TCN went up 14-0.
North had a chance to score a third touchdown on its next possession, but the clock ran out and the teams went into the locker rooms with the haftime score at 14-0.
Ansonia never recovered, suffering from 28 points allowed by their defense in the second half. In the third quarter, TCN took the kickoff and complemented their drive with a 25-yard touchdown run from Overholtz. Their next possession was equally rewarding, with Hendrickson to Kerby on a screen pass that went for 30 yards and downed out of bounds at the five-yard line.
The drive was finished off with a 3-yard touchdown run from workhorse Tanner Booth.
At the end of the third quarter, TCN was sporting a commanding 28-0 lead.
Early in the fourth quarter, Hendrickson threw his second touchdown pass of the contest, this time to Overholtz, for 53 yards. At that point, the score was 35-0 which by Ohio High School Athletic Association regulations, allows the game clock to continue running without stoppage unless the losing team breaks the 30-point barrier.
Ansonia did that later in the game, scoring on a touchdown run from Trevor Beam for a 35-7 score. As time ticked by, the Panthers implemented many JV and backup players to finish out the rest of the game. With about 1:10 left in the game, freshman running back Tristen Hayslett ripped off a 78-yard touchdown on sweep play.
The final outcome was a 42-7 victory.
Hendrickson was an efficient 8-of-12 passing for 149 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions. Booth led the rushing attack with 15 carries for 188 yards and one touchdown. Overholtz was rushed six tims for 60 yards and a score, Kerby chipped in 10 yards on four carries, Jacob Brown ran for a 10-yard gain, and Hendrickson scrambled for 12 yards on four rushes. Overholtz hauled in three catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, Chase Gunder led the team with 12 total tackles. Sophomore Wyatt Hutchins had 11 tackles from the defensive end spot. Tackle Dakota Dixon was logged in with nine tackles, and Chandler Sproles had eight stops. Middle linebacker Booth was credited for seven tackles, while Overholtz, Drake Coleman, Conway, and Preston Jackson each had six tackles apiece.
“Anytime you can have 500 yards of offense it’s a good thing. Our defense bent but didn’t break,” Derringer said. “They were able to prevent long drives that ended in a score and I’m happy for that. We controlled the tempo of the game for the most part when we had the ball, even though they had more time of possession. We felt pretty positive in getting younger guys on the field. But probably the most important thing was that we came out healthy. We lost James Fry, our tight end, probably for the season last week, so we came out in good shape this time. And we didn’t suffer any turnovers.
“Tanner has over 300 yards in two games so he’s really playing well,” Derringer added. “Overholtz didn’t score last week but this time he’s touched the ball and made the most of it. Our offensive lines did a great job of opening the holes and keeping the pass rush off of our quarterback. Defensively, I think our team is getting better. We have Booth at MLB, Coleman at safety, who has really covered a lot of ground and I hope his good play continues.”
The Panthers will be on the road next Friday, Sept. 9, at Arcanum. TCN is now 1-1 on the season, and 1-0 in the CCC.
Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH