WEST ALEXANDRIA — The Twin Valley South football team earned its second victory of the season on Friday, Sept. 16, beating the visiting Ansonia Tigers 35-20.
The game was a hard-fought contest in which TVS never trailed but had to fight to keep its lead at the half after a rally by the Tigers in the second quarter.
But the second half was all Panthers, adding an insurmountable lead to seal the victory.
“The boys played hard tonight,” said TVS coach Clint Bartlett. “We went against a tough team, even though their record may not indicate otherwise. The boys executed the game plan and got another win.”
In the first quarter, the Panthers received the opening kickoff and returned the ball about 70 yards to start their first drive of the game. They were able to punch into the end zone on a Mike Meyers to Cade Cottingim pass. The defense for TVS held the Tigers on their first drive, then scored again on the next drive. Meyers ran a quarterback sneak close to the goal for a 15-0 lead into the second quarter.
But Ansonia didn’t call it quits. The Tigers came back and scored two rushing touchdowns to narrow the score to 15-12 at the half.
In the second half, the TVS defense held Ansonia to a 3-and-out series. On the first drive of the second half, the Panthers hit a couple of passes to move the ball against the Tiger defense. The drive was complemented by a Meyers touchdown run, his second of the game.
A few minutes later, Ryan Bassler gained his first touchdown in the game to add to South’s lead, while Ryan Johnson finished with a touchdown of his own on a long run into the end zone.
TVS led 35-12 at the end of the third quarter.
“Both touchdowns allowed were runs by Ansonia,” said Bartlett. “Coach Eugene Hoening has been around for over 30 years, had 200 wins or more. He knows the game of football better than anyone in the league. They came back on us and were just chewing up yards on us — they were able to exploit several flaws in our defense, and they were in the game even when we were up 35-12.”
The fourth quarter saw no score by Twin Valley, as they substituted most of their starters with JV players. Ansonia did close out the game with a touchdown followed by a two point-after attempt. The visitors tried an onside kick to continue a late game rally, but the ball was recovered by South, who ran out the final clock.
“We got late in the fourth to get younger kids to play,” said Bartlett. “They hit a pass on us and scored in the fourth but at the end of the day, I was happy to see our play. Good night offensively, and the defense stepped up and played pretty well.”
On the night, TVS amassed 415 total yards on offense. Bassler had 18 carries for 128 yards and one score. Andrew Augspurger ran for 114 yards on 17 carries, Johnson had three carries for 75 yards and a touchdown, while Meyers completed six of eight passes for 88 yards and one touchdown. He also ran for two touchdowns.
Troy Bowers had two catches for 30 yards, and Bassler had two catches. Cade Cottingim had a lone touchdown catch. TVS had a fumble recovered on a kickoff coverage by Blake Holp on a hard hit by Charles Lainhart who knocked the ball loose. Johnson picked off a pass late in the third quarter.
“Andrew gets the hard yard for us,” said Bartlett. “He doesn’t get a lot of the touchdowns but he is the guy we call on to get the tough yards. We know he’s going to get those yards.”
“Meyers, Lainhart, Cottingim at safety, Bassler at corner — everyone played well defensively to get the victory,” Bartlett said.
Up next for the Panthers is a trip to Arcanum.
“We go up against Arcanum next week,” he added. “They may be the best 0-4 team in Ohio and we need to play a fantastic game against them.”
The remainder of the schedule is tougher.
“Covington is undefeated, TCN is playing well, Miami East is 3-1 and playing well,” Bartlett said. “So there are lots of teams with good records, every conference game is huge and every game is important to win the championship — and right now, it’s anyone’s race. The kids are playing hard and buying into the system.”
The game against CCC foe Arcanum will occur on Friday, Sept. 23. Twin Valley South is now 2-2 on the season, and 2-0 in the CCC.
Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH