CAMDEN — Preble Shawnee’s football team lost its homecoming game, 38-13, to Madison, on Friday, Sept. 16.
The loss is the first in the Southwestern Buckeye League for the Arrows, who are now 0-1 in the Buckeye Division, and Madison retains possession of the annual “Totem Pole Trophy.”
The game was clearly the hardest-hitting contest of the season thus far for the Arrows, full of what appeared to be bone-jarring collisions by both teams.
A number of players were helped off the field after big hits and blindside collisions throughout the game. Unfortunately for the Arrows, it was the Mohawks who not only delivered more hits, but were more physical overall.
“We don’t do well under adversity, and we didn’t adapt to that in this game,” said coach Matt Hopkins. “I thought this was the worst we played all year in the first half. We were out of position too often, we made miscues too often.”
The opening kickoff was returned by Preble Shawnee, who started their drive on its own 28-yard-line. After two plays, of nine total yards, the Arrows tried a run on third down but was given a questionable spot short of the yards needed to convert for a first down.
Despite the shortage, quarterback Kevin Ketring dove through the middle of the line for a first down. A bad snap, a dropped pass, and an incomplete pass forced the team to punt.
But a fumbled punt snap saw the ball roll into the endzone, where a Mohawk defender was ruled in possession of the ball for a defensive touchdown with 8:47 left in the quarter.
Shawnee took the next kickoff and drove the ball down to the middle of the field before punting. On the first play, Madison ran off a huge run for 54 yards. Four plays later, Madison scored its second touchdown at the 1:50 mark, to take the lead to 14-0.
In the second quarter, conditions were no better for the home team, as they gave up a third touchdown to fall behind 21-0.
The Arrows found their extra energy on the next possession as they drove down the field in spurts to finally break the shutout with a pass from Ketring to Austin Moore for a touchdown. Madison, however, was able to hit a field goal before the halftime break, making the score 24-7.
“That touchdown we got gave us some life,” Hopkins said. “We stopped them defensively in holding them to a field goal and I thought we were going to come out and make this a game.”
On Shawnee’s first drive of the second half, the Arrows were able to move the ball on a quarterback scramble made possible by a block downfield on a Mohawk defender. Unfortunately on the next play, the Arrows suffered an interception by a defender who ran the ball back 80 yards for another defensive touchdown.
With only 9:18 remaining in the third quarter, Madison was up 31-7. But the Arrows ran a long drive later in the game which was was capped off by another touchdown pass from Ketring to Eli Gibson. The point after attempt kick failed, and Shawnee was down 31-13.
Madison, however, was able to put the game away in the fourth quarter with a punishing running game which ran out much of the clock. The Mohawks scored one more time. When the backup quarterback knelt down for the final play, the score was 38-13.
Ketring went 9-of-24 passing for 149 yards and two touchdowns, but threw three interceptions in the game. He also ran four times for 57 yards. Luke Lovely carried eight times for 26 yards, while Gibson ran five times for 24 yards. Moore led the receiving category with four catches for 65 yards and a score. Gibson hauled in two passes for 27 yards and a touchdown. Matt Hall had two receptions for 47 yards. Hall also had 10 tackles on the defensive side, but Alex Steele led the team with 11 stops. Devin Tutt made nine tackles on the night. Moore, Gibson, and Gunner Edwards each had seven tackles. Colton Pugh was in on six tackles, while Lovely and Tanner Crabtree each had five.
The Arrows had 206 total yards on offense, but suffered four turnovers, three interceptions and one fumble lost.
“We need to put this behind this,” Hopkins said. “I didn’t like the way we executed offensively. We just didn’t get into sync. They didn’t beat us, we beat ourselves.”
“We didn’t take advantage of our chances,” he added. “We had a pick six happen to us. Those defining moments didn’t go our way. This is a great lesson for our kids to never feel like this again, — use this loss to improve ourselves and get better. It’s a very hard thing to do to win all of our games. By no means are we out of the conference race. We are a physical team in a physical conference. We need to move on and rebound.”
The next opponent for Preble Shawnee will be Buckeye Division foe Milton-Union, on Friday, Sept. 23. The Arrows are now 3-1 overall.
Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH