OXFORD — The Talawanda varsity football team scored 45 points in their conference opener against Little Miami — and they needed every one of them. The Braves picked up their first win of the season on Friday, Sept. 24, and celebrated homecoming with a 45-44 victory over the Panthers.
After the two teams combined for 12 touchdowns, a failed two-point conversion decided the game. Little Miami’s Lucas Patten had 372 yards on 33 carries and five touchdowns, but the Talawanda defense would not let him cross the goal line on a two-point conversion that would have given the Panthers the lead with 1:43 left to play.
Talawanda senior quarterback Logan Kamphaus led the charge for the Braves, accounting for five touchdowns, four passing and one rushing. Kamphaus completed 13 of 28 passes for 233 yards and four TDs. In addition, the Braves’ senior also rushed for 151 yards on 21 carries, with a touchdown on the ground.
Kamphaus completed passes to five different receivers, including touchdown throws to Andrew O’Donnel, Luke Croucher and Kevin Engelhard. Blake Bryan also caught three balls for 80 yards, including a key 45-yard reception in the third quarter.
Little Miami opened the scoring on their first possession and the game started as their Braves games with Talawanda down early. The Panthers scored on a 49-yard run to take a 7-0 lead.
But Talawanda responded on their first possession and got the momentum back. The touchdown came on a “flea-flicker” in which a Braves running back took the hand-off, threw a backwards pass back to Kamphaus who delivered a touchdown pass to Croucher who was wide open.
On the ensuing Little Miami possession, the Panthers’ again scored a touchdown and regained the lead 14-7. However, with time winding down in the first quarter, the Braves scored again after the defense was able to hold and get the ball back. Kamphaus connected with O’Donnell for an 18-yard touchdown. The quarter ended 14-14.
Talawanda’s defense stopped the Panthers again in the second quarter with an interception by Caleb Owens. The turnover set up another Braves’ touchdown drive, giving them their first lead, 21-14. Kevin Englehard scored the touchdown on a 15-yard pass.
Little Miami answered with a score in the final minutes of the first half, leaving the game tied, 21-21 at the break.
The Braves opened the second half with 10 unanswered points. They converted on their opening possession and scored on an 11-yard run by Kamphaus. The extra point was good and Talawanda led 28-21.
On the ensuing kick off, the Panthers fumbled and Talawanda recovered on their own 24 yard line. Little Miami was able to keep the Braves out of the end zone, but Talawanda’s Engelhard connected on a field goal for a 31-21 lead.
Talawanda extended their lead in the fourth quarter as Kamphaus connected with Croucher for a second time. The 17-yard touchdown pass put the Braves ahead 38-21.
Little Miami would make the game interesting in the final period, scoring two touchdowns and closing the gap to 38-35. The Braves would extend the lead to 45-35, when Tyler Prater scored on an 87-yard kickoff return. Prater had a great overall game with 112 yards in kickoff returns, 34 yards rushing and an interception.
The Panthers were not done, however. Little Miami kicked a field goal to pull within a score, 45-38. LM then score a touchdown late in the game to pull within a point, 45-44. The Talawanda defense then stepped up, denying the two-point conversion and sealing the win.
The Braves remain at home this Friday, hosting Harrison. Harrison is 2-3 on the season, 1-1 in the SWOC. They were defeated in their last game by Edgewood, 44-28.
(Some information provided by the Southwest Ohio Conference website.)