TROY — The Tri-County North Panthers lost 35-7 to Troy Christian in a non-conference showdown on Friday, Oct. 7. The Eagles benefited from an impressive performance by their read-option quarterback, Hayden Hartman, who accounted for all of Troy Christian’s points and 80 percent of their total yards of offense.
“We really struggled to stop their quarterback — we were expecting them to come out with a passing attack the way Covington did to us last week,” said TCN coach Bill Derringer. “But they ran the ball with their read-option and they controlled the line of scrimmage. Whenever you dominate the front lines, you win, and we failed to control the scrimmage lines. We’ve been controlling the lines much of the season until now.”
Neither team was able to produce points in their opening drives, but managed to move the ball for several first downs. At the five minute mark in the first quarter, the Eagles scored the first touchdown of the evening on a 4-yard pass, set up by a big pass play on 4th and 12. North had a drive end on an errant pass, which was picked off inside the Eagle red zone. The scoreboard was then locked at 7-0 for the rest of the first quarter.
The second quarter saw another North pass picked off, after being tipped into the air by a defensive lineman. A third interception occurred late in the half, setting up a Troy Christian touchdown on a 4-yard quarterback keeper. At the half, Troy Christian was up 14-0.
Troy Christian held North’s offense to a punt in the opening drive of the third quarter, and responded with a 36-yard slant pass that went for a third Eagle touchdown. The extra-point kick was blocked by the Panther defense, making the score 20-0.
TCN was able to finally reach the end zone on a breakaway, 45-yard run by Tanner Booth, to bring the Panthers back into the game, 20-7. The Eagles, however, struck back with yet another successful quarterback keeper who raced 45 yards for a touchdown. This time, Troy Christian made a 2-point extra try to make the score 28-7.
The host wasn’t done yet. After stopping North on downs, Troy Christian was able to score once more on a 21-yard pass into the corner of the end zone.
The fourth quarter was a scoreless affair.
North quarterback Bo Hendrickson had four completions on 12 pass attempts for 37 yards. Booth carried the team offensively, gaining 154 yards on 21 carries and one touchdown.
Booth, Braden Gray, and Chase Gunder each had 12 tackles. Liam Downing added eight stops, while Zach Edgin, Chandler Sproles, and Wyatt Hutchins each had five tackles.
“We were trying to get more people in the box to stop the run, but we got beat in our man-to-man coverage a few times and we got burned because of it,” said Derringer. “We just have to get better in our coverage.
“We still have a chance for the playoffs if we can win out from here on,” he added. “We no longer control our own destiny, we are going to need some help from other factors to help get us in. But we have to win out no matter what — we have to take one game at a time and our schedule doesn’t get any easier. Playoffs or not, there is still a lot to play for.”
Tri-County North will travel to Miami East on Friday, Oct. 14. Miami East is second in the CCC with a 5-1 record. The Panthers are now 4-3 overall.
Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH