WEST ALEXANDRIA — Tri-County North won its sixth straight match-up against Twin Valley South on the gridiron, ousting the home team 30-9 on Friday, Oct. 23.
“I thought the guys really stepped up. We rose to the occasion tonight,” said TCN head coach Bill Derringer. “It’s a great bounce back victory for us. We just got muscled last week.”
TVS got off to a quick start though, marching down the field in less than three minutes and scoring off a 13-yard slant pattern from quarterback Jacob Bassler to Sammy Shockey. The PAT made it 7-0 in favor of the home team.
“We decided we were going to come out at the beginning and put more press coverage on,” said Derringer. “Their first touchdown, we didn’t have a guy covered over the slot. I thought our defense did a great job from that point on. We bent but didn’t break.”
North didn’t take long to answer either, using less than three minutes to get on the board when Garrett Woodyard scored off a one yard dive. The snap on the extra point was botched, however, and South retained the lead at 7-6.
North threatened to score again at the beginning of the second quarter, but a fumble at the one yard line was recovered in the endzone by South.
TVS was unable to capitalize on the opportunity though. The swing in field position helped out South though, when a punt attempt from North sailed over the kicker’s head and out the back of the endzone, giving TVS a 9-6 lead with seven minutes left in the half.
North didn’t threaten again until the closing minute of the half, when Elmore took a pass to the 10-yard line before scoring on the next play off a pitch from quarterback Lane Gunder. North went for two and Elmore scored on the same exact play, putting them up 14-9 heading into the break.
“That was a little dagger. That sequence kind of deflated us,” said TVS head coach Tyler Cates. “North is a good football team. We just made some crucial mistakes.”
TCN then opened the second half on five minute drive that ended in a 32-yard field goal from Zach Edgin that sailed down the middle of the uprights, increasing their lead 17-9.
North’s defense continued to hold, especially limiting South’s leading receiver J.J. Utz. They played man coverage against the wideout but also roamed a safety above him, refusing to let him run deep on them.
“They double covered him and we didn’t take enough advantage of it on the other side,” said Cates. “Other people have to step up and make plays. We spittered and spattered, we made plays at time but there wasn’t that consistent rhythm. North got us out of rhythm.”
Woodyard put two more scores on South in the fourth quarter, first on a four yard run with just over nine minutes left and then on a seven-yard plunge with four minutes left, putting the game out of reach at 31-9. The final touchdown came after South gave them a short field when they were unable to convert on a fourth down.
The loss for South nearly eliminates their chance at making the playoffs and also puts them out of contention for the Cross County Conference championship.
It just deflates you,” said Cates. “You have playoffs, a possible conference championship against your rival – how sweet of a week. You couldn’t ask for a sweeter situation and then you lose. It’s going to be hard to get them up for next week but then our seniors know they only have one more week to play football and want to leave it all out there. That’s the kind of group this is. They aren’t going to pack it in.”
Woodyard led all rushers with 128 yards and three touchdowns on 22 attempts. Elmore added 117 yards and a score. Gunder went 5-for-7 for 41 yards on the night.
For South, Shockey had 37 yards on nine rushes and Bassler was 8-for-21 through the air for 77 yards a touchdown and an interception.
North host National Trail and South will travel to Miami East for the last game of the regular season on Friday, Oct. 30. Both games start at 7:30.
Jeremy can be reached at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.