By Josh Brown
TIPP CITY — Tippecanoe knew what it had to do Friday night, at all costs.
And in the end, the Red Devils earned their first division victory as a member of the Greater Western Ohio Conference.
Evan Hamilton recovered a bad snap in the end zone to put Tippecanoe up with 10 minutes left to play, and Caiden Smith kicked a 20-yard field goal with roughly five minutes remaining for some insurance as the Red Devils (5-2, 1-1 GWOC American North Division) rallied to defeat Sidney 31-21 Friday at Tipp City Park.
“I think this was a must-win game for us,” Tippecanoe football coach Joel Derge said. “Our kids responded well to homecoming week and all that stuff. They came out and executed.
“This one was special. It happened at our home park. We got the job done tonight.”
Cole Barhorst was a workhorse for the Devils, carrying the ball 25 times for 192 yards and two touchdowns to lead the offense, and Quenten Williams added 75 yards and a score on 11 carries — but when it came down to it, everyone had a hand in the win.
Barhorst put Tippecanoe up 14-0 after one quarter, scoring on runs of 20 and 44 yards, but Sidney scored the next 21 unanswered points to take a 21-14 lead after three. Isaiah Bowser scored on a 1-yard run to make it 14-7 Tipp at halftime, then Conor Beer caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Dillon King to even things up. Bowser scored on a 16-yard run late in the third to give Sidney a seven-point lead.
But Williams scored on a 19-yard run with 10:08 left to play — but a missed extra point allowed Sidney to hold onto a 21-20 lead. The Devils pinned Sidney deep on the kickoff, and a snap went sailing over the quarterback’s head and into the end zone, where Hamilton fell on it to give the lead back to Tippecanoe — a lead that the Devils made 28-21 after a Niles Anderson two-point conversion.
“We were down seven with about 10 minutes to go in the fourth,” Derge said. “Our defense came up and got a touchdown, and then we added a field goal. Big turning point in the fourth quarter. We definitely capitalized on their mistake.”
Smith added the 20-yard field goal with 5:32 to play for some insurance, and the Devil defense did the rest.
“We moved the ball well offensively, and the defense played bend but don’t break football,” Derge said. “Our kids never gave up, and they got the job done. It was a good all-around win.”
Tippecanoe travels to Greenville — one of the few new division rivals the team had played in recent years coming into this season — in Week 8.
BROOKVILLE — Brookville may have scored 21 unanswered points in the first half and gone on to win Friday’s game at home.
But the Milton-Union Bulldogs (5-2) showed the same kind of determination that has them at the top of the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division, fighting back in the second half to push the Blue Devils — who were a regional finalist last season — to the brink in a 28-19 loss at Brookville.
Bailey Wallen scored on a 8-yard run and Alex Cherry caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Carter Pickens to give the Blue Devils a 14-0 lead after one, and Brett Filbrun scored on a 2-yard run to make it 21-0 at the break.
But the Bulldogs responded in the third quarter. Blake Smith caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Zach Vagedes to put Milton-Union on the board, only to have Wallen break a 65-yard touchdown run that made it 28-7 — which ended up being the game’s key insurance score. Smith caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Vagedes near the end of the third to make it 28-13, and Vagedes hit Craig Schlecht for an 11-yard touchdown for the only score of the fourth quarter — but the Bulldogs couldn’t convert the two-point conversion, it remained a two-score game, and Brookville hung on from there.
Milton-Union, which is still 3-0 in the SWBL Buckeye Division, sits only half-a-game back of Carlisle, which is currently 4-0 in division play and 5-2 overall. The Bulldogs travel to Carlisle in Week 8 with the division lead on the line.
PIQUA — Piqua kept pace with Troy as the only two unbeaten teams in Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division play Friday night, scoring 31 second-quarter points to put away Greenville 38-6.
A safety early in the second quarter provided the game’s first score for the Indians (5-2, 2-0 GWOC American North), then Ben Schmiesing scored on a 4-yard run roughly two minutes later. Dylan Cole returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown, and a bad snap into the end zone on the first play of Greenville’s next possession gave Piqua another safety, and an 18-0 lead.
Hayden Schrubb caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Austin Davis to give the Indians a 25-0 lead with 1:27 left before halftime, then Schmiesing returned an interception 35 yards for another defensive touchdown to make it 31-0 at the break — and give Piqua’s defense 18 points in the second quarter alone.
Allen Schrubb added a 5-yard touchdown run in the third to make it 38-0 before Greenville’s Logan Eldridge scored in the middle of the fourth on a 1-yard run to prevent the shutout.
Piqua travels to Butler for a Week 8 showdown against the defending division champion, which lost 49-19 at home against Troy Friday night.
BRANDT — Last season, Bethel snapped a three-game losing streak with a one-point victory against Twin Valley South.
This year, the Bees did it in more convincing fashion.
Bethel (4-3, 2-3 Cross County Conference) pulled away from Twin Valley South in the fourth quarter Friday night, ending a string of three straight losses with a 30-15 victory over the Panthers to keep their hopes alive in the Division VI, Region 22 playoff race.
The game was even through, with the teams tied 8-8 after one and 15-15 at the half. But Bethel got the game-winning touchdown and two-point conversion with 5:32 left to take a 23-15 lead, and put the game away with an insurance score two minutes later to seal the win.
Bethel travels to 2-5 National Trail in Week 8 and finishes the season at home against Ansonia and then at Arcanum, a Week 10 game that could decide whether or not the Bees qualify for the playoffs.
Hardin Northern 14
DOLA — Lehman won its fifth straight Friday night, blasting Hardin Northern 49-14 on the road to improve to 5-2 and 4-0 in the Northwest Central Conference.
Lehman hosts Fort Loramie in Week 8 for its final home game of the season — barring a potential home playoff game in Week 11. The Cavaliers currently sit in fourth place in the Division VII, Region 28 playoff standings, the last spot to host a postseason game.
DAYTON — After losing five straight to start the season, the Bradford Railroaders (2-5) began a winning streak Friday night, scoring the game’s first 31 points by halftime on the way to a 31-2 victory at Jefferson (0-7).
Bradford hosts Tri-Village in Week 8.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.