T-Bolts top Red Devils


By Josh Brown

jbrown@troydailynews.com

TIPP CITY —As his Red Devils walked off the field Friday night, Tippecanoe football coach Joel Derge didn’t want any more reminders of what had just happened.

“I wish they’d turn that off,” he said, gesturing toward the scoreboard. “We’re not used to having a running clock against us.”

From the first play from scrimmage, things simply didn’t go Tippecanoe’s way.

Northmont forced a fumble and took the ball away on the game’s opening possession, and the Thunderbolts ended the first half with 21 unanswered points to take a 25-point lead at the break. And though the Red Devils fought to get back into the game, Northmont was able to put away a 44-12 victory to spoil Tippecanoe’s home opener Friday night at Tipp City Park.

With the loss, Tippecanoe fell to 2-1, while Northmont — the first Division I team the Devils have faced in years — improved to 2-1.

“They were a big test,” Derge said of the Thunderbolts. “Two years ago, we looked at scheduling them. They’re a good team, and they don’t have a lot of guys that go both ways (play offense and defense). We have a lot of guys that go both ways. But they’re our players, and we’ve got to own that, and we’ve got to get better.

“I love the kids we have. I love our community, our coaches, our administration. Everything’s got to go in the same direction — and it is. We just ran into a tough, tough opponent with some very good athletes.”

Tippecanoe’s defense recovered momentarily after losing that fumble on the game’s first play, but a quick three-and-out by the offense allowed the T-Bolts to set up at the Red Devil 40-yard line. Northmont drove the ball to the 5 before being forced backwards, and it had to settle for a 25-yard field goal by Brandon Goodwin that gave the T-Bolts a 3-0 lead with 7:23 left in the first quarter.

“We got the ball, and turning the ball over on the first play is obviously not good,” Derge said. “But our defense got the stop, and then they got another stop and held them to a field goal.”

Northmont forced another three-and-out, and the offense went right back to work, going 57 yards on seven plays for the game’s first touchdown. A 33-yard pass from Miles Johnson to Donavin Wallace set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Devin Kenerly, giving Northmont a 10-0 lead at the 3:40 mark of the opening quarter.

Tippecanoe finally got its offense moving, though, setting out on an eight-play, 63-yard drive. On third-and-5, fullback Cole Barhorst set up in the wildcat at quarterback, slipping through a couple arm tackles and breaking a 35-yard touchdown run up the middle to put points on the board, and the Devils cut the lead to 10-6 early in the second quarter after the extra point was blocked.

The T-Bolts were quick to answer, though. A 10-play, 66-yard drive — a drive that featured Johnson going 5 for 5 passing — was capped off by a 1-yard Johnson sneak on third-and-goal, making the score 17-6 with 8:08 left in the half. The Devil offense then stalled again after a sack by Jestin Jacobs, and five plays later Johnson hit Jabari Perkins over the middle for a 44-yard touchdown strike that pushed the lead to 24-6 with 3:32 left in the half.

One more three-and-out by the Tippecanoe offense gave the T-Bolts one last chance, and a roughing the kicker penalty on third-and-17 from its own 30 allowed Northmont’s drive to continue. After a series of short completions, with Perkins and Wallace getting out of bounds quickly each time, Johnson hit Drake Hickman on a 12-yard fade wide open in the back corner of the end zone to make the score 31-6 at halftime.

The Tippecanoe offense was held to only 99 yards in the first half — all rushing — with Cole Barhorst racking up 71 of those on nine carries. Northmont’s Johnson, meanwhile, was 15 for 20 for 182 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, with Wallace grabbing seven passes for 93 yards. In total, the T-Bolts had 266 yards of offense at the break.

“They were able to kind of do what they wanted offensively,”Derge said. “And offensively, we were struggling to move the ball.”

To start the second half, Northmont took the ball 68 yards in seven plays to take a 31-point lead and turn on the running clock. Johnson connected on his third touchdown pass of the night, hitting Perkins on a 17-yard slant to make it 37-6 with 9:04 left in the third. And the first play from scrimmage after forcing another three-and-out, Johnson hooked up with Hickman on an 85-yard touchdown pass, with Hickman winning the fight for the ball in the air at the Tippecanoe 40 then breaking a tackle and taking it the rest of the way to make it 43-6 with 6:16 left in the quarter to make sure the clock kept running.

Cole Barhorst was able to punch in one final touchdown from two yards out with 2:02 remaining to cap off a lengthy drive for the Devils, but by then it was too late.

“I think our guys were focused coming into this game,” Derge said. “We were focused and well prepared. We’ve just got to work a little harder in the weight room, get a little stronger and a little faster and improve from here.”

Johnson finished the night 22 for 29 for 349 yards with four touchdowns and a fourth-quarter interception by Clay Barhorst. Kenerly rushed for 83 yards and a score on 13 carries as the T-Bolts piled up 576 yards of total offense to Tippecanoe’s 208.

Cole Barhorst led the Devils with 115 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.

Things don’t get any easier for the Red Devils in Week 4 — Tippecanoe hosts Division III power Trotwood next week.

Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.

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Josh Brown/Troy Daily News Tippecanoe’s Josh Burritt beats a Northmont defender around the end Friday at Tipp City Park.
http://www.tdn-net.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2017/09/web1_090917jb_tipp_joshburritt.jpgJosh Brown/Troy Daily News Tippecanoe’s Josh Burritt beats a Northmont defender around the end Friday at Tipp City Park.

Josh Brown/Troy Daily News Tippecanoe’s Cole Barhorst plows his way up the middle for a short gain against Northmont Friday.
http://www.tdn-net.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2017/09/web1_090917jb_tipp_colebarhorst.jpgJosh Brown/Troy Daily News Tippecanoe’s Cole Barhorst plows his way up the middle for a short gain against Northmont Friday.

Josh Brown/Troy Daily News Tippecanoe’s Matt Garber (50) and Josh Walland (11) wrap up Northmont’s Devin Kenerly in the backfield Friday night at Tipp City Park.
http://www.tdn-net.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2017/09/web1_090917jb_tipp_JoshWalland_MattGarber.jpgJosh Brown/Troy Daily News Tippecanoe’s Matt Garber (50) and Josh Walland (11) wrap up Northmont’s Devin Kenerly in the backfield Friday night at Tipp City Park.

Josh Brown/Troy Daily News The Tippecanoe Red Devils run onto the field for their home opener against Northmont Friday at Tipp City Park.
http://www.tdn-net.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2017/09/web1_090917jb_tipp_opening.jpgJosh Brown/Troy Daily News The Tippecanoe Red Devils run onto the field for their home opener against Northmont Friday at Tipp City Park.
Tipp can’t hold off Northmont in home opener