By Josh Brown
LEWISTOWN — Down 10 at halftime, Tippecanoe knew something had to change.
Not much, but something.
“We just tried some different formations, different levels of attacking them, different gaps,” Tippecanoe coach Joel Derge said. “We were fortunate enough to come out in the second half with the ball, got some bigger runs — and that gave the kids some excitement and enthusiasm.”
That proved to be enough.
Tippecanoe (5-0) took the lead with roughly eight minutes to play, and the Red Devil defense made two critical stops — one on a goal-line stand, and the other with Indian Lake (3-2) driving in the final minute — to hold on for a 17-13 victory Friday night at Indian Lake.
Indian Lake’s offense actually outgained the Devils 346-202, but the Tippecanoe defense forced three second-half turnovers and gave the offense a short field to work with all night.
Dylan Shomper’s 27-yard field goal was the only offense Tippecanoe could manage in the first half, and even in the second half the Devils couldn’t break off their trademark long gainers, with their longest runs being in the teens.
The Devils strung together a drive, though, and Chris Garber punched it in from a yard out to cut the Lakers’ lead to 13-10 after three.
Tippecanoe then cashed in a bad snap on an Indian Lake punt, with Brandon Gotthardt scoring on a 21-yard touchdown run to give Tippecanoe the lead — with most of the fourth quarter still to play.
“Our defense definitely came up big,” Derge said. “With about five minutes left, they drove it down to our 8-yard line, but we held. We had to punt it back to them with about two minutes left, and they started driving again — but Riley Hadden came up with an interception to seal it.
“And that was after Indian Lake had converted on a fourth-and-10, too. The kids faced adversity all night, but they fought through it. Credit our defense and special teams for this one. This game was all about field position and defense. If not for them, we don’t win this one.”
Tippecanoe opens Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division play at home against Springfield Shawnee in Week 6.
Preble Shawnee 14
WEST MILTON — Milton-Union’s already proved it knows how to win a close game against a good team — multiple times this season, actually.
Friday, the Bulldogs showed they could be in control from start to finish, too.
Milton-Union (4-1, 2-0 Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division) built a 17-0 lead by halftime, then Joey Swafford returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown to put the Bulldogs firmly in the driver’s seat as they closed out a three-game homestand with a 31-14 victory over division foe Preble Shawnee.
“The kids fought hard tonight,” Milton-Union coach Mark Lane said. “My assistants and I took a gameplan and threw it at them, and they went out and executed it well.
“This was also the second week in a row our defense forced a safety on the first drive of the game. Offense, defense, special teams, we played well in all three.”
Kaleb Rue ran for 72 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries and Zac Shields had 85 yards on 20 carries, and quarterback Blake Smith was 3 for 5 for 56 yards and a touchdown — with Swafford making all three catches, adding the receiving touchdown to his 85-yard kickoff return for a score.
“It feels great (being 4-1),” Lane said. “There’s nothing better than when your kids are buying into what you’re selling them. This is a true team. The kids all believe in each other.”
Milton-Union travels to Madison in Week 6.
Miami East 48,
Miss. Valley 7
CASSTOWN — With the first half of the season now officially over, Miami East’s true test begins.
“Everyone talks about running the gauntlet in the Cross County Conference. This is our gauntlet,” Miami East coach Max Current said. “It’s going to get really tough after tonight.”
Miami East finished the first half of the year 4-1, 4-0 in the CCC, with a dominant performance on homecoming night, a 48-7 victory over visiting winless Mississinawa Valley Friday.
Kurt Brower ran for 207 yards and four touchdowns on only 10 carries, scoring on runs of 8, 3, 35 and 76 yards. Arron Adams had three carries for 103 yards and a 50-yard touchdown, Logan May had four carries for 73 yards and a 32-yard score and Levi Adducchio had five carries for 76 yards and a 54-yard score.
By the time halftime arrived, the Vikings led 48-0, and their starters didn’t see the field in the second half. Miami East piled up 555 rushing yards and none through the air.
The Vikings travel to Bethel in Week 6, the beginning of a stretch of five opponents with a combined record of 17-6.
“Kurt, Logan, all of our backs ran hard tonight,” Current said. “We got good blocking out of the line, and the kids looked aggressive tonight. Our schedule gets really tough now, though. The next five games are going to make or break our season.”
TCN 28, Bethel 0
LEWISBURG — Tri-County North (4-1, 4-0 Cross County Conference) shut out Bethel Friday night, running its streak of scoreless quarters posted to nine straight with a 28-0 victory over the Bees.
Garrett Woodyard scored three touchdowns in the game to hand Bethel its second straight loss.
Bethel (2-3, 1-2 CCC) returns home to face rival Miami East in Week 6.
Piqua 37, Fairborn 17
PIQUA — The Piqua football team couldn’t wait to get back on the field Friday night and put a two-game losing streak behind them.
The Indians showed that early, jumping out to a 24-3 lead, then delivered the knockout blow at crunch time in the second half in a 37-17 win over Fairborn at Alexander Stadium/Purk Field.
The teams traded field goals early, then Darien Tipps-Clemons scored on runs of 6 and 8 yards and Nate Monnin recovered a punt in the end zone for another touchdown to make it 24-3 Piqua. Fairborn closed the gap with back-to-back touchdowns, but Tipps-Clemons broke a 55-yard run to put the game away, and Allen Schrubb scored on a 47-yard run to ice it.
Piqua (3-2) hosts Butler in Week 6 to open Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division play.
Lehman 28, Perry 25
LIMA — Lehman (2-3) drove 75 yards in the final two minutes of Friday’s game at Northwest Central Conference foe Perry, scoring a late touchdown to steal a 28-25 victory.
Lehman travels to 5-0 Riverside in Week 6.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.