TIPP CITY — For the Tippecanoe football team, it was chance to put themselves in what will essentially be the MVL championship game next week at Piqua.
For Troy, it was the opportunity to take another body blow and keep on fighting.
And both teams did that Friday night in the Red Devils 31-16 victory over the Trojans.
Tipp improved to 6-1 overall and 6-0 in the MVL and faces Piqua, 7-0 overall and 6-0 in the MVL, Friday night.
“We have (put themselves in position to play for the MVL title),” Tipp coach Matt Burgbacher said. “We had a rough week one (a loss to Bellbrook) and have been playing well every since. But, the key to it is you have to be prepared every week. You have to pack your lunch every week in this league.”
Troy has dealt with a little bit of everything this year.
The Trojans, 3-3 overall and 3-2 in the MVL, couldn’t play week 2 because of Covid.
Then, they lost starting quarterback Josh Mayfield in week 3 — and Friday night, it was playing without coach Dan Gress.
Gress is expected to be back next week.
“These guys just keep taking what is thrown at them and keep going,” Trojan assistant coach Jason McGaharan said. “It has to be tough (playing without Gress). But, the two things that helped is the way he has them prepared and these kids themselves and the way they handle everything. I am really proud of them.”
And after a scoreless first quarter, Tipp began to take control.
The Red Devils got on the board early in the second quarter on a 17-yard TD run by Griffin Caldwell.
Jackson Kleather added the PAT and kicked a 25-yard field goal to make it 10-0.
“We had to come out and slug it out with them,” Burgbacher said.
Then came what both coaches agreed was the pivotal part of the game.
Troy put a drive together and on fourth-and-nine from the Tipp 29, Donnie Stanley’s pass was just out of the reach of Willie Ritchey in the end zone.
Tipp responded by going 71 yards on 12 plays and Liam Poronsky found Zach Butera in the end zone from 22 yards out with 16.8 seconds remaining in the half. Kleather’s kick made it 17-0 going to the break.
“That was huge,” McGaharan said. “That’s a 14-point swing right there.”
Burgbacher took it a step further.
Tipp took the second half kickoff and went 68 yards in 15 plays, with there uptempo power spread offense taking control.
Cayd Everhart ran it in from six yards out and Kleather’s kick made it 24-0 with 6:41 remaining in the third quarter.
“I thought the end of the first half and start of the second half were the most important part of the game,” Burgbacher said. “We got the score at the end of the half, then put a six-minute drive together to start the second half.”
Troy would not go down without a fight, scoring two touchdowns in the final quarter.
Jahari Ward had a five-yard TD run and Ritchie caught a pass from Stanley for the PAT.
After a 35-yard TD run by Everhart, Troy answered with a 40-yard TD pass from Stanley to Jack Kleinhenz.
Ward ran for the PAT to make the final margin 31-16.
“We gave up two touchdowns in the fourth quarter,” Burgbacher said. “But, that is because they are a good team.”
Poronsky completed 14 of 21 passes for 120 yards, connecting with five different receivers.
Butera had five catches for 58 yards and Rindler had six catches for 47 yards.
Everhart led the rushing attack with 190 yards on 30 carries.
He also led the defense with seven tackles and Lawson Cook had five.
“Our offensive line did a great job,” Burgbacher said. “I thought this was our most complete game.”
Stanley completed 11 of 23 passes for 149 yards for Troy, with Kleinhenz catching five passes for 107 yards.
Nick Kawecki had 69 yards on 18 carries and Ward added 44 yards on 11 carries.
Evan Jones led the defense with 10 tackles.
JJ McCoy had nine, Devon Strobel had eight and Christian Block and Aidan Coleman added seven each.
Wyatt Smith had six tackles and Kristifer Williams made five.
“I am just really proud of the guys and the effort they gave tonight,” McGaharan said.
While Tipp prepares for a big game with Piqua, Troy will host West Carrollton — looking to finish the season on a run and have Gress back on the sidelines.