SHARPSVILLE — The outcome came as no surprise because the two Hoosier Heartland Conference rivals had been there before, most noticeably a few weeks ago when Tri-Central drubbed Clinton Central, 35-0.
It was a near repeat here Friday night, but the 37-6 Trojan victory didn’t have nearly the zing as the first success mainly because TC roared away to a 21-0 command in the initial 10:42 of the contest and the Trojan defense totally dominated the CC offense.
Thereafter, the No. 8-rated Trojans settled for single touchdowns in the second and fourth quarters and added a safety early in the final segment.
The Bulldogs ventured into Trojan territory only twice the entire game other than their lone score at the end of the first period that came when quarterback Keenan Orr hit Jordan Petty for a 35-yard payoff, a play on which the Trojan defender fell down to clear the way.
Defense was the main Tri-Central ingredient as TC held the Bulldogs to 79 yards rushing in just 17 attempts, 25 of those yards came in the final moments when quarterback Keenan Orr broke away to the outside. Prior to that CC was thrown for six losses totaling 24 yards.
The Trojan defense made first downs a premium for Clinton Central as the Bulldogs managed just six in the first half — including just one via the rush — and they scratched out just three in the last two segments.
The victory was the ninth straight for the Trojans, a bit of history in that no TC team had ever won nine football contests in succession. Now sitting 9-1, the Trojans find themselves heading to Sheridan next Friday for a second time in three weeks.
“It’s tough to beat any team twice, but our defense was outstanding and controlled CC all the way,” TC coach George Gilbert said. “But after we got that 21-0 lead we got a little complacent, and we sure can’t play that way next week at Sheridan.