Tri-Central’s football team snapped a five-game losing streak with a 49-18 Hoosier Heartland Conference victory over Taylor on Friday night at Sharpsville.
The Trojans (3-5, 1-4 HHC) used an opportunistic defense and the ground game from their backfield trio of running backs Daetyn Horn and Caden Leininger and quarterback Felix Perez to lead them to a senior night victory. It also was TC’s first conference win.
Horn rushed for a school-record 288 yards on 22 carries, Leininger backed him with 115 yards on 19 carries and they had three rushing touchdowns apiece. and Perez had the other TC touchdown. Leininger also caught a two-point PAT pass from Perez and ran for another PAT. Perez also had a PAT run.
“Our focus all week was to be physical up front and we were. Thought we established the running game early and often. We executed well. We were physical, and our pursuit was excellent,” TC coach Shane Arnold said. “All-in-all, it was a great all-around night, a great senior night.”
Jav’Aire Patterson scored all three of Taylor’s touchdowns. His first touchdown came on a 9-yard run, capped off a game-opening drive and gave the Titans the early 6-0 lead. Taylor’s defense then stopped the Trojans on downs inside the red zone. The Titans (0-4 HHC and overall) picked up a first down on the ensuing possession but also Zach Landis injured.
The game was delayed between 10 and 15 minutes as Landis was placed on a backboard and carried off the field where he was placed on a stretcher and then taken to the hospital via the ambulance.
After the delay, Leininger intercepted a pass at the Taylor 33. The very next play, Horn ran 33 yards. Perez’s PAT pass to Leininger gave the Trojans an 8-6 lead at the 4:09 mark of the first quarter.
Horn set up TC’s next touchdown, recovering a Taylor fumble at the Titan 19. Two plays later, Perez scored on a 13-yard run. Leininger’s PAT run gave TC a 16-6 lead just 53 seconds into the second quarter.
The Trojans stopped the Titans on downs at the Taylor 37. Three plays later, Leininger scored on a 31-yard run and Perez’s PAT run upped the lead to 24-6 with 7:15 left in the second period. Patterson’s 65-yard TD run, however, cut the lead to 24-12 at halftime.
Tri-Central scored the first 25 points of the second half on two TD runs of 3 yards by Leininger, 57 and 1 yard by Horn.
Patterson’s third touchdown of the night came on a kickoff return with less than a minute remaining.
Michelle Garmon, Tipton Tribune
H. HEIGHTS 34, CASS 0
Hamilton Heights routed visiting Cass in a game that was for third place in the Hoosier Conference East Division.
The Huskies outgained the Kings 348-189 in total yardage. Guy Griffey was 17 of 30 passing for 213 yards and three touchdowns for Heights (5-3, 2-2). Trey Ehman had 12 carries for 93 yards and a TD.
L.J. Hillis was 12 of 25 passing for 128 yards for the Kings (2-5, 1-3). Cooper Frey led the receivers with six catches for 54 yards. Keaton Lewellen had an interception for the Cass defense. Haden McClain had 10 tackles.
The game was scoreless after one quarter of play before Heights scored 28 unanswered points in the second quarter to take a 28-0 lead at halftime. Heights added another touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“We lost our center and nose to a shoulder in the first half and had a hard time overcoming that hurdle mentally,” Cass coach Clayton Mannering said. “We battled for four quarters but a bad second quarter offensively and defensively was too much to overcome.”
Cass will travel to Twin Lakes next Friday for the Hoosier Conference seventh-place game.
AROUND THE AREA
Rensselaer beat Northwestern 43-8 in a non-division matchup of Hoosier Conference teams, dropping the Tigers to 0-7..
Clinton Prairie beat Carroll 14-12 in an HHC game. The Cougars dropped to 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the HHC.
In Three Rivers Conference games, Peru whipped Northfield 34-7, and Maconaquah dropped a 37-6 decision to Manchester. Peru (5-2, 5-1 TRC) moved into sole possession of second place in the league.