Game of the Week

Orrville topples Triway to win PAC-7 football title

The Orrville Red Riders traveled to Jack Miller Field to face fellow Principals Athletic Conference and longtime rival Triway to wrap up the regular season football schedule for both schools. The Riders rolled to the 44-0 victory behind another stuffing of the stat sheet by super-sophomore Marquael Parks and a stout performance from Orrville’s defense with their second shutout in a row.

Both teams had something to prove going into this game. Orrville (8-2, 6-1) needed to stay healthy, earn a rivalry win and build momentum for next week’s playoff game as a potential one or two seed in their region. Triway (2-8, 0-7) was in search of a signature upset over a conference rival to strengthen a young program’s foundation for next season. Though the Titans didn’t get the victory they were looking for, the future looks bright for the purple and white, and both teams walked away from this game with their heads held high.

Orrville was looking to jump on Triway early. That is exactly what they did, and it all started with the Red Riders defensive unit when Burl Pumphrey broke loose and forced Triway’s sophomore quarterback Ty Durbin to cough up the football, giving Orrville’s offense the ball in the red zone.

Orrville’s senior quarterback Logan Domer wasted little time in capitalizing on the excellent field position when he connected with fellow senior Payton Brown for a 15-yard scoring strike (extra point attempt failed) to give the Red Riders the early 6-0 lead.

Orrville’s defense forced another Titan turnover with 6:49 left in the opening quarter, and Parks found the end zone two minutes later when he carried the ball 23 yards for the score on a nifty stutter step toward the right pylon, beating a couple of Titan defenders to score (Cain Duskey XP was good) to push Orrville’s advantage to 13-0.

Triway’s offense found some rhythm on their next drive and moved the ball downfield after being pinned deep in their own territory to start their possession. It looked like the Titans had Orrville’s defense rattled until the Titans were forced to punt on fourth and seven. However, Orrville jumped the snap early, and Triway decided to go for it on fourth and two, but the Red Riders stuffed the rushing attempt, and Triway turned the ball over on downs with 1:43 left in the first quarter. Two plays later Parks threw a beautiful pass to Domer, who caught the ball in stride for a 36-yard touchdown (Duskey XP was good), and the route was officially on with Orrville holding a 20-0 lead to end the first quarter.

Parks struck again for his third touchdown of the night when he received the direct snap and scampered 29 yards for the score (Duskey XP was good), giving Orrville a 27-0 lead with 5:57 left in the half. Three minutes later Parks struck again after Pumphrey and Ben Amstutz blew up the Titan backfield for another loss of downs. Domer handed the ball off to Parks, who jetted straight up the left hash marks and ran cleanly to pay dirt behind some next-level blocking from his lineman. Orrville had extended their lead to 34-0 with 2:57 to go before halftime.

One minute later Parks picked off a passing attempt from Durbin, and it looked like Orrville might tack on another scoring drive. However, Triway’s defense rose to the occasion and forced the Red Riders to punt after stopping Parks on Orrville’s 12-yard line with 0:20 to go in the half.

Triway would have decent field position for the first time all night to start an offensive series, but it lasted one play when Orrville’s Amstutz picked off a Durbin passing attempt and sealing the Red Rider’s 34-0 lead at the intermission.

The Titans came out of the locker room with nothing to lose and successfully recovered an onside kick to open the second half of play, but once again Orrville’s defense responded when senior Ben Summers made a nice interception off another Durbin passing attempt, and Orrville’s offense went back to work with a running clock for the half. Triway forced the Riders to punt and began their next drive deep in their own territory when the Red Rider defensive line ended up in Triway’s backfield, where they dropped Drew Arko in the end zone for a safety, extending Orrville’s lead to 36-0 with 7:24 remaining in the third quarter.

Despite the score, the young Titans continued to play hard, eventually blocking Cain Duskey’s 36-yard field goal attempt with 7:54 left in the game.

Triway’s offense made it all the way down the field and were knocking on the goal line, looking to spoil Orrville’s defensive shutout. Once again the Titans were snake-bit, this time when Durbin tried to avoid taking a sack and lost the football. In his first game of the year, Orrville sophomore Jacob Bailey secured the loose ball and lived out every defensive lineman’s dream when he rumbled 85 yards for glory and six points. Jason Suppan seemed to have a tough time getting a wet football down for Duskey’s extra-point attempt, but Suppan managed to scramble long enough to heave a pass into the end zone, where it was caught for two points, which ended the scoring on the night with the Red Riders up 44-0.

Coaches Corner

Coach Doug Davault was pleased with the outcome but knows his squad needs to continue to clean up a few things. “I thought the first half we were pretty good; the second half we struggled a little bit. We need to continue to work on our discipline, but I thought Triway did a better job the second half, but we did what we needed to do tonight and look forward to continuing our season next week. We knew coach Brenner and his staff were going to have a few tricks and gadgets up their sleeve, but there are still things that we need to work on.”

Handling onside kicks are one of those things that has the Orrville staff flustered as the Riders failed to secure another onside kick this season. With opposing teams refusing to kick to the always dangerous Parks or senior Donoven Hall, sooner or later Orrville’s front line on special teams will need to figure out how to stop giving opposing offenses extra possessions.

Davault said, “One of our goals at the beginning of the season was to make the playoffs and win the PAC-7, and now we have done those two things. Our goals coming into the game tonight was to get on track, play well, stay healthy and ride some momentum into the playoffs. Overall, I’m pleased with the way we played tonight, and now we need to get ready for next week.”

Titans head coach Eric Brenner, in his first year at the helm of Triway’s program, knew his Titans would have their hands full against the Red Riders. Brenner is no stranger to Orrville’s offensive weapons. He spent the 2017 campaign as Orrville’s offensive coordinator after serving eight seasons as former Titan head coach Tony Lee’s assistant at Triway. The Red Rider “O” came into this game leading the PAC-7 with 44 points scored per game, led by Parks, but with a supporting cast that can light up a scoreboard quickly.

Brenner liked the effort but knows his Titans need to be a bit more disciplined with the football. “We battled. We could have scored three or four times tonight, but we just couldn’t finish. Orrville is a veteran group that offensively has some weapons, which is why they are going to the playoffs and we are not. I am proud of the way we fought but obviously wish we could have rewarded ourselves a bit better tonight had we finished a few drives.”

The young Titans have struggled on both side of the ball at times this season. Triway’s defensive unit has surrendered an average of 33 points per contest while the offense has struggled scoring an average of 16 points. Both figures are strong indicators of a team with just five seniors on the roster and only three with any sort of substantial playing time.

“Most of ours seniors I’ve coached in one or two sports and have known them all since they were little kids. They haven’t had a lot of success in large part due to lack of numbers. We wish we could have given them a better senior year send-off, but they showed up every single day, doing things the right way, and if our young kids continue to follow their example, we can only get better in the future.”

Brenner remains optimistic for the future of Triway’s program but knows there is plenty of room for improvement. “I don’t ever want to make excuses about youth, but a lot of our youth had a lack of discipline to go along with their inexperience. We are going to be a year older next year, but if we aren’t doing the right things all of the time and being committed to getting better every single day in the off-season, it’s going to be the same result. I am encouraged that we have so much youth out on the field, but we definitely need to get after it in the off-season to be sure that we improve next year.”

The numbers for Orrville

Parks finished the game with 156 rushing yards on 14 attempts for three TDs to go along with his 36-yard scoring pass to Domer. Parks also finished with an interception on defense. For the season Parks has scored in every way possible from scrimmage, other than kicking. He has scored via run, thrown pass, received pass, fumble return, interception return, kick-off return and punt return.

Domer was seven of 12 passing for 79 yards and a TD with one interception to go along with his 36-yard TD reception. For the season Domer has 1,294 passing yards with 12 TDs through the air and just three picks.

Suppan ended up with three receptions for 28 yards, and Payton Brown caught two passes for 20 yards and one TD. 

Orrville’s defense earned their second consecutive shutout of the year by forcing six turnovers and holding Triway’s offense to just 75 total yards.

The numbers for Triway

For Triway, Durbin completed 12 of 28 pass attempts for 180 yards. Junior wide receiver Gabe Dieringer led the Titans with eight catches for 96 yards; sophomore Tyler Davis finished with three receptions for 61 yards.

New Red Rider records

Parks finished a record-breaking regular season by setting new Orrville High School all-time records with 36 total TDs in a single season and 216 total points scored, breaking Dru Robinson’s single-season school records of 31 total TDs (totaling 13 games in ’98) and 198 single-season points (totaling 13 games in ’98). 

Parks is perched in second place on Orrville’s all-time list for single-season all-purpose yards with 2,547, ahead of Kyle Domer’s 1,887 yards (set in ’90) and closing in on Robinson’s 2,827 yards (totaling 13 games in ’98).

Last week Parks moved into second place on Orrville’s all-time list for rushing yards in a season after passing Mark Griggs (1,605 yards set in ’77). Parks now has 1,799 rushing yards this season on 143 carries for 12.6 yards per carry. Robinson still holds Orrville’s top spot for rushing yards in a single season with 2,096 (totaling 13 games in ’98).

Next week

Orrville will host a home playoff game at Red Rider Stadium’s Heartland Field on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. against a team yet to be determined. If projections hold true, it could be a rematch with PAC-7 foe Tuslaw, who Orrville beat earlier this season 35-0. The OHSAA will announce their official playoff match-ups on Sunday evening. It will be Orrville’s first playoff appearance since 2011 and 23rd playoff appearance overall, which ranks 12th all-time in Ohio high school history since the OHSAA adopted the playoffs in 1972.

PAC-7 has become a football power conference

The PAC-7 was extremely competitive this season with five teams (Manchester, Orrville, Tuslaw, Loudonville, CVCA) in the mix for a playoff spot. Orrville and Manchester are in for sure and will host first-round playoff games after locking up the top two seeds in Div. V Region 17 per the unofficial regional rankings on JoeEitel.com.

Davault feels the conference has fallen victim to a bit of a bad rep for competitive football, “We were in the Ohio Cardinal Conference for years, and our last few years were a bear, but the PAC-7 is no slouch. Everybody tried convincing me that moving conferences was going to be a lot easier. It’s not. We have a lot of good teams with a lot of great players in this conference. It’s been eye-opening, but we have enjoyed the challenge.”

It also is projected that Tuslaw fought their way into an eight seed for Div. V Region 17 after riding a four-game winning streak after Friday’s victorious regular-season finale against Fairless. CVCA was ranked tenth in Div. IV Region 13 prior to Friday night’s action, but the Royals vaulted three spots to earn a projected seventh slot in their region and punching a ticket for postseason play. Loudonville was just on the outside of playoff contention prior to Friday night’s action when the Redbirds were ranked ninth in Div. VI Region 22. However, Loudonville knocked off Northwest and moved into a projected eighth place and playoff-eligible ranking within their region.

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