Orrville Red Riders

Orrville’s double-barrel backfield too much for Triway

Triway’s first-year head coach Drew Sarachman and his Triway Titans (5-5 overall, 3-4 PAC) traveled to Heartland Field at Red Rider Stadium to face longtime foe Orrville (4-6 overall, 3-4 PAC) in a week-10 rivalry matchup. Coach Sarachman and his defensive unit had to decide how they were going to contain Orrville’s freshmen duo of Marquael Parks and Sheron Phipps. Unfortunately for the Titans, they were left scratching their heads long after the game was over as both players created havoc on both sides of the ball. The host Red Riders were too much for the Titans to handle in the second half as they cruised to a 42-9 victory.

Triway opened the game with the ball and moved downfield to Orrville’s 24-yard line when the Rider defense stopped the Titans going for it on 4th-and-1, giving the Red Rider offense their first series with 8:19 to go in the first quarter. Parks quickly went to work and carried the ball on Orrville’s first two plays from scrimmage. His first carry was a dazzling 50 yards, and his second carry went for 26 yards and his first touchdown of the night (extra-point kick by Cain Duskey was good). In the blink of an eye, Orrville led 7-0, which held up through the end of the opening quarter as Triway’s defense settled down and found success in keeping Orrville’s backfield in check.

Early in the second quarter the Titans defense dug in for their own 4th-and-1 stop of the Rider offense, giving senior Nick Sparr and the Titan offense the ball back on their own 8-yard line. The Titans failed to protect the football, and Orrville senior Sam Auble pounced on a fumble to give the Riders prime field position on Triway’s 10-yard line with 8:16 left in the second quarter. One play later Parks struck pay dirt for his second TD when he went around the right end from 10-yards out (Duskey kick was good) to give Orrville a 14-0 lead.

Triway needed to settle down and get on the scoreboard before halftime to stop the Riders’ momentum. That is exactly what the Titans did. With 1:43 left before halftime, Sparr connected with freshman wide-out Tyler Hostetler, who shook a tackle and plunged into the end-zone for a 3-yard touchdown completion (extra-point kick by Nick Allison was good).

Despite shooting themselves in the foot for much of the first half, the Titans closed the gap, and Orrville held a slim 14-7 halftime advantage as a light rain began to fall on both bands.

Both teams came out of the locker room for the second half, and Triway’s defense forced the Red Riders into a three-and-out, but junior Jason Suppan’s punt pinned the Titan offense back in poor field position when it bounced out of bounds at the Triway 4-yard line. Triway had a chance to possibly tie the game when Sparr’s pass on 2nd-and-long failed to connect with senior receiver Cole Hissong, who had beat his defender but failed to haul in the possible big-play reception with an open field in front of him.

Triway’s offense was still able to wiggle their way down the field, aided by a couple of Orrville penalties, but once again the Titans were forced to punt, which gave Orrville’s offense the ball back on their own 30-yard line. The drive pushed Orrville’s lead to 21-7 when Parks scored his third TD of the night when he juked, jived and bobbed his way into the end-zone from 30 yards (Duskey kick was good) with 3:35 left in the third quarter.

Triway, desperate to get themselves back in the game, took their next offensive possession to Orrville’s 44-yard line with 1:22 left in the third quarter but gave the ball back to Orrville when the Titans failed to convert on fourth-and-one. Sophomore linebacker Ben Amstutz had a huge game for the Riders, and he led the pile of red that stopped the Titans short of the first-down yardage needed to keep the drive alive.

Parks went back to work and clocked in for another score when sophomore signal caller David Dilyard hit Suppan for a 10-yard reception, but Suppan perfectly pitched a lateral to Parks, who caught the ball in stride and made a nasty cut to shake the Triway defender as he cruised 20 yards for his fourth TD (Duskey kick was good) with 9:52 left in the fourth quarter. Orrville stretched their lead to 28-7.

The Red Riders didn’t let up. Parks showed that he is just as talented on the defensive side of the ball when he picked off a pass from Hissong on Triway’s next possession and took it 68 yards for the pick-six and his fifth TD of the night (Duskey kick was good). With Orrville holding a 35-7 lead, the route was on. Two minutes later Phipps showed what he can do on defense when he made a leaping interception off a Sparr passing attempt toward the end-zone, giving Orrville the ball back on their own 3-yard line with 7:00 left in the game.

Two plays later Triway’s defense, refusing to roll over, scored a safety when they stormed the backfield on a high snap and freshman Kevin Lang made the tackle for a loss to give the Titans two points and the ball back with 6:21 left in the game. On the ensuing possession, Orrville defensive lineman, sophomore Edward Burns, picked up a Titan fumble and rumbled all the way to just short of the pay dirt. Phipps ran the ball up the middle, leaping over the line, and scored from 6-yards out (Duskey kick was good) to complete the scoring on the night and capping off Orrville’s 42-9 victory.

Orrville had been trying to bounce back from injuries since their week-four clash against Northwest and came into this game on a two-game losing skid. The injuries slimmed down the Red Rider depth chart considerably and thrust them into a forced youth movement at some key positions. Understandably it takes time and valuable game experience for a youthful program to mature into an efficient unit. Orrville did a lot of growing up on Friday night against the Titans.

Orrville’s head coach Doug Davault said he was pleased with his team’s effort on the final game of the season. “The kids played hard. Hopefully it leads us into something better for next year. It’s been a long time since we won the last game of the year. I hope the kids are feeling good about it. We’ll celebrate this game, and hopefully it builds into something big for us next year. Marquael and Sheron were phenomenal tonight. It is hard to believe they are only freshman and have room to improve.”

Parks finished with an astonishing 286 net yards rushing on 19 carries and three touchdowns to go with the Dilyard pass/Suppan catch, who pitched to Parks for the 20-yard score, and his 68-yard pick-six interception return. Parks five-TD night made coach Davault reminisce after the game about another great Red Rider performance 42 years ago.

“Back in 1975 a kid named Mark Griggs went for 20 carries, 282 yards and five touchdowns against Wooster his sophomore year in the final game of the season. We had a kid tonight that was very reminiscent of that performance. Marquael was phenomenal. It was a game where you are saying, ‘Holy smokes.’ It was like a video game watching him attack the defense. Our team’s overall effort tonight was fantastic.”

The numbers.

Outside of Park’s performance, Orrville’s Phipps had a big evening of his own as he finished with 19 carries that netted in 102 yards rushing with one TD in addition to two receptions for 11 yards and a potential TD killing interception.

Coach Davault said, “Sheron is probably our player of the game if it wasn’t for Marquael’s effort.”

With the Riders running wild on the ground for 391 net yards, Dilyard finished the game completing four of seven passes for 56 yards. Orrville’s defense was stingy all evening, forcing two fumbles, two interceptions and holding the Titans to 168 total net yards on 57 plays. Senior captain Sam Auble ended his Red Rider career with an early fumble recovery, and sophomore Ben Amstutz continued his growth as a player by seemingly having his nose around the ball when it mattered most.

Davault said, “Before it’s all said and done, Ben is going to be a stud. As a sophomore he was just trying to find his way at the beginning of this season, and by the time he arrived here tonight, they didn’t want to run at him.”

For Triway it was a tough way to end the season. Sparr finished his Titan career completing eight of 15 passing attempts for one TD. Fellow senior Austin Davis led the Titans in rushing yards with 69 on six carries. Hissong led the team with 30 receiving yards, and senior Branden Biggs had three catches for 27 yards. Senior Luke Myers finished the game with 52 net rushing yards on 16 carries, and Hissong finished with 44 net rushing yards on 10 carries. It is always tough taking over a new program and trying to implement your system in a short amount of time. Coach Sarachman is thankful for his seniors buying into his philosophy and will hope it rubs off on the rest of his returning lettermen for the Titans to improve next season.

Did you know? 

Orrville leads the all-time win/loss record in the series with Triway, 36-10.

Of the 39 total touchdowns that Orrville scored this season, Parks and Phipps accounted for 35 of them.

Historically for Orrville, the capstone to the regular season was always played against Wooster High School until the 2015 season when the Red Riders joined the Principals Athletic Conference and the Generals stayed in the Ohio Cardinal Conference. With the two teams becoming members of separate conferences, they had to slot each other for earlier in the season during nonconference scheduling. The PAC naturally made Triway and Orrville the new rivalry game for week 10.

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