Game of the Week

Triway air attack is alive and well in big win over Waynedale

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On Friday, Sept. 8 at Triway High School, the Triway Titans wanted to come out on their home turf and control their contest with the Waynedale Golden Bears. That is exactly what the Titans did on their way to a 41-14 nonconference victory.

The Golden Bears controlled the ball in the opening quarter and did a nice job of countering the Titan defense with junior Derek Reber directing the offense and senior Logan Stanley pounding the line of scrimmage. Waynedale was the first team to get on the scoreboard with 6:41 left in the opening quarter after Stanley broke loose and ran 30 yards to pay dirt (extra point kick by Andy Ford was good) to give the Golden Bears an early 7-0 lead. Triway answered two minutes later when Nick Sparr connected with fellow senior Austin Davis on a short screen pass that resulted in a 37-yard TD. However, the extra point kick by Nick Allison was a bit wide, allowing the Golden Bears to maintain the lead at 7-6 with 4:51 left in the first quarter.

Triway’s defense forced Stanley to cough up a fumble just before the end of the first quarter, which set the table for the Triway offense in the second quarter. With Sparr beginning to take over the air, senior Luke Myers owned the ground game and forced his will on the Golden Bear defense for the bulk of a drive that ended with him taking a one-yard scoring plunge (Allison extra point kick was good) with 8:47 left in the half.

Drew Sarachman, Triway’s first-year head coach, liked the effort he saw from his defense. “We came out on that first drive, and our defense wasn’t really crisp. The lesson that we learned tonight was to do your job on defense. We really did our job on defense the entire night with the exception of that first drive, but we straightened things out and made some good adjustments. Our kids played with great effort the whole game.”

After a Waynedale punt, Triway’s next possession saw Sparr and Davis at it once again, producing a fruitful result for the Titans as Davis snagged another short screen and strolled to a 35-yard TD (Allison extra point kick was good), followed by Sparr connecting with Cole Hissong on a go route down the home sideline for a 29-yard scoring strike (Allison extra point kick was good). Before you could blink, Triway was up 27-7.

Sarachman liked what he saw from his signal caller. “Nick Sparr played an amazing game. He was efficient: 17 of 20 passing is great. When he completes passes down the field, we are a very tough football team to beat because it opens up our running game. We were banged up heading into tonight and needed to find touches for our playmakers other than Luke Myers. Luke did a great job running the ball again tonight, but we needed to get our receivers more involved. Nick did a great job of taking what the defense gave him, and Austin Davis is a ball player who makes big plays, but a lot of our big plays don’t happen tonight if we don’t block down field, so it was an excellent all-around effort from our receivers.”

The Golden Bear offense pushed the ball all the way down to the Titan’s 9-yard line before the end of the half with a chance to close the deficit to two scores, but Triway’s defense stopped Waynedale on 4th and goal to halt any momentum and head into halftime holding a 27-7 advantage.

Triway’s defense forced a Waynedale punt on the opening drive of the second half, and the Titan offense wasted no time in lighting up the scoreboard. Davis snagged another short screen from Sparr and sprinted down the middle of Columbus Road for a 90-yard TD, his third of the game, pushing the purple and white to a 34-7 advantage over the visitors with 9:39 left in the third quarter. Sparr and Braden Biggs connected a couple of minutes later for a 49-yard TD with 7:00 left in the third quarter to put the game out of reach at 41-7 and closing out Triway’s scoring for the game. Waynedale scored one final time with 9:30 left in the fourth quarter when Reber’s pass found junior Jarrett Varner for 17 yards and the score to make it 41-14.

Sarachman said, “I think Waynedale is finding themselves as a team, but Logan Stanley and their quarterback (Reber) are tough kids, and their team does some things really well. They came out and punched us in the face with the early score. This is a rivalry. We take it seriously. The overall record is 26-26-1, and we want to take the overall lead and never give it back. Our kids took that to heart tonight, and we came away with a nice win.”

For Triway, Sparr’s big night was produced on a stellar 17 of 20 passing, averaging over 20 yards per completion for 348 yards and five touchdowns. Myers led the Titans on the ground with 22 rushing attempts for 127 yards (5.8 yards per carry) and a score. Davis ended his monster game with seven receptions for 202 yards and three TDs. Biggs (2 receptions, 50 yards), Hissong (2 receptions, 36 yards, TD) and Greg Bilinovich (4 receptions, 29 yards) rounded out a nice evening for the Titan receiving corp. Triway’s offense had 475 total yards (348 passing, 127 rushing) and was 7 of 12 on third-down conversions. Triway kicks off conference play next week as they host new Principal’s Athletic Conference football member Loudonville.

Waynedale’s team is in transition with a new coaching regime. It’s going to take some time for coach Louie Stanley and his staff to implement their system, but the Golden Bears seem to have an increased roster this year, giving them much needed depth, and their playmakers gained some valuable experience they should be able to build from. Just a little more confidence, and I think we will see a different Waynedale team by the end of this season. The Golden Bear offense had 229 total yards (61 passing, 168 rushing), controlled the clock for 28:16, but were just 3 of 13 on third-down conversions.

The Golden Bears were led by Logan Stanley with 19 rushing attempts for 98 yards and a score. Reber finished 5 of 11 passing for 61 yards and a TD to go with 9 rushing attempts for 38 yards. Varner finished with two receptions for 17 yards and a TD while junior Luke McCreary had one reception for 26 yards. Waynedale opens with their league schedule next week as they host Wayne County Athletic League foe Hillsdale in Apple Creek.

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