By Josh Brown
MIAMI COUNTY — First-year Tippecanoe football coach Joel Derge will enjoy watching film this week.
After all, he liked everything he saw Friday night the first time he watched the action.
The Red Devils scored 21 points in the first quarter, another 21 in the second and obliterated the visiting Graham Falcons 56-0 Friday night at Tipp City Park in the season opener.
“We’ll watch the film this week and see where we went wrong … but it wasn’t much,” Derge said. “All in all, it was good to get the kids some confidence back. With teams like Miamisburg, Alter, Eaton’s got a good team and Thurgood Marshall is always tough, our scrimmages were really, really tough. It was good to see the kids get a win, and everybody got to play tonight, which is always good.”
Jakob Prall was back as his do-a-little-of-everything self, throwing a halfback pass to Jacob Ambos 27 yards for a touchdown to start the game off. He then scored on an 18-yard touchdown run himself, and Cameron Gibbs broke off a 40-yard scoring run to make it 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Devils didn’t slow down, either. Prall scored on a 47-yard run, then Aaron Hughes threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Bobby Hopkins to make it 35-0 and set the running clock into effect once the second half began. Chris Garber added a 14-yard touchdown before halftime, making it 42-0.
“We started off really fast,” Derge said. “Our offense was really clicking. The kids played hard, and the defense played well, as well.”
Very well, in fact. The Tippecanoe defense allowed only three total yards of offense for the Falcons — 34 passing and minus-31 rushing. The Devil offensive, meanwhile, gained 404 yards on the ground and 98 through the air.
Gibbs finished with 160 yards on eight carries and added two more touchdowns of 8 and 10 yards in the second half. Prall had 114 rushing yards on six carries and Garber finished with 48 yards on eight carries.
Tippecanoe will remain at home in Week 2, hosting the Greenville Green Wave — who defeated Eaton 30-20 on Friday.
“Greenville’s a much-improved team,” Derge said. “They’ve got a good quarterback and good athletes around him. It should be a good game.”
Also improved is Tippecanoe’s Week 3 opponent, the Milton-Union Bulldogs.
Milton-Union’s defense, save for one drive, held the Miami East Vikings in check in the traditional Week 1 matchup between the teams. Miami East took the opening drive 88 yards in 14 plays — the longest of which was a 10-yard run by Kurt Brower — and Brower scored on a 3-yard run to give East the early lead.
But that’s where it stayed, as both defense stymied both offenses, and the Vikings still held that one-score lead at the half. In the third quarter, though, Milton-Union junior quarterback Blake Smith displayed not only his arm strength but his accuracy, as well, hitting Tommy Smith in stride 40 yards downfield on what ended up being a game-tying 85-yard touchdown strike.
And in the fourth quarter, Milton-Union pulled a page out of the playbook of the movie Varsity Blues, running a hook-and-ladder to take the lead. Blake Smith hit Tommy Smith, who pitched to Kaleb Rue — who, being more athletic than the movie’s Billy Bob character, had significantly less trouble taking the ball to the house to give Milton-Union the lead. And after a huge stop by the defense on the Milton 20-yard line, Zac Shields broke off a 78-yard touchdown run to ice the game.
Miami East opens Cross Country Conference play at National Trail, while Milton-Union will travel to Oakwood in Week 2 to prepare for its showdown against Tippecanoe.
Bethel played the closest game of the night — but the Bees did not come out on the winning end. They battled back and forth all night with the Northridge Polar Bears, at one point taking a 14-6 lead before Northridge tied the score.
In the end, the Polar Bears were able to hold off the Bees 28-27, Bethel’s eighth straight loss dating back to last season. The Bees will travel to Mississinawa Valley next week to begin CCC play.
A preseason favorite in the CCC, the Covington Buccaneers, got off to a rocky start in a 27-3 loss to St. Henry. Covington’s defense allowed 398 yards — 301 of those on the ground — and the Buccs lost a pair of fumbles, as well.
Still, Covington only trailed 13-3 at halftime, scoring on a 22-yard field goal by Nathan Blei, but Jesse Niekamp — who finished with 214 rushing yards and three touchdowns — had a 92-yard touchdown to put the Buccs down by 10 at the half. St. Henry then scored a pair of third-quarter touchdowns and held on from there.
Covington opens up CCC play against Arcanum in Week 2.
Three other area teams were involved in shutouts, but only one of them came out on the right side of it — the Troy Christian Eagles.
Senior running back Luke Dillahunt, who ran for more than 2,000 yards last season, finished with 183 yards on 14 carries — 147 of those yards in the first half — and he ran back the second-half kickoff 85 yards for another touchdown that put the Eagles up 35-0 at that point. Troy Christian quarterback Hayden Hartman also threw three touchdown passes in the game, Peyton Spurlock returned an interception 26 yards for another score and the Eagles cruised to a 49-0 victory.
The Bradford Railroaders, who didn’t field a varsity team last season, struggled in a 21-0 loss to New Bremen, while Lehman was shut out by Fort Recovery 36-0. And Piqua was able to hold on at Toledo St. John’s for a 34-30 victory.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.