By DARRIN LAUTENSCHLEGER
Times-Reporter sports correspondent
DRESDEN It was heartbreak again in Week 11 for the third consecutive season for the New Philadelphia football team.
And it leaves the Quakers still looking for their school’s first playoff victory.
Tri-Valley completely throttled the New Philadelphia rushing game and pounded the ball itself on the Quakers in the second half to run away to a 47-21 win Friday night in a Division III, Region 9 regional quarterfinal playoff contest.
“(Tri-Valley) is big and strong and athletic, and they controlled the line of scrimmage on both offense and defense,” said New Philadelphia head coach Matt Dennison.
“They were physically superior to us, but again, as always with this great group of kids, our guys never quit and gave us everything they have. That’s a tribute to them as players and as young men.”
The Quakers came in on a high, with loads of momentum after last week’s thrilling triple-overtime win over Dover, but instead they end an outstanding season at 9-2 and say goodbye to a record-setting senior class that has won lots of games, set lots of records and created a load of happy memories for New Philadelphia fans.
“They are simply a great group of kids, and they have done some tremendous things on and off the field here,” Dennison said. “They have had a lot of great memories in their careers and have set a high standard for future classes that follow them.”
The Scotties (9-2) advance to a regional semifinal game Friday night against the region’s top seed, Athens, at a site to be chosen this weekend.
Tri-Valley’s big offensive and defensive lines controlled the game and the Quakers for nearly the entire night. The Scotties finished with 432 yards of total offense (334 rushing yards), compared to 268 for New Philadelphia. The Quakers were limited to a total of 49 yards rushing.
New Philadelphia’s Jamal Johnson finished his career with only five yards on seven tough carries, and has 7,023 for his stellar four years as the Quakers’ tailback, good for No. 6 on the state’s all-time career rushing list.
The Scotties took control of the game in the second half, breaking away from a 14-7 halftime lead to score 33 second-half points, including three touchdowns in the back-breaking fourth quarter. Tri-Valley junior running back Daniel Scott carried 26 times for 205 yards and four touchdowns, three in the second half.
“When you play a team like that, you have to capitalize on your opportunities, and we just didn’t do that on all of the opportunities we had,” Dennison said.
With their running game stifled, New Philadelphia had to pass most of the night, and senior quarterback Caleb Beans completed 22 of 42 attempts for 219 yards and three interceptions.
Beans pulled the Quakers to 33-21 with 8:54 left in the game on a 23-yard TD pass to Mitchell Pape, and the Quakers recovered the ensuing onside kick. But an interception on the next play effectively ended New Philadelphia’s hopes and Scott bulldozed his way into the end zone for two more scores to finish it off.
After the Scotties took a 14-0 lead on scoring runs by Scott (3 yards) in the first quarter and Logan Bash (15 yards) early in the second quarter, Beans got the Quakers on the scoreboard.
With Johnson shaken up and sitting out for a few plays, Beans led the Quakers down the field and hit senior wideout Mitchell Pape on a pretty 9-yard catch-and-run scoring pass. The drive covered 63 yards, with 62 yards coming from the pass.
The breaks never went New Phila’s way, it seemed. Pape also had an interception on a double-pass play and the Quakers had a huge gainer inside the 5 on a flea flicker taken away just before halftime on a holding call.
“That’s a very good football team,” Dennison said about the Scotties. “We just couldn’t stay with them all night in this one.”