By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
SPRINGFIELD — The Tippecanoe football team couldn’t slow down Springfield Shawnee’s offense Thursday night.
The Braves’ defense’s constant heat on the Red Devils’ quarterback didn’t help, either.
It all made for a long night for Tippecanoe (0-2) as former division rival Springfield Shawnee pulled away from the Devils in the second half, turning a three-point halftime lead into a 42-24 loss defeat of the Devils Thursday at Springfield Shawnee High School.
After leaving the Central Buckeye Conference for the Greater Western Ohio Conference three years ago, the Red Devils entered Thursday’s game on a three-game head-to-head winning streak against the Braves (1-1), beating them 38-7 last season. The last time Shawnee — which opened the new season with a 56-39 Week 1 loss at Greenon — defeated Tippecanoe was 35-28 in 2015, the Devils’ final year in the CBC.
Thursday night, Springfield Shawnee quarterback Robie Glass and running backs Jaden Hall and Matthew Guyer each scored two touchdowns, only failing to score on three possessions in the game — one of those being the final one as time ticked away.
“It was (tough to stop). We knew that coming in,” Tippecanoe coach Matt Burgbacher said. “We knew that Glass is a great athlete and phenomenal quarterback. He threw the ball well tonight, ran the ball well, and their running backs ran hard. It was kind of a continuation of what we had last week (a 22-8 loss at Cincinnati Mount Healthy), where we just couldn’t get that stop when we needed it. And offensively, there were times when we got into a rhythm, but we were just very inconsistent in all three phases of the game.
“These first two weeks, it’s on me. I’ve got to have these guys ready to play and more prepared. And there’s only one way to get this fixed — show up tomorrow and get back to work.”
After holding the Devils to a three-and-out on the opening possession, a solid punt return by Glass gave the Braves the ball on the Tippecanoe 48-yard line. The Braves churned up yardage in chunks, taking the ball down the field in nine plays and finishing the drive off on a 2-yard touchdown run by Guyer, giving Shawnee a 7-0 lead with 6:41 left in the opening quarter.
The Red Devils answered, though, in what quickly became a back-and-forth first half. Quarterback Jackson Subler broke a 38-yard touchdown up the middle on a delayed run, but the extra point was no good, and the Braves maintained a 7-6 lead with 4:18 left in the first.
Shawnee responded back, though, taking the ball 79 yards in only eight plays, keyed by a 36-yard pass from quarterback Glass to Drew Mitch that set the Braves up on Tippecanoe’s 28. Four plays later, Hall punched the ball in from a yard out, making the score 14-6 with :39 left in the quarter.
Tippecanoe continued to battle back, going on an 11-play, 72-yard drive — keyed by a fourth-and-1 conversion on the Braves’ 9-yard line by Cade Beam. Three plays after that, Beam bullied the ball in from a yard out, but the two-point try was stopped short, leaving the Devils down 14-12 with 7:18 until the half.
The Braves again could not be stopped, though, answering with another eight-play, 79-yard drive. Glass hit Wesley Schuler with a 47-yard bomb on third-and-2 to keep the drive alive, and Glass finished the drive with an 8-yard run that made the score 21-12 with 4:33 left in the half.
Tippecanoe was forced to punt again, but the Devils recovered a fumble on the Shawnee 49 to get another chance. Seven plays later, Tyler Carlson ran in a 3-yard score to cut the lead to 21-18 with :15 on the clock, and that was where the score remained at halftime.
The third quarter, though, was all Shawnee.
After a big kickoff return started them off at the Tippecanoe 45, the Braves took the opening possession of the second half 45 yards in seven plays, capped off on a 1-yard touchdown run by Guyer. Tippecanoe’s Kaleab Tadesse blocked the extra point, though, and Shawnee led 27-18 with 8:24 in the third.
After a Devil three-and-out, Shawnee went 70 yards in only four plays, sprung by a 45-yard run by Mitch. Hall then scored on a 17-yard run and Glass ran in the two-point conversion, making the score 35-18 with 6:28 left in the quarter.
On fourth-and-25 from the Shawnee 32, Tippecanoe was forced to go for it to stay in the game, but Subler — who was under pressure practically every time he dropped back to pass — was hit as he threw and intercepted by Luke Myers. The Braves then took the ball the other way, with Glass finishing off a lengthy drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to put the Devils down 42-18 with 11:03 left in the game.
Tippecanoe put together one last gasp on the ensuing drive, taking the ball 71 yards on 13 plays — including a pair of fourth-down conversions and one third-down conversion. In the end, Subler ran in a 6-yard touchdown but was stopped on the two-point try, leaving the score 42-24 with 7:00 to play.
The Devil defense then stopped the Braves for only the second time on the night, forcing a punt with 5:00 left and taking over at the Tippecanoe 41. The Devils drove to the Shawnee 28, but on fourth-and-3, Subler’s desperation pass was picked off by Schuler with 3:10 to play. Mitch then broke a 59-yard run to get the Braves out of the shadow of their own end zone, and they ran out the clock from there.
“This isn’t an excuse, but once Cade Beam went out of the game, we had one kid on offense with varsity experience,” Burgbacher said. “It’s a process, and we’re going to get there. There’s no doubt. We’re going through some growing pains right now. We’ve got eight games left in the season, improvements to make, but that’s the exciting part of working with 15-to-18-year-old young men. You can make an impact on their life, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Tippecanoe hosts Fairborn in its home opener on Sept. 13 — but the Devils aren’t thinking about their next opponent yet.
“I know they have a new coach and had a big win last week against Tecumseh, but our motto is what’s important is now,” Burgbacher said. “Especially with this group we’ve got, we want to stay focused on now. We’re not there yet, where we can look ahead.
“We know that everybody likes to beat Tipp, and we’ve got to bring our best shot. We’ve come out on the wrong end of the stick the first two weeks, but that hasn’t dampened my excitement for this team and this program and where we’re headed. We’re not going to let two losses ruin what we’ve worked so hard for. The sun’s going to come up, and we’re going to go to work.”
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at email@example.com, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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