TVS Junior High Ends CCC Season
J. C. Tilton
The Panthers concluded their season with an exciting playoff game. The CCC has the Junior High teams play regular season games, then conclude with a final ‘playoff' game against another CCC team with a similar record. TVS had a 1-4-1 record and drew Ansonia as their game. The two teams had met in September. TVS had raced to a early lead which they squandered in the second half as Ansonia would rally for a 4th quarter victory on that day.
Saturday the Tigers would score first, putting the Panthers on their heels as their line did a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage early. They quickly scored to go up 6-0. TVS went to work when it was their turn on offense. Matt Wentlender peeled off a run of about 50 yards to put the Panthers in scoring position and Tyler Cunningham capped off the drive with a touchdown to tie the score at 6-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Ansonia would score the next two times. This put TVS in the hole - down 22- 6. At the end of the half Matt Wentlender scored another Panther touchdown and Mason Jones scored a 2 point conversion to put the Panthers within 8. On the next Tiger drive Skylar Recker picked off a pass.
Matt Wentlender had another strong carry at the beginning of the second half and took it to the house. Miles McCollum ran an option for the PAT and crossed the goal line to tie the score at 22 all. The Tigers tried to get the ball back down the field but a Matt Wentlender interception stopped that drive. The third quarter ended with neither team being able to gain an advantage.
Now the all important 4th quarter began. Ansonia had been burned by the pass and early in the quarter began a Woody Hayes style drive. Pounding the ball at the Panthers, gaining yardage and more importantly eating the clock. With 2:57 left in the game, Ansonia scored the go ahead TD, but the TVS defense stopped the PAT attempt on the one yard line. Now it was time for the TVS offense to go to work, but time was running low. Tyler Cunningham ripped off a long run, putting the Panthers deep into Tigers territory. But Cunningham was injured on the play and had to leave the game at a critical juncture. Replacement Michael Pack entered the game, and the offense did not miss a beat as Pack made his first carry for first down yardage. A few carries later Matt Wentlender carried the ball into the endzone and scored the tying touchdown. But Wentlender was not finished as he would kick the go ahead PAT to put the Panthers up 29-28 with just over a minute left. The Tigers tried to run the two minute drill, and did advance into Panther territory. But the defense made a stand when they had to and preserved the Panther victory.