Tippecanoe football gets rematch with Bellbrook in D-III, Region 12 semifinal


TIPP CITY — You might think the Tippecanoe football team is looking forward to the opportunity to play Bellbrook a second time after a 24-14 loss in the opening game of the season.

But, the Red Devils are more focused on what is at stake Friday night in a D-III, Region 12 semifinal with a 7 p.m. kickoff at Sidney Memorial Stadium/30&0 Field.

“I think the kids are just excited about the opportunity,” Tippecanoe coach Matt Burgbacher said about the matchup of 10-2 teams. “The first game was 12 weeks ago. That was a long time ago and both teams have changed quite a bit. Not one person has mentioned revenge this week. But, they are one of our losses, so yeah. But, the kids are really focused on what we need to do to get ready for this game.”

The Bellbrook offense runs through senior running back Seth Borondy (6-2, 180).

Borondy has 2,326 yards rushing and 30 touchdowns on 254 attempts.

He is also the Eagles leading receiver with 17 catches for 333 yards and two touchdowns.

The Eagles also made a quarterback switch early in the season.

Junior Carson Labensky (6-3, 215) is now playing tight end, while sophomore Luke Benetis (6-0, 160) is the quarterback.

He has completed 27 of 52 passes for 482 yards, with 10 TDs and no interceptions.

“They run a version of the wing-T,” Burgbacher said. “They have a running back who is over 2,000 yards, so he is a focus of their offense. But, they can also throw the ball. They have a young quarterback in there and he has been playing well, particularly the last few games.”

Tipp actually held Borondy under 100 yards in the first game.

“That was he lowest total of the season,” Burgbacher said. “We did a good job of stopping him, we just didn’t do a good job of stopping the pass.”

The Eagles will play a 3-3 stack on defense.

Senior linebacker Nick Cumpston (6-0, 185) leads the defense with 83 tackles and two sacks.

Senior linebacker Ashton Ault (6-0, 210) has 77 tackles and three sacks, senior defensive lineman Ashton Kooken (6-2, 190) has 61 tackles and three sacks and junior safety Luke Kosins (5-8, 160) has 69 tackles and three interceptions.

Tipp will counter with an offense coming off its best game, a 37-28 win over Alter.

Operating out of a power spread, junior quarterback Liam Poronsky(5-11, 178) completed 19 of 31 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns.

Senior Gavin Garlitz (6-1, 172) caught 10 passes for 144 yards and senior running back Cayd Everhart (5-11, 183) had 116 yards on 23 carries.

“Alter is a really good defense and they decided we weren’t going to run the ball,” Burgbacher said.

Poronsky has completed 130 of 219 passes on the season for 1,444 yards, with 17 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Senior Jason Rindler (6-3, 189) has 42 catches for 427 yards and five touchdowns.

Senior Zach Butera (5-10, 159) has 29 catches for 363 yards and eight touchdowns and Garlitz has 27 catches for 382 yards and two touchdowns.

Everhart has 1,470 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground on 238 attempts and Poronsky and senior Griffin Caldwell (5-11, 181) have rushed for more than 400 yards each and have combined for 13 touchdowns.

“I think when we played Bellbrook the first time, we were looking for our identity,” Burgbacher said. “Now, we have found our identity. A part of that is our offensive line staying healthy and playing together all season. We have Cayd Everhart and Griffin Caldwell in the backfield. We have Gavin Garlitz, Jason Rindler and Zach Butera out wide. We are definitely a dual threat offense.”

Everhart leads the defense from his linebacker position with 121 tackles and three forced fumbles.

Junior linebacker Josh Dietz (6-1, 188) has 95 tackles, two forced fumbles and three fumbles recovered.

Rindler has 69 tackles, two forced fumbles and three interceptions from his defensive back position.

Senior Lawson Cook (6-2, 269) leads the pass rush with four sacks, while seniors Ethan Biggs (5-10, 177), David Chavez (5-10, 189) and Sam Fout (6-0, 2040 all have 2.5 sack and senior Grayson Ring (6-2, 162) has three interceptions.

“Defensively, we did all right against Bellbrook and then we played well for six straight games,’ Burgbacher said. “Then, we didn’t play very well against Piqua and struggled early against Greenville, before we settled down. We have had games where our offense picked up our defense and had games where our defense has picked up our offense.”

Burgbacher said things become simple in the postseason.

“At this point in the season, we aren’t really concerned about how many yards we get or give up,” he said. “Our concern is having more points than the other team at the end of the game.”

Evening the score with Bellbrook with just be an added bonus.

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