Tippecanoe football has amazing season end with state semifinal loss


LONDON — This one was different for Tippecanoe football coach Matt Burgbacher.

This was just not the end of another season after the Red Devils 35-12 loss to Bloom-Carroll in a D-III state semifinal at London Bowles Field Friday night.

Saying goodbye to seniors Jackson Kleather, Josh Dietz, Payton Bey, Liam Poronsky, Carson Robbins, Ethan Henderson, Jesse Tipton, Stanley Clyne, Levi Carmack, Eli Eldridge, Lukas Walker, Blake Thompson, Nick Sexton, Garrett Smith, Trevor Silcox, Zach Ares, Nathan Weaver, Luke Catrone, Eli Moore, Gordon Haas, Dominic Munroe and DJ Martin led Tipp to a place that had never been before — and set the bar for future Red Devil teams.

They were sophomores when Burgbacher returned to the program he played for to coach with his father Charlie Burgbacher three years ago.

“This one is tough,” Burgbacher said with emotion in his voice after the game. “This one hurts. These seniors have met so much to this program — and they have come so far.”

The Red Devils entered the season with just three returning starters and went 13-2, advancing to a game Tippecanoe football had never been in before.

“These guys accomplished so much more than anybody thought they could at the beginning of the year,” Burgbacher said.

They were coming off beating the top-ranked team in the state Hamilton Badin in the regional final last week.

But, 14-1 Bloom-Carroll proved to be be a “big” challenge, literally.

The Bulldogs average 285 pounds on the offensive line and rushed for more than 400 yards, while throwing just one pass.

At the same time, Tippecanoe moved the ball up-and-down the field on the Bulldogs defense — but three turnovers proved to be the difference. The Red Devils never punted in the game — neither team did — and turned it over on downs just once.

“We knew we had to win the turnover game and we didn’t,” Burgbacher said. “When you are playing a team like Bloom-Carroll you can’t shoot yourself in the foot.”

And the Red Devils did that on their first two possessions and it was a hole they couldn’t get out of.

Tipp took the opening kickoff and started at its own 29, moving right down the field.

Cael Liette had runs of 22 and nine yards on consecutive plays.

But, on first and goal from the seven, Tipp fumbled, with Dylan Armentrout recovering for Bloom-Carroll on the two-yard line.

The Bulldogs set the tone for the game, going 98 yards on 10 runs.

Armentrout had runs of 9, 9, 10 and 20 yards on four consecutive plays and would run it in from eight yards out.

Treyton McKee kicked the PAT to make it 7-0.

Tipp was moving again on its next possession before another fumble stopped the drive at the Bulldogs 35.

Twelve running plays later, Armentrout ran it in from seven yards out and McKee kicked the PAT to make it 14-0.

Tipp was able to answered with a 92-yard drive in 13 plays.

Poronsky completed a 20-yard pass to Xavier Jones early in the drive, before combining with Jones on runs on the lat eight plays of the drive. Poronsky ran it in from five yards out on a fourth-and-one, but the PAT was blocked to leave the score at 14-6.

Bloom Carroll then used up most of the last seven minutes of the first half to go 55 yards in 10 plays.

Chase Plantz dived in from two yards out and McKee’ss kick made it 21-6 at the break.

Then, the Bulldogs started the second half with Armentrout running 75 yards for a score and McKee’s kick made it 28-6.

Tipp would answer.

Poronsky would throw a 37-yard pass to Jones, before throwing a 34-yard TD pass to Dietz. Dietz caught the ball at the 10 and broke two tackles on his way to the end zone. The PAT was again blocked and Bloom-Carroll led 28-12.

Robbins would make a fourth down tackle on Bloom-Carroll’s next possession, but Armentrout would intercept a pass to keep Tipp from getting any closer.

Plantz would add an eight-yard TD run and McKee’s kick made the final 35-12.

Poronsky would complete 20 of 30 passes for 234 yards.

Jones caught three passes for 67 yards, Walker caught five for 47 yards and Clyne caught six for 45 yards.

Cael Liette led the rushing attack with 63 yards on eight carries and Poronsky added 61 yards on 19 carries.

For Bloom-Carroll, Armentrout had 239 yards on 30 carries and Andrew Marshall added 138 yards on 11 carries.

“This team (Tippecanoe) took it to another level this year,” Burgbacher said.

And the seniors leave an impressive legacy — which made the end hurt so much.

Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at [email protected]

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