Tippecanoe football rally comes up just short against Xenia


XENIA — It was everything you would expect from two state ranked teams in different divisions and the possibility of a MVL title on the line Saturday.

The Tippecanoe football team (5-1, 4-1) erased an early 20-point deficit only to see Xenia (6-0, 5-0) score in the final minute to escape with a 27-22 win at Veterans Stadium/Cox Field.

“I am so proud of these guys,” Tippecanoe football coach Matt Burgbacher said. “They represent the name (Tippecanoe) on their jerseys. Sure, we are disappointed with the loss. But, I couldn’t be prouder of these guys and the way they battled.”

Tipp scored 22 unanswered points to take a 22-20 lead to the fourth quarter.

Following a Jackson Kleather punt to the 10-yard line, the Bucs found themselves 90 yards from a go-ahead score with 10:43 on the clock and Xenia would use up almost the entire clock on a 22-play drive where they converted on fourth down three times.

The drive looked like it would stall early, when Xenia faced a third and 12 at is own 2-yard line.

But, quarterback Gavin McManus connected with Tremell Wright for 10 yards and on fourth-and-two, TreiShaun Sanders ran four yards for the first down.

Xenia would face a fourth-and-one on its own 45 and McManus would call his own number for a 3-yard gain.

On fourth-and-four from the Tipp 12, Xenia passed on a field goal attempt to take the lead.

McManus found tight end Jackson Tate for a 4-yard gain, just enough for a first down.

The Bucs found themselves facing third-and-goal from the 10 when McManus and Wright connected for what would be the winning touchdown with 51 seconds to go.

Nate Fellie booted the PAT to make it 27-22.

Starting at its own 35, Tipp had two incomplete passes before Liam Poronsky hit Cael Liette for a two-yard gain.

On fourth down, Tipp tried a hook and lateral play, but it came up just short of the first down and Xenia nailed down twice to finish off the win.

“We wanted the win, but I can’t say enough about our kids and the effort tonight,” Burgbacher said.

The first half had given no indication of what would come in the second half and the dramatic finish.

Xenia took a 20-0 lead scoring on its first three possessions.

McManus scored on a 1-yard run, Ramon Browder scored on a two-yard run and Sanders scored from 38 yards out after a Tipp fumble had given Xenia possession at the Red Devils 48. Fellie made two of the three PAT kicks.

“They came out firing,” Burgbacher said. “They had 20 points and we had really only had the ball once.”

Tipp put together a 65-yard drive to stay in the game.

Xavier Jones caught a 29-yard pass from Poronsky and ran 19 yards two plays later.

On fourth-and-one, Cael Liette found the end zone and Jackson Kleather’s kick made it 20-7.

Tipp had a chance to get closer at the end of the half.

But, Kleather had a field goal attempt blocked and when Tipp recovered it with one second to go, they attempted it again but never got the hold down.

“That was kind of downer to not get the field goal there,” Burgbacher said. “But, we were still feeling pretty good about things. We knew we got the ball to start the second half.”

Tipp got a 29-yard field goal from Kleather to start the third quarter and things started to get interesting.

Xenia fumbled the ensuing kickoff, with Tipp recovering at the 19-yard line.

Josh Dietz caught an 10-yard pass from Poronsky to take the ball to the two-yard line and Cael Liette ran the ball in on the next play. Kleather’ kick made it 20-17.

Xenia had an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the touchdown, which was enforced on the kickoff.

Kicking from the Xenia 45-yard line, Kleather executed an onside kick perfectly, with T ipp recovering on the Xenia 30.

The Red Devils were unable to move the ball, so Kleather kicked a 47-yard field to tie the game 20-20.

The two teams would punt and Tipp’s punt rolled dead at the Xenia four and another illegal block moved it back to the two.

Xenia had to punt out of its own end zone and Lukas Walker blocked the ball out of end zone for a safety to give Tipp a 22-20 lead.

“We had worked on the onside kick in practice,” Burgbacher said. “Even if we don’t get it, they are only getting the ball on the 30 or 35 yard line. We wanted to put them in punting positions, but unfortunately we only got them to punt one more time.”

The score stayed that way until Xenia’s game-winning drive.

Poronsky was 11-for-23 passing for 106 yards, connecting with six different receivers.

He also had 66 yards rushing on five carries and Jones added 63 yards on 13 carries.

Dietz led the defense with 17 tackles and Cael Liette had 16.

Andrew Oen added 10 tackles.

McManus completed 14 of 17 passes for Xenia for 122 yards, while Sanders rushed for 190 yards on 31 carries.

Ronnie Butler had 11 tackles for the Xenia defense and Jarnell Smith added 10.

The Red Devils will now play its Miami County series the next two weeks — traveling to Troy Friday and hosting Piqua the following week.

No posts to display