Talawanda dominated time of possession in the first half and had the advantage in total yards and number of plays but Mt. Healthy scored twice in the first 7:17 of their game Friday night, Oct. 14 and the Owls went on to win 34-0.
It was final football game on Talawanda’s Bowers Field, as the Braves will be on the road for their final two games of 2011.
The Owls scored on the opening kickoff on a 75-yard return and then, with 7:43 to go in the first quarter, on a 30-yard run. Both scores were by Tyrell Hines, who added a third touchdown on the evening with 5:05 to go in the game on a 60-yard punt return.
“We came out and dropped a couple balls.” Mt. Healthy coach Arvie Crouch said. “Tyrell Hines makes plays like no one else. We lean on him a little bit.”
The game stood at 14-0 from midway through the first quarter until 6:13 remained in the game, which was delayed 30 minutes after the first quarter when lightning was seen in the distance.
Hines’ third score of the game was the middle of three in the final 6:13 when Mt. Healthy added 20 points to their first-quarter total.
“I told the guys that, except for that stretch in the beginning and the stretch at the end, we did some nice things offensively and defensively,” Talawanda coach Mike Wright said. “It’s the old song and dance. The opposition made some plays. It’s like we are always three inches short and just a hair off of making plays.”
Hines finished the night with one carry for 30 yards and a touchdown, but he also had one reception for 8 yards and a TD, three punt returns for 77 yards and a score and 75 yards on one kick return for a touchdown. He also punted twice, averaging 39.5 yards.
Talawanda was led in rushing by Dakota Byrd with 42 yards on eight carries and he added one pass reception for 11 yards.
Crouch said his team was happy to leave with a win.
“Credit Talawanda. They ran the ball on us,” the Mt. healthy coach said. “We outscored them at the end. We challenged our O-line and they responded.”
Wright said his team has not given up despite their 0-8 record.
“Offensively in the first half, we controlled time of possession. We did a good job” Wright said. “I’m proud they are still out there. They practice hard. They play every Friday night. It’s tough asking 14-, 15-, 16-year-old guys to continue to make the effort and maintain being a team.”
Times have been tough for the Talawanda football team on Bowers field in recent years, unlike the early years of the program in which the Braves experienced some of their greatest successes.
The Braves have managed 9-1 records in five seasons—1962, 1963, 1973, 1989 and 1990.
Talawanda had a three-year record of 29-3 in three seasons, 1989-91 under coach Doug Krause, which also included a co-championship and a championship in the Mid-Miami League.
John Trump was the school’s first football coach and he saw the first three teams go a combined 26-2 with two outright league titles and one co-championship. Trump finished 36-11 for his five seasons as coach and had at least a co-championship every one of those years.
That success continued under the leadership of his successor, Marvin Wilhelm, who added four more league titles in his six years as coach.
The school could not sustain all that early on-field success, however, and there have been stretches of years with limited wins but there has only been one year, 1975, in which they did not win a single game, going 0-9-1 that year.
They need a win in one of their final two games this season to avoid their only 0-10 season.
Friday’s game saw many of the school’s past football coaches return for on-field recognition and Wright said he was glad to see that.
“It’s nice to see former coaches out there. It was special for them,” he said. “There is a lot of history here.”
Talawanda will be at Edgewood this Friday for the first of two road games to close out the 2011 season.