By Jeff Robison Flyer correspondent
Hendricks County Flyer
---- — LIZTON — Evidence was there in Friday’s opening night game that the 2013 Tri-West Bruins could be a very good football team.
However, the Bruins couldn’t match the game-changing plays of West Lafayette’s offense, as the visiting Class 3A eighth-ranked Red Devils topped No. 7 Tri-West, 26-15.
“We got better as the game progressed, but we had mistakes and did not capitalize on our opportunities,” Tri-West coach Chris Coll said.
“At times, we played them pretty tough, but we gave up some big plays.”
While the Bruins offense needed time to get warmed up, West Lafayette was able to change field position with large gains that helped set up scores, making it too much for Tri-West to keep even.
A 43-yard run in the second quarter by Red Devil running back Maurice Woodard provided the impetus for West Lafayette to take a 6-3 halftime lead. Later, a 42-yard pass play from Parker Ronchetto to Kyle Turner set up a 15-yard scoring pass from Ronchetto to Travis Rolle that put the Red Devils up 20-9.
While Woodard was a handful in gaining 234 yards and scoring on a pair of 2-yard runs, Coll did not feel he dominated the game.
“(Woodard) hurt us at times and had some big runs in the open,” Coll said. “But, there were other times we got people to him and were able to contain him.
Ronchetto might have been the ultimate difference-maker, as he threw for 153 yards, scored on a 5-yard draw play in the first half and connected with Rolle for what proved to be the clinching touchdown.
“(Ronchetto) is really nifty, and is a good back,” Coll said. “West Lafayette also has some kids that can get down the field and make plays. (They’re a) good team.”
Offense was a little tougher to come by for Tri-West, as the Bruins only had one play go for more than 20 yards.
Tri-West did nothing with its first possession, but the Bruins grinded out their next drive close enough for Thomas Tintera to kick a 35-yard field goal.
Tri-West was able answer West Lafayette’s third-quarter touchdown when Wesley Cook ran up the middle for a 5-yard score. However, the Bruins missed a big chance when Colton Jobe was stopped on fourth down at the Red Devil 1-yard line with 9:08 to play.
West Lafayette turned that stop into a 99-yard scoring drive, with Woodard’s second scoring run extending the lead to 26-9.
Tri-West got the final score when Jake Hendershot, who had 152 yards passing and 53 rushing, called his own number for the final two yards on fourth down with 3:12 to play, but it was not enough.
“We will grow from this,” Coll said. “We have some young guys and some guys in new positions. The kids played really hard, but this opens our eyes to things we need to get better at. We need to be more consistent.”