Friday night’s Sagamore Conference opener was a contrast of styles, between the wide-open offense of Tri-West and the smash-mouth power running game of Lebanon.
The battle went to old school, power football, as Lebanon dominated both lines of scrimmage for a 27-7 victory.
“I thought we had good effort, we’re just inconsistent,” Tri-West coach Chris Coll said. “We’re young and inexperienced in some places. We had a couple of three-and-outs on defense and we had some other times we gave up some third-down plays and they stayed on the field. Offensively, we drove a couple of times and couldn’t finish. We’re gonna get better.”
Tri-West quarterback Jake Hendershot either passed or scrambled out of the pocket on all but four plays for the Bruins. Meanwhile, Lebanon was content to hand the ball off to its stable of running backs, led by Jamason Wright, who had 226 yards on 41 carries.
On Tri-West’s second possession, the Bruins had a punt that hit the punter’s personal protector. Lebanon followed with a six-play, 62-yard drive, capped by a 2-yard touchdown by Aiden Hood for a 7-0 with 3:54 to play in the first quarter.
Lebanon (3-0) added a 40-yard field goal by Nathan Kincaid for a 10-point lead. On the ensuing possession, Hendershot engineered a seven-play scoring drive ended with a 1-yard TD run.
With 3:44 left until halftime, Wright carried the Tigers 80 yards on seven carries, including a 1-yard run that gave Lebanon a 17-7 halftime lead.
Lebanon opened the second half with a 29-yard TD reception by Eric Hart for a 24-7 lead at the 7:48 mark of the third quarter.
Neither offense could do much the rest of the quarter as the teams traded turnovers and punts. However, Wright and the offense were back in rhythm to start the fourth quarter.
Wright and his line embarked on a 16-play, 61-yard drive that took eight minutes off the clock, and Kincaid tacked on a 24-yard field goal.
Tri-West (1-2) will host Danville (1-2) next Friday.
“It’s important to keep things in perspective as to where we’re at in the season,” Coll said. “We knew going into this that this is a team that needs to build towards the latter half of the season. As we go, we have to keep getting better. I didn’t know for sure how good we’d be early, but we’re trying and that’s who we are right now.”