Sidney, Butler and West Carrollton mustered 51, 38 and 39 yards rushing, respectively, against Tipp in Weeks 2-4. Xenia managed three yards on 17 carries and was 1-for-11 on third down.
Thursday’s defining moment came at the end of the first half when after first-and-goal at the Tipp 4-yard line, Xenia turned the ball over on downs after a failed fourth-and-goal snap from the 5 with six seconds left. The Red Devils also forced a first-half fumble, produced another turnover on downs and notched a safety.
“We’ve been playing great,” senior linebacker Cayd Everhart said. “We have a great front seven and solid DBs coming up to help in run support.”
“We feel like we can trust our front seven to stop the run,” senior defensive back Jason Rindler said, “and our four DBs to stop the pass.”
Since Week 1, the Red Devils have outscored opponents 208-45. They’ve committed just three turnovers in their five wins.
Junior quarterback Liam Poronsky threw three touchdown passes for Tipp, including two to Rindler that covered 23 and 21 yards, the last forcing a running clock with 9:29 to go in the third quarter. His 19-yard touchdown pass to Evan White gave the Red Devils a 23-0 halftime lead.
Everhart added a 4-yard second quarter touchdown run.
Xenia, led by first-year head coach Maurice Harden and employing a new spread offense run by freshman quarterback Gavin McManus, reached Tipp territory twice in the first half thanks to big plays from junior Tremell Wright, who returned a kickoff to the Tipp 44-yardline and intercepted a pass at the Tipp 32. Neither drive netted a first down.
“When you lose a game, you’re either going to learn from it or you’re not,” Burgbacher said. “Our kids learned a ton (from the Bellbrook loss). After that, we understood what it was going to take to get it done, and each week we keep getting better. Week 1 opened up our eyes.”
The Red Devils have huge tests the next two weeks. Tipp hosts Troy next Friday for homecoming before traveling to Piqua in Week 8. Xenia hosts Butler next week.
“Every week is big for us,” Burgbacher said. “We’re just little old Tipp City. We love to go out and compete. And that’s what our kids do.”