LONDON – Tippecanoe turned its size disadvantage into an advantage all season, winning with flair and big plays at the right time. Then came Bloom-Carroll.
The Bulldogs were more like Huskies across the offensive line in Friday night’s Division III state semifinal. They ranged from 250 to 330 pounds and averaged out at 282.5. And the running backs that hooked their sleds to to guys with numbers like 67 and 75, plowed through tacklers for extra yards and moved piles like a rugby scrum.
Tipp did its best to stand its ground, but the ground kept giving way and Bloom-Carroll gained all of its 420 yards on the ground to end the best season in Tipp history with a 35-12 victory.
“We knew coming in that we were going to have to move our guys around; we couldn’t just go toe to toe,” Tipp coach Matt Burgbacher said.
Bloom-Carroll (14-1) has been winning toe-to-toe battles all season and will play Canfield (13-1) in the state final next Friday in Canton. Big dog running backs Dylan Armentrout (31 carries for 251 yards) and Andrew Marshall (17 carries for 124 yards) were a constant threat to gain a first down.
Tipp (13-2), however, was able to do what it wanted on offense by spreading out the Bulldogs and taking advantage of their speed. The Red Devils opened with a balanced drive but fumbled at the 2-yard line. The Bulldogs went 98 yards for a 7-0 lead on Armentrout’s 8-yard run.
Tipp started another drive but another fumble led to a 65-yard drive and an Armentrout 7-yard TD run for a 14-0 lead. Tipp answered on quarterback Liam Poronsky’s 5-yard run, but the Bulldogs bulled up the middle to block the first of two Jackson Kleather extra-point tries.
“We stopped ourselves. They didn’t stop us,” said Poronsky, who completed 22 of 29 passes for 231 yards and threw one interception. “The only time they stopped us was when there were 20 seconds left in the half.”
Tipp trailed 21-6 at halftime and the Bulldogs opened the second half with a 75-yard touchdown run by Armentrout for a 28-6 lead.
The deepest run in Tipp playoff history meant a lot to Poronsky and his teammates, especially because with only two starters back from the previous season people outside the team didn’t give them much of a chance.
“We accomplished a lot and I had high goals for our team coming in,” Poronsky said. “Being able to rally these guys to be able to do what we sought out is amazing. And the support from the whole community it’s unheard of here at Tipp. Our goal was to be the one to leave that legacy. And we’ve done that.”