The Shawnee-Tippecanoe rivalry isn’t a conference game anymore. But after years of battling for supremacy in the Central Buckeye Conference, it doesn’t mean any less.
“Every year they’re circled on our calendar and we’re circled on their calendar,” said Tipp coach Joel Derge, whose team now plays in the Greater Western Ohio Conference. “And they want what we want and we want what they want. And our kids were preparing for this since August 1st.”
Late in the first half Friday night Tipp was prepared to take a 7-0 lead into halftime. Shawnee was backed up to its own 10-yard line with 45 seconds to go. The Braves’ plan was to see if they could break a long running play and then play for a touchdown. But the Braves fumbled and Clay Barhorst scored on a seven-yard touchdown run on the next play for a 14-0 halftime lead.
It wasn’t game over, but it certainly was the momentum shift that changed the game.
Tipp pounded away with its uptempo and deceptive Wing-T running game in the second half behind Josh Burritt and Cole Barhorst to roll to a 38-0 victory in a rare shutout loss for the Braves.
“I was surprised,” Shawnee coach Rick Meeks said. “I thought we’d play them tougher. It doesn’t feel like we made much progress.”
The Braves (1-1) have a mix of experience and young players, and it showed with penalties in the first half that kept the Braves from a possible 7-7 tie.
“We just self-destructed,” Meeks said. “We’ve got guys who are inexperienced in some spots and we jump offsides the very first play of the game and then we drop a snap. Just not executing, and that’s my fault.”
Execution was not a problem for the Red Devils (2-0). Burritt rushed for 127 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown and Cole Barhorst carried 17 times for 90 yards and a touchdown. The Red Devils outrushed the Braves 308 to 112 yards.
“We got all of our line back this week and we’ve been preparing all summer for Shawnee,” Burritt said. “We made some adjustments for the second half and everything just clicked.”
Cole Barhorst rushed for 1,132 yards last year as a junior. But Burritt played JV. Last week he gained 153 yards on 14 carries after winning the halfback job in August practice.
“We’re real proud of the way he’s running,” Derge said. “He’s finding those holes and trusting his blocking.”
Burritt has been serious in the weight room and has taken advantage of his opportunity.
“That’s just our culture at Tipp,” Burritt said. “We’re raised to never take a play off, just be on it all the time. That’s just who we are.”
Shawnee star Jack McCrory is suffering from a bad ankle, so he played mostly on defense and had only two carries.
Shawnee continues its tough nonconference schedule next week at playoff regular Clinton-Massie. The following week they play Indian Lake, which is coming off an 11-1 season.
“I just want to make sure we’re improving before we get into conference,” Meeks said, “and hope that we survive.”