By JIM HAYNES
Times-Reporter sports writer
ZOARVILLE It was a tale of two halves as the Triway Titans beat the Tusky Valley Trojans 32-13 on Friday night.
Both teams struggled to get its offenses going in the first half as each team displayed a tough defense.
With the game still scoreless late in the second quarter, it looked as if Tusky Valley would catch a break after Triway misplayed a punt deep in their own territory. However, Triway recovered the muffed punt at its own 7 yard line. That’s when Triway junior quarterback Parker Carmichael took over.
Taking a page out of John Elway’s book, Carmichael led the Titans on a 15-play, 93-yard drive for the game’s first score. Carmichael was 9 of 11 passing on the drive as he picked apart the Trojan defense. It looked as if Tusky Valley would thwart the drive making, Triway face a 3rd and 18, however a crucial defensive pass interference penalty gave the Titans a first down.
Three plays later, Carmichael found receiver Jordan Miller in the end zone from 12 yards out. The extra point was good and the Titans headed to the locker room with momentum and a 7-0 lead.
The Titans got the ball to begin the second half and promptly returned the kickoff 33 yards to midfield. The Trojan defense held tough forcing Triway into a 4th-and-10 situation, but Triway faked the punt and converted a pass covering 19 yards for the first down.
Carmichael then worked his magic again, only this time with his legs as he scrambled 11 yards to paydirt giving the Titans a 13-0 lead. Tusky Valley finally would get on the board in the third quarter as quarterback Derek Horstman found receiver Tristen Anderson in the end zone from 8 yards out making the score 21-7. The drive was highlighted by a beautiful pass down the right sideline that Bryan Lewis hauled in for a 66-yard gain.
Triway answered by scoring on the next possession as Carmichael threw an 8-yard strike to Troy Haven. The two-point conversion was good and Triway was up 29-7 early in the fourth.
Tusky Valley kept fighting and scored on its next possession as running back Kyle Stewart ran to paydirt from 3 yards out. The 2-point conversion failed, leaving the score 29-13.
The big story in the second half was Triway’s ability to convert on fourth down. It was 6-for-6 on fourth down, converting two fake punts. Those seemed to take the air out of the Trojans.
“We made some plays, but those fourth-down conversions killed us. They (Triway) fake punt all the time and we practiced against that this week, but we just didn’t execute tonight,” said Coach Curtis Love of Tusky Valley. “We’re pretty young, and I think we got a little fatigued in the second half, but our guys never quit. It wasn’t a lack of effort tonight, we just didn’t make the big plays.”
Tusky Valley falls to 2-2, while Triway improves to 2-2.