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Tigers defend sectional title in rout

Moments after senior quarterback Erick Hebauf connected with sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Thacker for a 20-yard touchdown on its first possession, the Triton Central football team gave up a 63-yard kickoff return by Providence Jaxon Murphy, who ran it back to the 17-yard line.

It was just about the only significant mistake made by the Tigers in a 35-7 win – yet it didn’t cost them a point.

On the next play, Murphy tried to pitch the ball back to senior Jeremy Gettelfinger, but was off target on the lateral. Triton Central’s Jayden Mays pounced on the loose ball to give it back to the Tigers’ offense, and from there, the Tigers took over.

Triton Central scored on all four of its possessions in the first half to take a 27-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Following Thacker’s catch and Mays’ fumble recovery, the Tigers ate up the clock, using a ground attack that resulted in Hebauf scoring on three quarterback sneaks.

“We’ve got solid running backs and a great line of scrimmage, and when those things work together, we had enough answers to everything they changed to try to make a difference,” coach Tim Able said. “Our line of scrimmage won the game, both sides of the line of scrimmage. We challenged our line before the game. We thought we were quicker. They’re a quick team, a physical team. We earned that championship. (I’m) proud of our kids, proud of our season, considering the circumstances (with COVID-19).”

The Tigers pounded the ball inside and out, which opened up the aerial attack by Hebauf and his receivers.

Freshman Ray Crawford and senior Hayden Kermode combined for 118 yards on the ground in the first half as the Tigers kept the ball out of Gettelfinger’s hands. Prior to the game, Gettelfinger had 1,000 rushing yards this season but with him on the defensive side of the ball, his running skills were not on display.

With the running attack effectively moving the ball, the Tigers were able to go to the air.


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