Triad’s football team has become accustomed to dealing with adversity. When more came Saturday night, the Cardinals refused to let it impact them.
Triad’s Chaz Adams runs past a Cedarville lineman during the first half of Saturday’s playoff game at Triad High School. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MATT HAMMOND)
Standout sophomore quarterback Trent McIntyre was knocked out of the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury and the Cardinals struggled early to stop Cedarville’s physical running attack.
But Triad dug deep and gutted out a 28-7 victory over the Indians in a Division VII regional quarterfinal playoff game.
McIntyre returned late in the second quarter. However, backup Doug Lowe threw a touchdown pass in the meantime and the Triad defense gained confidence from a first-quarter goal-line stand that kept the Indians out of the end zone.
“This team is so unselfish,” said Triad head coach Payton Printz, who himself has been an example of overcoming obstacles by prevailing against cancer on two separate occasions. “They don’t care who gets the glory. They do whatever it takes to help this football team.”
Triad (11-0) now faces Lehman Catholic (10-1) in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Saturday at Harmon Field in Wapakoneta.
The Cardinals were forced to play the last four games of the season without do-it-all running back Tre McIntyre. He broke a bone in his leg in a game against Mechanicsburg.
Although he did not play, Tre McIntyre suited up for Saturday’s playoff game.
“It was huge to have Tre in uniform tonight,” said Printz. “The kids knew he wasn’t going to play, but just to have him with us like that was a big emotional lift.”
The Cardinals needed a boost after a tough start. On Cedarville’s second offensive series, it drove the ball deep into Triad territory behind rugged tailback Caleb Coe.
Cedarville, which lost to Triad 21-7 in a regular-season contest, had a first-and-goal at the Triad 4-yard line.
The Cardinals’ defense came up big, stuffing four straight running plays to keep the Indians scoreless.
Triad’s offense then received a big blow in the opening moments of the second quarter.
See TRIAD on Page 8Trent McIntyre, the younger brother of Tre, went down with what appeared to be a serious ankle injury. He was attended to by Triad’s medical staff for several minutes before being helped off the field.
Lowe, a dangerous weapon at wide receiver for the Cardinals, moved to quarterback and the Cardinals didn’t miss a beat.
Lowe found Tim Marsalis for a 9-yard touchdown pass that capped a four-play, 57-yard drive. Luke Donohoe’s point after gave the Cardinals’ a 7-0 lead with 5:38 left until halftime.
Trent McIntyre returned to the game in the last few minutes of the first half and made a phenomenal individual effort to keep Triad ahead at the break.
On the last play of the first half, McIntyre was picked off by Cedarville’s Coe. Coe raced down the home sideline for what looked like a potential tying touchdown.
McIntyre had other plans. Despite the sore ankle, he tracked down Coe around the 5-yard line to prevent the score.
“That was a huge play by Trent,” said Printz. “That was a touchdown saving tackle.”
Triad’s offense found its rhythm after the intermission.
McIntyre tossed a 16-yard TD pass to Steven Feasel at the 7:27 mark of the third quarter to give the Cardinals’ a 14-0 advantage.
On Triad’s next offensive series, McIntyre did it all by himself. He took off on a quarterback keeper, found an opening in the middle of the Cedarville defense and jetted 47 yards for a touchdown. Donohoe’s extra point put the hosts up 21-0 with 2:28 left in the third quarter.
Cedarville got on the scoreboard three minutes into the fourth period on a 1-yard run by Coe.
The Indians drove inside the Triad 10-yard line with six minutes remaining, but Chaz Adams snuffed out the threat with an interception at the 2-yard line.
The Cardinals tacked on a 1-yard TD run by McIntyre with 34 seconds left on the clock to round out the scoring.
Both teams finished with 276 total yards. Triad rushed for 183 yards and threw for 93. Cedarville had 193 rushing yards and 83 passing yards.
Adams rushed for 109 yards on 17 carries and McIntyre had 73 yards on nine rushes.
McIntyre was 9-of-14 for 70 yards and Lowe completed all three of his attempts for 23 yards.
Feasel had four catches for 40 yards to lead the Triad receivers.
Coe rushed for a game-high 163 yards on 36 carries for the Indians.
Adams and Andrew Zirkle each recorded 12 tackles to spark the Triad defense.
“I have to tip my hat to Rex Stapleton, our defensive coordinator,” said Printz. “He did a great job of keeping our kids up.”
TRIAD 28, CEDARVILLE 7
Cedarville 0 0 0 7 – 7
Triad 0 7 14 7 – 28
TEAM STATISTICS TRIAD CED
First downs 15 18
Total net yards 276 276
Passing 93 83
Punts/avg 4/28 2/24
Fumbles-lost 0/0 1/1