After holding the lead for the majority of the game, the young Tri-West Bruins’ football team just couldn’t quite hold on for good.
A 27-yard field goal with 23 seconds left by West Lafayette gave the Red Devils a final 9-7 advantage over the Bruins. It was a close two-point defeat to a Wet Lafayette team that went to semistate in Class 3A last season.
“I’m pretty proud of the way the kids played,” Tri-West coach Chris Coll said. “(Wet Lafayett) was a pretty good team and we played our rear ends off.”
After the field goal went through the uprights, Tri-West kept fighting and returned the ensuing kickoff close to midfield. But they fell victim to a sack on first down and then took a couple shots downfield that did not pan out.
“We competed to the end, we took a shot at it in the end and we just ran out of gas,” Coll said. “It’s the first game and it’s not hot but we still had some cramping going on and we’re playing with 23 guys.
“I’m proud of these kids. We are short some numbers and that’s going to hurt us a little bit but the guys that I’ve got, I love them to death. They just played their butts off there tonight.”
West Lafayette scored a field goal on their first possession and added a second to lead 6-0 in the second quarter.
The Bruins responded with a Jake Hendershot 5-yard touchdown run and a Thomas Tintera extra point for the 7-6 lead. Hendershot also threw for 74 yards as Mitch Alexander had three catches for 24 yards and Chris Staton had two catches for 20 yards.
Coll was also proud of the Bruins’ defense as they limited the Red Devils offense to three field goals.
“I think it says a lot. Without watching the film, we just battled,” Coll said. “I know we made some mistakes out there but we just battled. We were very physical and I was very proud of that.”
Granted, it is only the first game but Coll talks with a great sense of pride of his roster.
“This team is going to be a physical team,” he said. “We are real inexperienced, we are young and they are going to make mistakes but they just play so hard and they just get after it. I really like the way these kids play the game.”