Even though a football game is four quarters, a good start is often the difference in the game, and that was the key to Saturday evening’s Crawfordsville and Tri-West game.

It was the visiting Bruins who got off to the great start and led the way to a 37-14 Sagamore Athletic Conference win.

“We had a pretty good start,” Tri-West coach Chris Coll said. “However, after what they did last week we never really felt comfortable until the very end.”

Tri-West (5-1, 4-0) set the tone on the first play when Jake Hendershot hit Chris Staton on a 49-yard pass for a touchdown. A holding penalty brought the play back but seven plays later Hendershot hit Mitch Alexander on a 12-yard pass and after Thomas Tintera’s extra point was good, the Bruins had an early 7-0 lead.

After a three-and-out by the Athenians, Hendershot found Alexander open again, this time from 22 yards out and Tri-West was up 13-0 and that lead stretched to 19-0 when the Bruins scored on an Austin Lazaro double reverse which covered 33 yards on the first play of the third drive.

“We just aren’t ready to come out and play when the game starts,” Crawfordsville coach Sean Gerald said. “We can’t give up scores and then start with a couple of three-and-outs and expect to win.”

Hendershot pretty much had his way as the sophomore threw for four touchdown passes and rushed for another. On the night he completed 15 of 27 passes for 176 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He also was the second leading rusher in the game with 58 yards on 15 carries.

“He’s just a sophomore and he is learning more and more each week,” Coll said about his quarterback. “He has the physical tools and he is working very hard on the mental aspect of the game. We know he will make some mistakes, but he is making better decisions each week and that’s all we can ask for.”

“Their quarterback made a lot of good plays,” Gerold said. “He’s a big, strong kid and we would hit him and he just wouldn’t go down. This game always just comes back to blocking and tackling and we didn’t do a real good job in those areas.”

Crawfordsville managed to give its homecoming crowd something to cheer about late in the second quarter when Travis Harris found PJ Schafer on a 13-yard scoring strike to cut the lead to 19-7, but the Bruins had an answer. Tri-West put up the final score of the first half, with just 57 seconds remaining when Hendershot found Nick Phelps on a 33-yard pass.

Hendershot threw his fourth, and final, scoring strike of the game, to Staton in the third quarter as the Bruins stretched its lead to 31-7.

The Athenians, who had rallied from 49-10 before losing 49-44 a week earlier, brought the crowd back into the game when Harris scored early in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 31-14, but there was no comeback this time.

“We continue to do some good things, but we do a lot of silly things too,” Gerold said.

The Athenians (1-5, 0-4) will entertain Lebanon on Friday, while Tri-West will battle undefeated and second-ranked Western Boone for first place in the conference.

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