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WARREN OH- On Friday night, rivals took to the field to start out MVAC Gray Tier play and they left everything out there. Newton Falls came into Champion and went blow for blow against their rival after a little bit of bad blood was left on the field last season. Newton Falls was playing with their backup quarterback in Sophomore Keegan Murray, and he played very well with Alex Pennington out.

​Our game got started with Champion receiving the football and coming out on their opening drive with a 55-yard rushing touchdown from the raining MVAC player of the week Nick Vesey. On the first play from scrimmage for the Tigers their running back responded with a 50+ yard run to set them up at the one-yard line and Keegan Murray took the QB sneak in to tie the game up. Once more Champion would get the ball and immediately gave it to Vesey and he would thank them for and take the ball on another 50+ yard run that would set Champion up at the ten-yard line. Vesey would grab the ball again and take in a 10-yard touchdown run and Champion would jump back out in front 14-7.

​Newton Falls would then get the ball on their own 35 andwould fumble the football on the 39 a few plays later. Champion would take it 37 yards down to the one and fumbled on the one and it was recovered by the Tigers defense. The very next play from the one Camryn Brainard would have put together the play of the season as he would line up in the wildcat and run the ball off to the left side of his O-line and nearly fumbled in the endzone after slipping a tackle but recovered and broke off another would-be tackle for a 99=yard touchdown run to tie the game.

​This would all happen in the first seven minutes of the first quarter. No touchdowns would be added until the fourth quarter. A safety came off a high snap over the Tigers punters head and out of the back of the endzone to put Champion up 16-14 early in the second quarter. With two minutes to go in the third quarter Jason Sipka would come out and drill a 34-yard field goal to put the Tigers out in front for their first lead of the night.

​In the fourth quarter, the Golden Flashes would go on a long drive with a lot of penalties that ended in a Joey Fell 15-yard touchdown run to put the flashes up 22-17 as they would fail to convert on the two-point conversion. The Tigers would fumble on their next drive and Champion would take over on the Tigers side of the 50 and would drive it down and Nick Vesey took in a 6-yard rushing touchdown and Champion would go up 29-17 and the game looked all but over.

Newton Falls would receive the kickoff and go on a long drive that ended inside the redzone as they would turn the ball over on downs and Champion looked like they had just won the game with this defensive stop with two-minutes to go. But Champion would get the ball and fumble the first play, they recovered but had to burn a timeout to address the error. This allowed the Tigers who had just two timeouts at this point tostop the ball after every play and Champion would end up failing a would-be game winning fourth down conversion so the Tigers would get the ball back. One play later and Keegan Murray would go deep to Nick Wright for a 29-yard passing touchdown to make it a one score game with 39 seconds to go. The game came down to an onside kick that Champion would recover, and they came away with a close victory in what was an epic heart-stopping battle between rivals.

This game lived up to the billing as Champion would win the night 29-24 over Newton Falls. Champion picked up their first home win of the season on Military and First Responder Appreciation night. The Golden Flashes move to (2-2) on the season and will head on the road next week to take on the LaBrae Vikings. Newton Falls drops their third straight game as they are now (1-4). The Tigers will come home for next weeks matchup against a tough Garfield G-Men squad.

*Contributed By YSN’s Alek Koberna

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