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Malvern falls to Caldwell in opening playoff game

By Bob Evans
Sports Editor

Malvern High School football
Malvern’s Cobin Plessinger used this running play to put himself in the Malvern record book. Plessinger finished Saturday’s game with 105 yards rushing. He now stands as the Hornets’ all-time single season rushing leader with 1,894 yards.

MALVERN: The Caldwell Redskins scored with 1:10 left in the game to defeat the Malvern Hornets 28-21 last Saturday night in a Division VII, Region 25 quarter final game.

Malvern ends another fine season at 8-3 and Inter-Valley Conference champions. This was the Hornets seventh straight year to make the playoffs.

Caldwell, which improved to 9-2, advanced to play Shadyside Saturday night in the regional semifinal at Woody Hayes Quaker Stadium in New Philadelphia at 7 p.m. It was the Redskins first playoff win in seven tries.

Even in defeat Malvern first year head coach Todd Shadle was proud of the accomplishments his team achieved this season.

“I told the kids to be proud,” said Shadle. “We are IVC champs and no one expected us to be here. We had a great year, and I couldn’t ask for a better senior class.”

It all came down to execution.

“They (Caldwell) did a better job of executing than we did tonight,” noted Shadle. “It all comes down to assignment football.”

The Hornets dug themselves into an early hole - falling behind 14-0 by the end of the first quarter.

The Redskins scored on a pair of pass plays from quarterback Tanner Clark of 11-yards to Tanner Baker and to Johnny Carpenter for 39-yards.

Malvern got things going in the second quarter to cut the Caldwell lead to 14-7 on a Mitchell Haasz 18-yard scoring pass from senior quarterback Trey Tucci.

The Hornets tied the game at 14-14 at the 6:45 mark of the third period on a one-yard run by senior running back and IVC Player of the Year Cobin Plessinger.

However, Malvern could not make the lead stand up as the Redskins scored on their next position following a long return of the Hornet kickoff. Clark got free and scored on a 38-yard run and Caldwell took a 21-14 advantage with 2:17 left in the third.

In the final quarter, the Hornets tied it up again at 21-21 when Tucci hit Haasz who went up high and out-jumped a Redskin defender and took it in from 40-yards out.

Bricker Lori scored the winning touchdown on an option play from 36-yards out on fourth and long.

Malvern tried to mount a final drive, but failed. Tucci was sacked for a 10-yard loss, forcing the Hornets to turn the ball over on downs and Tucci came up just a yard short on a fourth-and-22 run with 38 seconds left to play.

Clark took a knee twice to run out the clock and the Hornets season.

Plessinger had another strong game for the Hornets rushing for 105 yards on 27 attempts and becoming Malvern’s all-time single season rushing leader with 1,894 yards. The previous mark was held by Taylor Tucci.

“He is a special football player and we are going to miss him,” Shadle said.  “Without a doubt he deserves to be the IVC Player of the Year.”

Trey Tucci had a solid outing for the Hornets, rushing for 56-yards and hitting 6-of-11 passes for 115-yards and no interceptions.

Haasz was Tucci’s favorite receiver with four catches for 85 yards.

For the Redskins, Lori led all rushers in the game with 117-yards on 17 carries and Clark added 97-yards on 18 attempts.

Baker led the Redskin receivers with five catches for 84-yards.

CALDWELL: 14  0   7   7 - 28
MALVERN:     0  7   7   7 - 21

First Quarter
CALDWELL: Tanner Baker 11-yard pass from Tanner Clark (Jason Allen kick)
CALDWELL: Johnny Carpenter 39-yard pass from Tanner Clark (Jason Allen kick)
Second Quarter
MALVERN: Mitchell Haasz 18-yard pass from Trey Tucci (Anthony Ruegg kick)
Third Quarter
MALVERN: Cobin Plessinger 1-yard run (Anthony Ruegg kick)
CALDWELL: Tanner Clark 38-yard run (Jason Allen kick)
Fourth Quarter
MALVERN: Mitchell Haasz 40-yard pass from Trey Tucci (Anthony Ruegg kick)
CALDWELL: Bricker Lori 36-yard run (Jason Allen kick)

RUSHING: Caldwell - 35-208; Malvern - 43-164. PASSING: Caldwell - 1-13-139; Malvern - 6-11-115. FIRST DOWNS: Caldwell 16; Malvern 15. TOTAL YARDS: Caldwell 347; Malvern 279. PENALTIES: Caldwell 3-30; Malvern 3-35. FUMBLES/LOST: Caldwell 0-0; Malvern 0-0.

RUSHING: Caldwell - Tanner Clark 18-97, Bricker Lori 17-111; Malvern - Cobin Plessinger 27-105, Trey Tucci 13-56, Anthony Ruegg 3-3. PASSING: Caldwell - Tanner Clark 7-13-139; Malvern - Trey Tucci 6-11-115. RECEIVING: Caldwell - Tanner Baker 5-84,  Johnny Carpenter 1-39, Bricker Lori 1-16; Malvern - Mitchell Haasz 4-85, Jalen Graves 1-23, Cobin Plessinger 1-7.

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