From an aesthetic standpoint, Twinsburg's 21-20 double overtime win over Copley was not pretty — even on Copley's shiny new turf.
Head coach Mike Bell had to deal with injuries and lack of depth in the opener on the road at Copley, but the Tigers showed heart and resiliency in the win.
Bell tipped his hat to his team’s toughness in the win.
"It was a great team win," said Bell.
To his credit, first-year Copley mentor Jake Parsons went for the win in the second OT session.
When the Tigers’ secondary broke up a 2-point conversion pass in traffic by Jackson Madden to seal the win, the Tigers rushed the field to celebrate.
"Our defense battled and there were a couple of defenders there, but our kids fought and did a heck of a job," said Bell.
The play of the game was at the start of the second overtime when senior Dominick Glenn went low and caught a 16-yard TD pass near the goal line.
Glenn and Indians defender Trenton Peck had a head-on collision near the goal line.
For a brief moment, neither player moved and no one could see if the ball was caught, but once things settled, the officials declared it was a touchdown.
"I couldn't see the catch, but it was tremendous concentration by Dominick," said Bell. "It was a huge play and a nice roll-out pass."
"All of the time as coaches, we talk about doing the best you can to put themselves in a position to succeed and win," Bell stressed. "We did that. [Offensive coordinator Chris] Knopick had a good call."
Glenn, who has 4.5 speed, made a lot of plays in the opener and had two other touchdowns — one run and a pass catch — called back due to penalties.
"Dominick brings a different element to the game, he is so athletic and has great speed," Bell said.
Besides Glenn's play, standout two-way junior Aidan Corrigan was also a big key.
A starter at linebacker, Corrigan, who was fighting cramps, rolled out left on the play and tossed a bullet to Glenn, almost in a sidearm motion to squeeze the ball between two defenders. Senior Brett Callow booted the crucial PAT.
It was Copley's turn to start at the Tiger 20 and another Twinsburg penalty — pass interference — set up the Indians.
Antoine Campbell, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound receiver, caused the flag as Copley was using him on the fade pass in the red zone.
On the second fade toss, Madden found Campbell in the deep corner of the end zone for a 7-yard TD pass.
That's when Parsons elected to go for the win and a host of Tiger defenders broke up the pass in the end zone.
In the first OT, Madden was wide right on a 30-yard field goal attempt.
Twinsburg then got its chance, but a penalty and a fumble on a poor jet sweep exchange thwarted that chance.
The Tigers had a slew of penalties in the game, some missed tackles, and had errors that need to be cleaned up before hosting rival Solon Sept. 6.
"I think the encouraging thing is, these are correctable things that the coaching staff can work on with the kids," said Bell.
"In the preseason and scrimmages, we had plenty to work on and our willingness as a team to compete and improve these things have already been evident," he added. "That's what gets me excited as a coach, there are things that can be fixed."
Glenn scored on a 62-yard reverse run at the 3:52 mark of the first quarter.
Lined up at the slot, Glenn came around as Corrigan looked to pitch the ball to senior Jamir James and Glenn got the ball and raced around the end untouched to make it 7-0.
After a Tiger pass was intercepted off a carom, Copley answered to make it 7-7 with 31 ticks left in the first half when Morece Reed leaped over the line on a 1-yard TD run.
A fumble recovery by Twinsburg led to the next score as James had a 23-yard TD burst on fourth-and-3.
James (79 yards on 16 carries) broke four tackles on the run and use a stiff-arm to break free as it was 14-7 with 6:23 left in the third.
Copley quarterback Joe Reho then went down with a leg injury, but it didn't stop Copley from converting two fourth-down plays.
Copley's Reed scored on a 2-yard run and it was 14-14 with 11:24 left in the game.
The Indians threatened again midway through the quarter, but Tiger senior Emile Levert intercepted Madden.
With three-year starter Kyle Apple lost for the season and veteran juniors Ethan Cribley and Dylan Crouch out with injuries, Twinsburg's linebacking corps was shaken up.
"We had three kids not able to go at linebacker and then Aiden [Corrigan] was cramping up," noted Bell.
Corrigan had 33 yards rushing and 25 through the air and when he was replaced, senior Ryan Christenson fared well, hitting 3-of-7 passes for 58 yards. Junior Alex Branch had a key 36-yard catch.
"We have had a quarterback rotation and battle throughout the preseason and our scrimmages, so all three have played, but we still had confidence in Ryan (Christenson) when he came in," noted Bell.