Freshmen carrying the load for Tiffin

Right now, Tiffin University is trying to make it work with a freshman backfield.

The quarterback is true freshman Antonio Pipkin. The running back is Jerry Brown, who last year at this time was leading McComb to what became a deep OHSAA playoff run.

It’s a tough spot, one that even opposing coaches recognize.

“When you have a true freshman at quarterback and a true freshman at tailback, it’s tough to be consistent,” said Findlay coach Rob Keys after his team claimed a 35-14 win over the Dragons Saturday. “I’m nervous when there’s a true freshman playing outside linebacker or special teams.”

But there’s little question whether Brown should be out there. He went over 100 yards in total offense and had a rushing touchdown for the Dragons. As the weeks have gone on, he appears to be getting more and more comfortable in Gary Goff’s offense.

“I gotta step up,” Brown said. “I’m No. 1 running back now, but we have plenty of running backs who can go in and make plays. Me and the offensive line, I’m finally getting comfortable with them. I know where to run during the plays, and how much time it takes for the plays to develop.”

Goff referred to Brown as “the high note” of Saturday.

“If you’ve watched Jerry over the last couple of weeks, he’s gotten better and better,” Goff said. “He’s no longer a true freshman; he’s out there competing and he wants to win. He’s working hard throughout the week as well.”

As for Pipkin, he threw for 245 yards, but was sacked four times.

“I thought Pipkin played good, but this wasn’t the best game he’s played,” Goff said. “By no means did he play bad, but there are some things he’s going to see on film that he’s going to learn from. We missed a few throws in the middle of the field right there.”

PRIME TIME: Findlay won’t get to celebrate its win over Tiffin for long. It travels to Columbus for a Thursday night contest against nationally-ranked Ohio Dominican.

The game will be carried on television nationally by the CBS Sports Network.

Keys said it’s exciting.

“It is, especially at the Division II level,” Keys said. “For these guys, they rarely get the national spotlight. It’s easy, Division I, you get the national exposure every day and ESPN highlights. Here we are, we get a chance to play on national TV.

“But it’s a double-edged sword. I told our guys, ‘you better perform and you better win, because everybody’s watching,” Keys said.

SCREENS: Tiffin sacked Findlay quarterback Verlon Reed three times. Stefan Willis, Keith Butts and Bill McCague recorded the stops. … Buckeye Central graduate Jordan Herrnstein had a pair of tackles Saturday. … Goff said he thought Findlay may have been looking ahead to Thursday. “We had a team in here that was looking past us, and they weren’t ready to play,” Goff said. “It’s a shame we couldn’t capitalize on that.”