Pipkin powers Dragons past Malone

There are a number of interesting things about Antonio Pipkin, many of which have nothing to do with his impressive skill set.

Pipkin is a freshman, and a young freshman at that. He only recently turned 18. He wasn’t recruited to be the Dragons’ quarterback.

He wasn’t even recruited to play football.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder from Gary, Ind., was brought in by TU men’s basketball coach Jerry Buccilla. He’s still expected to play basketball this winter.

But for now, he’s quarterbacking the Dragons.

And Saturday, Tiffin football coach Gary Goff was happy for that.

Pipkin ran for three touchdowns and threw for one more Saturday, accumulating 265 total yards as the Dragons beat Malone, 34-30 at Frost-Kalnow Stadium.

“I thought Pip had a really good game,” Goff said. “You still saw a few freshman mistakes. He probably missed three or four touchdown passes; he’ll start seeing that quicker and quicker. The game will start slowing down for him.”

Still, after the team did everything but score touchdowns last week in a loss to Northwood, Pipkin’s three score-effort was just what the Dragons needed.

“This week we really focused on finishing drives, Coach drilled it in our heads,” Pipkin said. “We installed some new plays and worked hard all week practicing goal line situations.”

It paid off.

Pipkin’s 25-yard run with 5:24 left in the fourth quarter put the Dragons up 34-16, and appeared to ice their first win of the season.

The run was set up after TU ran two plays in which Pipkin, from the shotgun, handed off to back James Hall that netted 3 yards. On third down, it appeared TU was running the same play again when Pipkin appeared to put the ball in Hall’s chest. But instead, Pipkin pulled the ball away and darted through a hole on the right side. He was untouched when he crossed the goal line.

“That’s all (Pipkin) right there,” Goff said. “He’s just reading it out.”

But the Pioneers scrambled back with a pair of late scores, and attempted an onside kick down four with 19 seconds left in regulation.

But Tiffin’s Antonio Etter – who already had an interception on the day – recovered the attempt to seal the contest.

“I’m a captain on this team, and they expect me to make plays,” said Etter, who had two tackles and broke up a pass. “That’s what I did – made the big play.”

Also making big plays was TU defensive end Joe Collard, who had 17 tackles.

“Just the gameplan,” Collard said. “(Defensive coordinator Seth) Duerr and the rest of the coaching staff, coach [Glenn] Scheuzow, coach [Josh] Ison, they do a great job. We watched so much film on Malone and it’s just … go out there and play. That’s what it comes down to.”

Tiffin intercepted Malone quarterbacks twice – once by Etter and once by Brandon Person.

It wasn’t pretty, but after four losses to start the season, Goff will take it.

“A win’s a win,” Goff said. “I don’t think you ever have to be unhappy about a win. If that’s the case, you need to get out of this business.”

Malone took a 10-7 lead in the second quarter when running back Justin Davis scored on 1-yard run. But the Dragons answered with 17 straight points, with a TD from from Pipkin to Shead following scoring runs by Pipkin and Patrick Boggs.

Malone was led on offense by rushing for 122 yards and scoring a pair of touchdowns. The Pioneers fell to 0-5.