The first start is out of the way. Now it's time for Antonio Pipkin to try and build on it.
The freshman quarterback made his first start last week in a loss at Northwood. Today, he starts against Malone, a team which, like the Dragons, is looking for its first win of the season.
Pipkin was decent in the loss to the Timberwolves, throwing for more than 200 yards. But, he was sacked nine times.
Tiffin coach Gary Goff said with another week of practice, Pipkin should be in a better position than last week.
"I think just like any freshman at any position, the more game reps you get, the better you're going to be," Goff said. "Game reps is something that you can't simulate, just the speed of everything."
Pipkin will be going against a defense that has struggled. The Pioneers - who have scored overtime wins over the Dragons in each of the last two seasons - are giving up more than 43 points a game.
"Malone, they run a 3-3 stack defense," Goff said. "They do a lot of stuff defensively, they do a lot of different coverages, so it is a different look; they're the only team in the conference that runs that defense. It's something that, to prepare for, you've got to spend a lot of time with the quarterback showing him the different looks and where the linebackers are. It's a pressure type defense; they try to confuse you up front with all their different type of defenses."
The Dragons' defense will get another test today, as Malone will bring its option offense to town. Running back Bryce Pratt is the catalyst for the Pioneers. He's averaging 92 1/2 yards a game, and 5.8 yards a rush.
"They run the option, and in order to stop the option you've got to play assignment football," Goff said. "You've got to have your linebackers go through their reads and understand that you've got to tackle this guy or that guy. We need all the guys on defense to do their jobs and not do somebody else's. Last year (Malone) did a good job with the option and ran the ball very successfully on us. They've really done that this season against everybody. They've ran the ball very effectively against all their opponents. On the flip side of that, they've given up a lot of yards as well."
Goff said Malone has some things in common with his squad.
"There's a lot of similarities. I think Malone, they play very hard; they've also played some very good teams to start the season," Goff said. "They're scoring a lot of points; they're also giving up a lot of points. They're a tough-nosed group that plays smart. We're at home; we've played hard. We seem to play even harder at home. That's exciting; we've had a good week of practice. We just gotta go out there and execute."
Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m.