SHARPSVILLE - As the Tri-Central Trojans celebrated their second consecutive sectional championship on Friday night, Sheridan head coach Larry "Bud" Wright stood with his team.

First, he delivered a few words, and then he dismissed the underclassmen before pulling some of his seniors aside.

The cheering Trojans fans and flicking scoreboard behind him told the final chapter of his 2014 Blackhawks.

Tri-Central 34, Sheridan 14.

Coach Wright, however, added the afterword.

"They played hard," Wright remarked on his team's effort, especially his senior group. "I'm proud of all the guys.

"In the last three years, they've been beat by the state champ and maybe four years in a row. Tri-Central is a pretty disciplined football team, and they have a lot going for them."

Falling to No. 6 Tri-Central (10-1) for the second time this season and for a fourth consecutive meeting, Sheridan (7-5) lost their first game against the Trojans 40-21 on Oct. 17.

Last November in sectional, Tri-Central won 35-7 en route to the program's first Class A state title. In the two years prior, Sheridan lost to eventual four-time state champion Lafayette Central Catholic in sectional.

On Friday with the Sectional 44 title on the line, the unranked Blackhawks looked determined to reverse the trend.

Down 7-0 after a game-opening scoring drive by the Trojans, Sheridan tied the game early in the second quarter behind a 13-play series capped by senior running back Austin Hoover's 1-yard run.

The play unfolded on a crucial fourth-down call. In the first half, Sheridan went 5 for 8 on third down and recorded eight first downs to keep its offense in rhythm.

Hoover entered the game with 629 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns through two postseason games, including an eight-touchdown performance last week in the sectional semifinals.

Against Tri-Central, he led the team with 142 yards on 33 carries and scored both of Sheridan's touchdowns. His longest run was measured at 40 yards.

"We thought we had it. We played well, and the seniors played tough," Hoover said. "We left in all on the field. That's all you can ask."

While Tri-Central's first touchdown went to running back Dillon Smith on an 8-yard carry, the Trojans went to the air for three of their next four.

Quarterback Cody Howell connected with Colten Leininger off a play-action pass for a 12-yard touchdown to increase Tri-Central's lead 14-7 in the second quarter.

Sheridan responded immediately on their next drive, marching from their own 37 to the Trojans 15 with less than two minutes left in the first half.

Unfortunately, Sheridan's lone turnover surfaced and with it the Blackhawks' momentum sank.

Quarterback Garrett Chesney dropped back and pitched the ball to Hoover, who rolled out for a halfback pass. Under pressure and hit, his throw lofted high, which Tri-Central's Cale Hindman picked off and returned for a 96-yard touchdown.

Seconds later, Hindman caught a Howell pass for a two-point conversation and a 22-7 lead.

"It was designed to go to Jake (Chesney) and I just didn't see him right away," Hoover said. "I tried to roll back and I saw (Garrett) open. When I got hit, I didn't throw it as hard as I wanted to and it didn't work out."

"That was a back breaker," Wright added. "We went from tying it up to going two touchdowns down."

The Trojans scored twice more in the second half with Leininger completing the hat trick with two more touchdown receptions coming from Howell.

His second covered 3-yards to cap a clock-eating 11 minute and six seconds drive.

Tri-Central gained 19 first downs with 10 in the second half. The rushing trio of Smith (17 carries, 80 yards), Cody Colbert (14 carries, 82 yards) and Howell (12 carries, 52 yards) combined for 15 rushing first downs.

"It was hard getting off the field. We were bruising it out, trying to get there, and we got so close," Hoover said. "They just kept getting it."

The Trojans final pitch-and-catch score from Howell to Leininger stretched 67 yards on a third-and-8 from Tri-Central's 33. Two of the Trojans' scores were converted on third down and another occurred on fourth. In the second half, Tri-Central was a flawless 5 for 5 on third down.

Howell finished with 125 yards passing on eight completions. Leininger led all receivers with 93 yards and four catches. The last time the two teams met, Howell passed for 159 yards and two touchdowns.

"You have to stop their running game and put people up there, and then they have two or three really good receivers. That puts you in a bind. You have to play disciplined football," Wright said. "They've had great success throwing the ball, and in our first game against them, they broke the game open by throwing the ball. Their quarterback is the key to the whole thing."