Wauseon rebounded from yet another slow start, trailing 14-0 after the first quarter, to score 48 unanswered in a 48-14 win over Patrick Henry on Senior Night at Harmon Field Friday.
“I’m just proud of our seniors,” said Wauseon coach Travis Cooper. “Because at first I wasn’t sure they were gonna walk off of (the field) with a good taste in their mouth. But they took care of business at the end.”
It took the Patriots just six plays to score on the game’s opening possession.
The big play was a 38-yard pass from Jarrett Maas to Xavier Wensink to get the ball down to the Wauseon 27 yard line. TJ Ramey would later score from five yards out and AJ Healy’s extra point made it 7-0 2:42 in.
The Indians had to punt on their first possession and Patrick Henry would strike again.
Following a first down run from Wil Morrow, Maas hooked up with Kolton Holloway streaking across the middle and he galloped down to the Indian 12. Two plays later, Morrow added a six-yard touchdown which put the margin at 14-0 with 5:37 left in the first quarter.
“It’s so frustrating. I got a Fitbit, and I’m pretty sure that my blood pressure was pretty darn high,” said Cooper of the sluggish start. “Because I have been harping on it now all season. We come out flat and not focused. And I take it personally. I’ve tried every trick in the book to get us focused and I feel like I’m part psychiatrist. I can’t figure out the button to push. But, I’m glad that they finally responded and came out and made some big plays.”
The Indian offense drained the rest of the time off the clock in the first quarter, and on third-and-goal at the one to begin the second, Xavier Torres ran it in from a yard out. Andrew Gray’s extra point sliced the Patriot lead in half, 14-7.
A delay of game penalty stalled the Patriots’ next drive. Then, for the second week in a row, Wauseon’s Dawson Rupp blocked a punt.
“We work on it in practice quite a bit. And he executed it,” said Cooper of the play. “Again, it was huge because then we get the ball with great field position. It’s just little things like that, just to steal the momentum and get our guys rolling.”
This set them up at the Patriot 41. On the six play of the drive, Hunter Yackee hit Junior Martinez for a 24-yard TD, tying the game midway through the quarter.
Later in the frame Wauseon’s senior quarterback found Kyle Zirkle open and he did the rest, running 72 yards to pay dirt to give them a 21-14 lead just 3:07 before halftime.
Owen Newlove’s interception in Patriot territory led to a 40-yard TD by Torres that extended the lead at 28-14 with 2:40 remaining.
They even got the ball back one more time before the end of the half and made it count.
Pushed to a third-and-19 at their own 45, Yackee hit Newlove over the middle and just before he was taken down, he pitched it to Everett Bueter on a designed hook and lateral play as he took it the rest of the way for a score.
“It worked out perfect,” said Cooper on the execution of the play. “I didn’t know if Owen (Newlove) was gonna get it off or not. But, it was a perfect play and they executed it. To score right before the half, gave us some great momentum and it pushed that lead further.”
Martinez and Thomas Leahy added a TD each in the second half to equal the 48-14 final.
The Indians had over 400 yards of offense, outgaining the Patriots 423-294.
They were led by on the ground by Bueter who racked up 70 yards on six carries. Martinez added 64 yards on seven carries.
For PH, Morrow had 100 yards on 19 carries.
Wauseon (7-2, 4-2 NWOAL) ends the regular season at Delta (1-8, 0-6) this Friday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010