One big, actually huge play. That’s all it took for David Dominique’s Archbold Blue Streaks to escape a precarious situation and vault them to an outright NWOAL football title, as they pulled away to a 30-0 home win over Evergreen Friday.
Archbold is now 8-1 overall and 7-0 in the league with a game remaining with the Swanton Bulldogs.
The Vikings now need more than a minor miracle to reach the postseason, as they fell to 4-5.
Archbold got into Evergreen territory thanks to a 15-yard defensive chop block but the Vikes stopped Gabe Petersen on a fourth and one at the 29.
Evergreen got to the Blue Streak 28 thanks to a circus catch of 29 yards by Josh Dowling, however, a fumble on the snap from center was recovered by Izrael Reyes to stop the threat.
The Blue Streaks took advantage of another Viking miscue to pick up nine second quarter points to break the scoreless tie.
With Evergreen in punt formation at their own 22, the snap from center was low and rolled into the end zone and by the time punter Aaron Pember could get to it, Gavin Grime tackled him for a safety.
After the free kick, Archbold drove 58 yards in 10 plays, aided by a offsides penalty that turned a fourth-and-six into a fourth-and-one which Gabe Petersen picked up two for the first down.
Sam Petersen got the last nine yards for Archbold, putting them up 9-0 heading into halftime.
It was Sam Petersen again on the sixth play after the second half kickoff, bolting 31 yards to put Archbold ahead 16-0.
Evergreen put together a drive keyed by Hunter Van Wert’s 14-yard run, and two Jack Etue to Grant Donnald passes of 16 and 26 yards to get to the Blue Streak 1 yard line. However, that’s when the play that turned the game totally in favor of the Blue Streaks happened.
With Van Wert battling through tacklers for the end zone, the ball flew loose and was picked up by Zach Rocha who rolled 94 yards the other way for a Blue Streak touchdown that turned what possibly could have been a one-score game into a 23-0 Archbold lead.
Archbold added a late Gabe Petersen nine yard run on a short field drive for the final tally.
The Vikings were their own worst enemy with six fumbles, a number on the center snap to the quarterback, two of which were lost along with the one that turned into the opening score of a safety.
Evergreen had one more turnover on a fourth quarter interception.
Archbold hopes to improve their Division V playoff position this week versus Swanton, while Evergreen needs a win over Bryan and a lot of help to get into the Division VI postseason.