DEFIANCE- Archbold overcame a special teams error to begin the second half that resulted in an Indian Lake touchdown, then an injury to star quarterback Gabe Petersen to defeat the Lakers in the opening round of the Division V, Region 18 football playoffs 23-14 Friday night at Defiance.
“You always set goals (before the season),” said Archbold coach David Dominique after the game. “There’s win the league championship, make the playoffs. And then, we’re not satisfied just getting here. We wanted to keep on moving. We just got to get better everyday, move on to next week.”
The Blue Streaks will now move onto the regional semifinal where they will head to Findlay’s Donnell Stadium this Friday to take on Marion Pleasant. The Spartans won handily over Genoa Friday, 48-21.
Despite allowing a pair of first downs, the Streaks used two sacks to stall Indian Lake’s opening possession.
Gabe Petersen broke free for a 58-yard TD on the ensuing possession and Kaiden Bedsole’s extra point gave them a 7-0 lead less than five minutes in.
The Streaks would add to their lead on a drive that extended into the second quarter.
They were pushed to a fourth-and-1 from the Indian Lake 36 yard line on the drive, where Gabe Petersen called his own number and picked up a first down at the 30. Four plays later, he connected with Isaiah Gomez in the end zone from 17 yards out to make it 14-0 with 9:34 left before halftime.
Archbold took that two-score lead into the half, but they had a mishap on special teams to start the third quarter. Set to get the second half kick, the returner let the ball get by him and failed to fall on it, turning it over to the Lakers at the Blue Streak 10.
Two plays later Indian Lake quarterback Clay Jacobs hit Collin Coburn for a TD from 11 yards out, and after a Derek Cline extra point, Archbold’s lead was reduced to 14-7, 47 seconds into the third.
In response, Archbold used a good mix of run and pass to move into Laker territory.
A turning point in the game happened on third-and-1 at the Laker 15, as Gabe Petersen scrambled and nearly scored before he was drilled on his left knee at the two to give the Streaks a first down. However, more importantly, the senior QB had to be helped off the field after the play and twin brother Sam Petersen took his place.
“It’s very tough,” said Dominique of the injury. “He’s been our leader all year long. He’s been a great player for us. But, you know, we prepare for situations like this. Sam gets reps (at quarterback) all the time (in practice). We always say, next man up. You gotta step up and that’s what Sam did.”
He stepped up on the next play when he punched it in from two yards away, but a failed two-point conversion made it 20-7 just past the halfway point of the third.
“I’ve been practicing QB every practice,” noted Sam Petersen. “We knew it could happen, and I needed to step up when it happened. I just needed to step up for my team and my brother.”
Indian Lake running back Connor Dixon had runs of 20 and 13 yards to get them in position to answer the score by the Streaks. After a catch by Coburn down to the one and a roughing the passer penalty, Dixon hammered it home, reducing the margin at 20-14 at the 2:20 mark of the third.
However, on a drive led by Sam Petersen, the Streaks closed out scoring in the fourth quarter with a 31-yard field goal by Bedsole with 10:16 remaining.
“It was real nerve-racking, emotional,” he said of having to replace his brother. “But, you need to put your team on your shoulders (in that situation). Our offensive line stepped up. And young guys stepped up. When we band together and play football, we are a dangerous team.”
The Lakers moved the ball into Archbold territory after the field goal for a last ditch effort, but were stopped by the Blue Streak defense. On fourth-and-4 at the 26, a pass intended for Dylan Knotts was broken up.
“We knew coming in they had a lot of athletes,” said Dominique of the Indian Lake offense. “Especially that #15 (Coburn), he’s one heck of a football player. And we had to find a way to give them different looks and slow them down. I was very happy with the way our DBs (defensive backs) flew to the ball. It seems like there was always somebody flying around trying to get their hands on the ball.”
Archbold was led by the running of the Petersen twins. Gabe Petersen finished with 93 yards rushing and a score on 10 carries, while Sam Petersen finished with 97 and a score on 18 carries. Before getting injured, Gabe went 10 of 13 for 90 yards and a TD through the air.
For the Lakers, Jacobs went 16 of 29 for 169 yards passing with a TD and an interception. Dixon rushed for 80 yards and a score on 17 attempts. Coburn added 12 receptions for 116 yards and a TD.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010