Archbold kept their season rolling along in a positive fashion Friday night, using a fourth down stop in the fourth quarter to propel them to a 21-12 win on Homecoming over Liberty Center.
The Blue Streaks are now 6-1 overall and 4-0 in Northwest Ohio Athletic League play.
“Our guys came out to play. They’ve been doing it week in and week out,” said Archbold coach David Dominique. “We had a hiccup week two, and I’ve said it all year long, you learn a lot about yourselves in a loss. And we have. We grew up together, we play as a team, and the biggest thing is, we’ve been playing physical football. We are not the biggest team, but we came out tonight and played a physical brand of football that we’ve been trying to get to for the last couple of years.”
It looked as if momentum was shifting early in the third quarter when the Tigers marched down the field for six points on their opening possession.
Caleb Carpenter put Liberty Center in Archbold territory with a gain of 22 yards down to the 33. They continued to churn out yards with carries by North West, Carpenter and Jarrett Krugh, setting the Tigers up with a first and goal from the six yard line.
After a gain of two by Carpenter, West ran it in from four yards out but the Tigers missed the two-point conversion, trimming the Blue Streak lead at 14-12 with 5:48 left in the third.
The Streaks had a pass picked off at the LC seven on its next possession, keeping momentum on the side of the Tigers. However, pushed to a fourth-and-1 from their own 40 early in the fourth quarter, Archbold stuffed Carpenter for no gain to turn it over on downs.
“We’ve said it all year long, our defense, they may bend at times but they don’t break,” explained Dominique. “They don’t give up on plays. You saw it again tonight. Coach (Todd Petersen) does a great job, and our other assistants get these guys ready to go. But the most important thing, they come out and execute.”
They took advantage of the opportunity from 13 yards away as quarterback Gabe Petersen barreled his way into the end zone, making it 21-12 with only 6:24 remaining.
Gabe Petersen was once again the Blue Streaks’ leading rusher, carrying it 28 times for 141 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“He got some tough yards towards the end,” said Dominique of his quarterback. “You know he made some mistakes, and he was kind of razzled there for a little bit. So the big thing for us was to get him under control. Then he came out and made some huge plays in the fourth quarter.”
Liberty Center’s Orry Killam missed a 23-yard field goal wide left with 3:43 to go to essentially end the game.
Archbold got out to a fast start in the first half with Sam Petersen breaking loose around the right side for a 24-yard TD and Kaiden Bedsole’s point after put it at 7-0 5:30 in.
The Tigers responded with a TD from Carpenter midway through the second quarter, however, a blocked extra point kept the Streaks ahead by one.
Archbold would extend their lead before halftime on a nice drive that started back at their own 25. After advancing the ball into Tiger territory, Gabe Petersen found Nic Rodriguez for completions of six and 19 yards for a first down at the 18.
Sam Petersen carried for three yards on the following play, then three straight runs from Gabe Petersen, the last a one-yard plunge into the end zone, gave the Streaks a 14-6 lead at the half.
“They kind of had the momentum towards the middle of that second quarter,” said Dominique. “So it was big for us to get that ball in the end zone. I think it kind of took the wind out of their sails for a little bit towards the end (of the half).
“They are a heck of a football team. And we knew it was gonna be a four-quarter battle. We got that tonight. It was one heck of a NWOAL game.”
Archbold barely outgained Liberty Center (5-2, 2-2 NWOAL) 261-245.
Sam Petersen added 52 yards and a rushing TD on 10 carries. In the passing game, Rodriguez had six receptions for 44 yards.
Leading the Tigers was Carpenter who finished with 144 yards on 24 carries and a score. West had a score and 92 yards on 18 totes.
Archbold is at Delta (1-6, 0-4) this Friday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010