After dropping their first regular season contest in almost two years at Delta last Friday, the Indians responded by defeating their arch rival Archbold, 15-7, in a hard fought contest at Harmon Field Friday night.
“Defensively we played well,” said Wauseon coach Travis Cooper after the game. “We challenged our guys this week because the last couple of weeks we haven’t really been flying around, we haven’t been swarming to the football. So we made it a point of emphasis (in practice).”
“Offensively, we didn’t take care of any parts of the game plan. We’ve kind of regressed and keep going backwards in terms of our turnovers and penalties. We are lucky to win when our offense plays as bad as we did tonight.”
For the Blue Streaks, although they had suffered a pair of lopsided defeats the previous two weeks, they came back with a strong defensive performance against the Indians.
“The defense had a great night tonight,” said Blue Streak coach David Dominique. “That’s one thing, our guys left everything on the field. And that’s what we asked of them this week.”
Down only 7-0 about halfway through the third quarter, and with the Indians backed up on their own 25, they had a punt sail over Brendan Wilson’s head which gave the ball to the Streaks at the Wauseon four yard line. Two plays later, Archbold quarterback Gabe Petersen kept the ball on a read-option play to score from two yards out, knotting the game at seven apiece with 6:34 remaining in the third.
Wauseon, who did not have much luck offensively through the first three quarters, finally got things going on their opening drive of the fourth.
Pushed to a third down and 15 thanks to a holding penalty, Wauseon quarterback J.J. Kauffman hit Josh Whitcomb on an out route for a first down.
Then, with a fourth down from the Archbold 46, the Indians’ running game broke through as Kauffman ripped off a QB keeper down the right sideline for a score.
“We made a personnel adjustment,” said Cooper of the TD run. “And a lot of times that happens, because teams are geared up right at the line to make the play and if they don’t make the play right at the line, you can bust a big one.”
A fumbled snap on the extra point attempt allowed the holder, Kauffman, to find Mason Creager for a two-point conversion as the ball went through the hands of a Blue Streak defender. This equalled the final tally of 15-7 with 4:05 left in the game.
Archbold was able to advance the ball near midfield with the aid of an offsides and personal foul penalty on Wauseon.
In total, the Indians committed 13 infractions for 105 yards on the night.
“Our goal this week that we talked about was to get 25 or less (penalty yards). I think we had that in the first quarter,” said Cooper. “So we are just not playing disciplined football, and that comes back on me.”
A throwback screen to Sam Petersen after the personal foul picked up eight yards, however, the Streaks followed that up with an intentional grounding infraction. After Gabe Petersen’s one yard pick up on third down and long, his pass on fourth was intercepted by Wauseon’s Danny Hench at the Indian 35 to put the win away for Wauseon.
“You could see at times we weren’t clicking on offense. And that goes back on me, we’ve got to keep working out there,” said Dominique. “We’ve got a lot of young guys, but that’s no excuse. We’ve got to make plays.”
The game began with a flurry as the underdog Archbold, elected to go for an onside kick on the opening kick-off that they recovered near midfield.
However, the drive ended prematurely as Gabe Petersen picked up two yards on second-and-11 from the Wauseon 49 and a pass by the Streaks fell short of Seth Mayer on third.
Wauseon got on the scoreboard first on their third possession of the game. After a big pass play to Hench, Wilson ran for 16 yards down to the Archbold 11, where on the following play, Everett Bueter ran it in to put Wauseon ahead by seven at the four minute mark of the first quarter.
The Indians outgained Archbold 265-87, while holding the Streaks to only 34 yards rushing. Kauffman paced the Indian rushing attack with 84 yards on 22 attempts and a TD. Wilson added 60 yards on 11 carries.
Wauseon (4-1, 1-1 NWOAL) next hosts Bryan for homecoming this Friday. Archbold (2-3, 0-2) returns home to take on Patrick Henry.
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010