Delta overcame a furious rally from Toledo Rogers who scored three straight third quarter touchdowns to grab the lead, going ahead on a JD Osborn score with 7:38 to play in a 20-18 win last Friday at home.
The Panthers used the two-headed monster of JD Osborn and Tristen Saeger to build a 13-0 lead by halftime. Saeger ended a lengthy opening drive by the Panthers with a three-yard run into the end zone and Tyler McCullough added an extra point to make it 7-0.
In the second quarter, Osborn rumbled 58 yards on a second down play to set Delta up at the Rogers 10 yard line. Two plays later he took a toss from Dawson Swicegood, breaking through initial contact for a score from five yards out. The point after attempt was blocked and the Panther lead sat at 13-0 with 7:39 left in the first half.
“Unbelievable,” said Delta coach Jeff Wolford of Osborn’s effort. “He fumbled the ball (early in the game) and he’s like ‘coach I just cost you the game.’ I go no you didn’t, I honestly told him ‘god tests us, this is a test. What are you gonna do? You gotta go.’ And he goes, ‘I’ll get it back.’ And he did. Then he ran like a man possessed.”
The Panthers tried to add a field goal in the waning moments of the half, but a muffed handle of the snap led to Swicegood being brought down back at the 22 for a loss of nine yards.
Rogers was forced into a third-and-long situation on its first possession of the third quarter, however, quarterback Christian Warren found an open receiver deep down the left sideline as the Panther defensive back misplayed the ball, leading to a 65-yard touchdown. The extra point try missed as Delta’s lead was cut to 13-6 not even two minutes in.
“He was right there, but you can’t do that. You can’t let a guy get behind you,” said Delta coach Jeff Wolford of the play. “That’s what he did.
“They have some athletes. We knew that if we let anybody behind us we’re in trouble. And that’s true. We told the kids, they’re gonna get a couple. They got their couple (scores), I didn’t think they’d get three. But we didn’t quit, we kept fighting.”
The Rams’ second score was set up by a Panther fumble.
Following a 15-yard run from Eudeam Dobson to put them at the two, Kejuan Jones punched it in. The Panthers held a 13-12 lead after another failed extra point, but the Rams would soon take the lead.
A Delta three-and-out and a bad punt gave Rogers good field position inside the Panther 35 near the end of the third. On a fourth-and-1 play from the four, Warren found an open Jon-paul Pasker in the end zone to give them an 18-13 lead with under a minute to go in the quarter.
A penalty backed up the Panthers to a first-and-23 from their 40 on the ensuing possession to begin the fourth, but freshman Shawn Cook picked up 27 yards to move the chains to the Ram 33. Eight plays later, Osborn sprinted through a big hole for a three-yard TD, putting the Panthers ahead for good.
“That was a crucial moment in the season, when they scored three touchdowns in a row,” explained Wolford. “We could have quit, we could have buttoned up. Been Delta of old. These kids decided no.
“We had a couple plays where my star offensive linemen, my two best linemen, were saying ‘coach, don’t run behind us, they’re overloading.’ So we ran the other way and it worked. It was just amazing.”
Delta (1-1) finishes non-league play Friday night when they visit Tinora (0-2).
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010