With three players back, it felt like a second opening night for the Napoleon Wildcats. Unlike the real opening night of two weeks ago, Napoleon was able to build offensively as the Wildcats left Harmon Field with a 43-6 win over Wauseon in the final tuneup before league play begins Friday.
Napoleon used two big plays in the opening period to score. After both teams punted on their initial possessions, the Wildcats struck for a score in three plays. Stuck in a third-and-eight, quarterback Andrew Warncke went downfield with a pass and hit Logan Shepherd down the sideline. Shepherd, who had to sit the first two games of the season, raced downfield for the 77-yard score.
Wauseon matched by going 63 yards in 10 plays, with Isaac Wilson bulling his way in from a yard out. Napoleon made the kick, and Wauseon missed a try for two, putting the Wildcats ahead 7-6.
Napoleon answered in one play, with Warncke and Shepherd hooking up with a 63-yard catch-and-run. The extra point put Napoleon on top 14-6.
If that wasn’t bad enough, a fumble on the next Wauseon possession gave the Wildcats the football at the Wauseon 18. Four plays later, Chasten Wilde scored from eight yards out on the final play of the period to extend the lead to 21-6.
Working on a short field late in the second quarter after a 24-yard punt by the Indians, Napoleon tacked on one more score before the half when Jarrett Gerdeman busted loose from 27 yards out on a fourth down play.
In the third quarter, Napoleon again took advantage of a Wauseon fumble to start at the Indian 26. Backed up due to a penalty, Warncke hit Shepherd, who needed some fancy footwork to stay inbounds for a 25-yard scoring strike. The two point conversion, which was successful, put the running clock in play for the rest of the contest.
With the running clock, the Wildcats chewed up 10 minutes of the quarter clock and finished the scoring with a 23-yard run by Gerdeman.
The Indians were held to 150 yards of offense in the contest. Wauseon ran for 91 yards, with Joey Shema leading the way with 29 yards and Xavier Torres adding 26. Connar Penrod ran for 23 yards and was 7 of 13 passing for 59 yards. Isaac Wilson hauled in three aerials for 27 yards.
Warncke hit 4 of 7 passes for 169 yards, with every completion going to Shepherd. The Wildcats also ran for 191 yards, with Gerdeman going for 100 and Wilde added 78.
Wauseon (1-2) opens Northwest Ohio Athletic League play Friday at Archbold (3-0).
Reach Randy Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org