Just when it looked like Wauseon was starting to get the momentum, a big interception changed the outcome of the game as Archbold turned a 14-7 lead into a 35-7 rout of the Indians Friday to start Northwest Ohio Athletic League football play at Archbold.
“Coming into this game, and to start the league, we knew it would be tough,” admitted Archbold coach David Dominique. “It was a very physical football game. I’m proud of the way our guys played.”
With the game at 14-7 and Wauseon beginning to move the football, Archbold got a needed defensive stop that changed the outcome of the game. Faced with a third down after a penalty, Tony Grime out jumped a Wauseon receiver for the football at midfield and returned an interception 11 yards to the Indian 39.
“We had some bad turnovers,” admitted Wauseon coach Travis Cooper. “You can’t turn the ball over in a game like this against a team like that and expect to do well.”
A pass completion of 20 yards from Brandon Taylor to Antonio Cruz moved the ball to the 2-yard line, where from there Noah Gomez went the final yards on the next play to score for a 21-7 lead with 4:18 left in the half.
“We had some guys make some great plays,” Dominque said, which could be used on both offense and defense for the Bluestreaks. “I said all week whoever won the turnover margin was going to win (the game).”
Both teams ended the half by throwing an interception.
Taylor added a scoring jaunt of 43 yards late in the third quarter on a play where he felt the Wauseon pressure, rolled to the left, and took off after a pump fake at the line of scrimmage.
Zach Rocha made the final 35-7 when, after Wauseon chewed up three minutes with a drive but lost the ball on downs, he scored from a yard out. On the play before, Rocha ran through three missed tackles off the right side of the line for 41 yards to get to the 1.
Gomez got the scoring started, running it in from 16 yards out with under five minutes to go in the opening quarter. The Streaks then forced a Wauseon punt, and with the next drive marched 81 yards – and – was helped by two pass interference calls in nearly four minutes to get a score from Gomez from 10 yards out and a 14-0 lead.
“We talked about needing the first score,” stated Dominique. “It gets the momentum going and it puts them back on their heels. Getting the first score – and doing (it) the way we like to running the football – was good.”
Wauseon quickly had an answer. On second-and-9 from the 28-yard line, a fake up the middle drew everybody in, and Xavier Torres was able to go 65 yards to the Archbold 7. Backed up thanks to a sack by Matthew Gladieux, Wauseon was in a fourth-and-goal from the 13 where Cody Figy came in and found Sean Brock near the end zone, and Brock was able to fall into the end zone for the touchdown.
“I thought we needed something positive to happen,” said Cooper, “just to get the guys back in the game. They were deflated, I think. The turnovers killed us.”
Taylor was 6 of 11 passing for 60 yards and added 108 yards on the ground. Gomez added 94 yards and three scores and Rocha had 60 yards as the Bluestreaks ran for 292 yards in the game.
Figy was 6 of 9 passing for 42 yards and Penrod finished 9 of 16 for 59 yards. Garrett Smith hauled in five passes for 32 yards, Brock had three catches for 28 yards and Noah Tester had four catches for 26 yards. Torres led the Wauseon ground attack with 68 yards.
Archbold (4-0, 1-0 NWOAL) travels to Patrick Henry next. Wauseon (1-3, 0-1) plays Friday at Bryan.
Reach Randy Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org