The best game on paper in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League’s week six slate of games, turned out to be just that Friday in Archbold. The lead changed four times in the final quarter, as visiting Bryan had the last laugh, scoring on an 18-yard connection from Nate Miller to Titus Rohrer with 21 seconds remaining to defeat the Bluestreaks on Homecoming, 20-17.
The Streaks have now suffered back-to-back losses after starting the season 4-0.
“It was a great football game. Unfortunately, we were on the losing side of it,” said Archbold coach David Dominique. “I’ll be honest with you, we had a good week of preparation. But, we just didn’t make enough plays tonight. Bryan made more plays than us. So hats off to them. It was a great high school football game. Never fun to be on this side of it, but it is what it is. We just got to learn from it. We gotta learn to finish.”
Archbold trailed 7-3 at halftime and well into the second half, before finally catching fire in the fourth quarter.
The tide began to turn when they pinned the Golden Bears back inside the 40-yard line on their first possession of the quarter. A Bluestreak sack of Miller on a first down play put them behind the chains, and they would go three-and-out.
Archbold put pressure on the Golden Bear quarterback the entire game.
“Our idea on defense was to get after him,” explained Dominique. “Nate Miller’s a great quarterback. If you give him time, he’s gonna pick you apart. We were able to get to him a lot, get some pressure on him.”
The Streaks were turned over on downs on the ensuing possession, however, their defense again forced a three-and-out of Bryan.
Working with a short field, Archbold scored in just three plays. On second-and-6 from the Bryan 16, running back Zach Rocha bounced outside and rode home for a touchdown to give the Streaks the lead. Elijah Zimmerman’s extra point put them on top 10-7 with 5:52 to play.
Bryan was then given a short field, as they hopped on a squib kick near midfield.
Miller used both his arm and his feet to help advance the Bears deep into Archbold territory. Forced into a third-and-5 from the nine, he hit Rohrer for six yards and a first down with 3:01 left. Dominic James found paydirt on the next play, but a missed point after by Chandler Jackson kept the margin at three, 13-10, with 2:39 to go.
Isaiah Gomez got the Streaks started on the first play of the next possession, catching a 17-yard pass from Brandon Taylor to put them at their own 46. Antonio Cruz followed with a nine-yard catch and run, then Noah Gomez rushed for two yards which gave Archbold a first down at the Bryan 43 with 2:18 remaining.
After a trio of sacks by the Bears but also two defensive penalties, the Streaks were then faced with a second-and-14 at the 34. Taylor found an open Tony Grime streaking up the left sideline and the junior scored the go-ahead TD, making it 17-13 with only 48 seconds left.
However, the Bears got a nice return out to their own 46 on the corresponding kickoff. Then, on the first play of the drive, Miller hit Brycen Andrews on a quick slant and he galloped down to the Bluestreak 18-yard line.
“We brought a blitz and they caught us on it,” said Dominique on the play by Andrews. “We were aggressive all night, why go away from it? That was a big thing for us. But at the end of the day, they made plays at the end.”
Following an incomplete pass, the 6’6” Rohrer hauled in a jump ball in the end zone to stun the Streaks.
Both teams got on the scoreboard in the second quarter. For Archbold, it came on a 35-yard field goal from Zimmerman near the midway point of the frame. Bryan would get seven on a four-yard plunge from James with 4:14 left in the half.
The Streaks drove down the field at the end of the quarter, only to be stopped at the one yard line, keeping the margin at 7-3 at the break.
Taylor hit on 17 of 29 passes for 176 yards, one TD and a pick. His favorite target was Isaiah Gomez who caught eight for 75 yards. Cruz had five catches for 47 yards.
On the ground, Noah Gomez tallied 85 yards on 18 carries, while Rocha had 17 yards on four carries and a score.
For Bryan, Miller went 13 of 20 for 191 yards and the winning TD to Rohrer. Andrews was the Bears’ leading receiver at 110 yards on seven catches, while Rohrer had five catches for 79 and a score.
Archbold (4-2, 1-2 NWOAL) has to turn the page quickly, as they hit the road to face unbeaten Liberty Center this week.
“We’re gonna rebound,” stated Dominique. “You don’t have time to dwell on this one because we go to Liberty Center next week and they are a great football team. We got to improve this week and just get back to it.”
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010