METAMORA – Wauseon broke away from a 15-7 halftime lead, with four unanswered scores to put away a scrappy Evergreen team, 42-7, to garner their eighth win in nine games and stay tied for the top spot in the NWOAL title race.
The Indians drew first blood when after the Vikings picked up a first down, Josh Whitcomb picked off a Nick Etue aerial and returned it to the Evergreen 19 yard line.
Wauseon could not pick up a first down but Whitcomb nailed a 28 yard field goal to put the Indians on the board.
Evergreen then went on a long 14 play drive that started on their own 26.
Josh Laux and Tyler Noe had first down receptions, and Levi Carson and Etue had runs of 11 and 12 to grab two more to help the Vikings get to first-and-goal at the Indian 8.
The Indian defense stiffened there and Etue overshot a Viking receiver in the back of the end zone to kill the threat.
A horse collar tackle penalty on Evergreen helped Wauseon get out of the shadow of the end zone, and from that point J.J. Kauffman had first down carries of 12 and 8 yards before Brendan Wilson found a seam in the Viking defense and raced 45 yards just before the end of the first quarter to give Wauseon a 9-0 lead.
Again the Vikings drove to the red zone, and again the Wauseon defense turned them away.
Etue dove for one first down on a fourth-and-one on his own 44. Carson rambled for another first down to the 40 and Laux got the Vikings into striking distance with a catch at the 28.
However, when Evergreen reached the 20, an incomplete pass, a loss of two and another incomplete shot down the threat.
After exchanging punts, Wauseon began a scoring drive from their own 20.
Jacob Flory rumbled 15 to get a first down at the 40. Kauffman got 10 on a fourth-and-one near midfield. Then Kauffman found Mason Creager on the sideline down to the Viking 2, where after racing back and forth across the backfield he found Danny Hench in the end zone with 43 seconds left in the half to put the Indians up 15-0.
Evergreen answered right back as Etue hit Carson just inbounds on the sideline for 25, then found Chandler Lumbrezer on the hash mark at the 25, where the Viking freshman simulated Kauffman’s earlier move, sinning and weaving into the end zone with 22 seconds left in the half to draw Evergreen within 15-7.
That was as close as the Vikings would get as Kauffman took over in the second half.
The Indian senior went 3 for 3 on the opening drive of the second half, setting up his own 5 yard dash to make it 22-7, and after the Vikings went three-and-out, Kauffman rolled to the left edge and continued to roll 64 yards to paydirt with 2:59 left in the quarter making it 29-7.
The Indians scored twice more in the fourth on Ty Leininger’s 14 yard touchdown catch and Everett Bueter’s 11 yard run.
Evergreen drove into the red zone one more time but Whitcomb’s second pick of the night put an end to the scoring chance.
Wauseon ran for 296 and passed for another 161 while the Vikings had 127 on the ground and 179 in the air.
Wauseon plays Patrick Henry Friday night with visions of a week 11 playoff spot in Division IV. Evergreen finishes the regular season, looking for a fifth win at Archbold.
Joe Blystone can be reached at [email protected]