It appeared as if Wauseon would be in a dogfight when Tinora scored on their opening drive, however, the Indians shut out the Rams from that point on in a 32-6 win in the home opener Friday night.
With the victory, the Indians are now 2-0 on the season after last week’s upset of Fairview.
“It’s our home opener. We didn’t want what we did to Fairview to happen to us,” said coach Shawn Moore. “Every play, every snap, every quarter. Take it all one at a time and good things are gonna happen. The kids responded to that (message). They were focused all week. Before the game, (they) were ready to go. We got off to a little bit of a slow start, but we figured it out after that and we were able to control the game I thought.”
Tinora scored in just eight plays on the game’s first possession, culminating with KP Delarber’s rushing touchdown from eight yards out at the 7:47 mark of the opening quarter. Mason Santos’ point after attempt was blocked to put the score at 6-0.
The Rams had some success in their ‘run it right at you’ style of offense, finishing the night with 143 yards on the ground. It was a much different offense to prep for compared to the spread run by Fairview, and it was obvious the Indians needed time to adjust.
“It’s a totally different type of game (from last week),” stated Moore. “It was a ground and pound game and we knew they were gonna be physical. I think it took our guys a little bit to get used to the cracking of the pads and stuff. We’ve been playing out in space, making open field tackles. I think after we got our feet under us a little bit, we were able to do a good job defensively again and limit them with what they wanted to do.”
Wauseon showed a good mix of run and pass on their first possession. After working it down to the Ram three yard line, quarterback Cody Figy called his own number on second and goal, knotting it at 6-6 as Samuel Blanco’s extra point was no good. Wauseon could not convert an extra point kick all night, but they did have one two-point conversion – a catch by Noah Tester – following their final TD of the game in the third quarter.
The Rams, set up by a 36-yard run from Delarber, advanced the ball down to the Wauseon 10 before turning it over on downs on just the second play of the second quarter.
Wauseon quickly responded with Figy hitting Connar Penrod streaking down the middle of the field for a 79-yard score, giving them their first lead at 12-6 with 9:25 before halftime.
“We don’t preach the big plays. We say, just do what we do and get those three/four yards a crack,” said Moore. “We were able to get that pass to Connar. Thomas (Leahy) made some nice runs and Cody made some nice runs. We got the skill guys, so take some shots every once in awhile and it works out for you.”
The Indians put together another scoring drive following Tinora’s missed 19-yard field goal. Pushed to a third and 14 from their own 29, Figy connected with Jonas Tester who picked up a first down near midfield at the 47. The next play, Leahy found a hole up the middle and raced 53 yards for a TD and an 18-6 lead for the Indians.
Wauseon took the life out of Tinora with a 73-yard drive to begin the second half. The big play of the drive was a 43-yard scamper by Figy on third and four from the Indian 33.
The possession ended with an eight yard run by Leahy – his second TD of the night – to give them a 24-6 lead at the 9:10 mark of the third.
Wauseon’s last score of the night was a one yard plunge from Leahy followed by a catch from Noah Tester for the two-point conversion. The Indians played junior varsity players for most of the fourth quarter.
The Indians rushed for 228 yards on the night. They were led by Leahy who carried it seven times for 87 yards and three TDs. Figy added 12 totes for 82 yards and a score, while passing for 202 yards and a score on 14 of 23 attempts.
“That was another focus for us after the Fairview game,” said Moore. “We really didn’t run the ball at all. They kind of shut that down. So we made it a point of emphasis, changed a couple things up. Decided to put those guys in motion a little bit (and) see what they can do. We got some successful plays there. Thomas (Leahy) was able to, with those plays, be able to get some big holes inside. He really ran well tonight.”
Delarber had 66 yards and a TD on eight carries, while Christian Commisso ran for 46 on 14 carries. Max Grube had five catches for 50 yards.
Wauseon (2-0) travels to Napoleon (1-1) this week. The Wildcats fell 26-7 to Liberty Center Friday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010