The Iron Kettle will remain in Swanton for at least another year. The Bulldogs fought off Delta, 29-13, on Friday for their fifth consecutive win in the series between the rivals.
The styles were nearly complete opposites as Swanton used big plays to light up the scoreboard, while Delta used methodical drives.
Swanton struck first. On the third play of their second drive, Devon Crouse found a hole and raced 66 yards to pay dirt. Riley Hensley added a two-point conversion and the Dogs led 8-0.
Delta started their next drive just inside Swanton territory and took advantage of the good field position. They went 47 yards on 12 plays – all on the ground – with Max Hoffman scoring from four yards out. The extra point was good and the Panthers trailed 8-7.
Swanton’s next drive started out slowly but ended with a big play. On the 11th play of the drive, Hensley took an inside screen pass from Andrew Thornton, shot between tacklers, and ran 42 yards to the end zone. He added the extra point and the Bulldogs led 15-7 with 7:37 left in the second quarter.
Swanton forced a Delta punt on the ensuing possession and another big play pushed their lead higher. On the first play after the punt, Thornton found Hensley again, this time for an 83-yard touchdown pass. After the extra point, Swanton led 22-7.
Delta turned the ball over on downs, giving Swanton a chance to add to the lead before halftime. But Thornton was sacked for a big loss on first down and the Dogs eventually had to punt.
They got another chance when the Panthers fumbled on the return and Swanton recovered at the 16-yard line. But with the clock winding down, Thornton was sacked and time expired for the first half.
The Panthers drove into Swanton territory to start the second half but turned the ball over on downs.
Swanton used a 33-yard reception from Crouse and 23-yard catch from Josh Vance to get down to the one-yard line. On first and goal, Thornton found Vance in the end zone, and the Bulldogs’ lead grew to 29-7 with 4:20 left in the third.
Delta was not going to go down without a fight. Two big runs from Josh Tresnan-Reighard got the Panthers down to the Swanton four and Nick Mazurowski scored from the one on third down. The two-point try failed and Swanton led 29-13 with 11:56 left in the game.
Swanton’s return team lined up expecting an onside kick, but Delta kicked deep and Thornton fell on the ball at the five. The Bulldogs bled the clock, converting two fourth downs in the process. They drove all the way to the Delta four before a sack pushed them back. On fourth, Swanton tried a fake field goal and Hensley was stopped.
Delta still had some life, but a sack by Connor Cass left the Panthers with a fourth and 27. They punted and Swanton ran out the clock.
The Bulldogs (2-6, 1-4 NWOAL) outgained the Panthers overall 361 yards to 185. Swanton did most of its damage through the air where Thornton was 15 of 25 for 260 yards and three touchdowns. Delta (0-8, 0-5) threw for 21 yards.
On the ground, Delta rushed for 164 yards and Swanton 101.
Swanton next travels to Archbold (7-1, 4-1) on Friday. Delta will host Wauseon (7-1, 4-1).