Wauseon won a playoff game for the first time since 2014 last Saturday, topping Bellevue in resounding fashion, 41-18. They will look to keep that momentum going when they face Ottawa-Glandorf (8-3) in a Division IV, Region 14 semifinal this Saturday at Defiance High School.
“Our message is to keep working hard and stay focused,” said Wauseon coach Shawn Moore on what he is telling his team ahead of the round two matchup. “Every team in the playoffs is a good team. We need to focus on the little things and work on improving from last week.”
The Indians (9-2) are getting a battle-tested team in the Titans, one that finished the regular season tied for second in the Western Buckeye League. O-G is coming off a 28-17 road win over Galion in the first round.
Although the Titans dropped their final two regular season games, each of their three losses came to teams holding a combined 28-5 record.
“O-G is a well-coached team that has played against solid competition in the WBL this year,” said Moore. “Their players play hard until the whistle, and they do a nice job of running the football and throwing the football offensively.”
On offense the Titans are more of a passing team, led by quarterback Jacob Balbaugh who finished third in the WBL in passing through 10 regular season games. He completed 63.8 percent (118 of 185) of his passes, tossing 16 touchdowns to five interceptions.
The go-to target for Balbaugh is Brennan Blevins with 28 catches for 589 yards and six TDs in the regular season. Additionally, Jarrod Beach caught 33 passes for 480 yards and five scores.
Clayton Recker leads the Titan rushing attack with 652 yards and six scores.
However, O-G is perhaps better known for its defensive prowess this season. In the regular season, they finished second in the WBL in scoring defense (14.7 points per game) and third in total defense (275 yards per game).
That side of the ball was key against Galion last weekend, forcing three Tiger interceptions.
“Defensively, they are strong tacklers and do a nice job of reading their keys,” said Moore.
Wauseon’s offense, which came up empty on its first three possessions versus Bellevue, broke through for much of the final three quarters in rolling to a 23-point win.
They broke a few school records in the process, as senior quarterback Cody Figy threw for 396 yards and junior Connar Penrod accumulated 296 yards receiving, both school records. The duo hooked up for four TDs as well.
It is likely the Titans will key on Penrod based on last week’s performance, but Moore says that if that happens, others will have to step up.
“We need to run our offense just like we have every week,” said the Indians’ coach. “Cody will need to read the defense and get the ball to the correct player each and every play. Last week Connar was the correct player on a lot of plays, and he had a big game for us. This week it could be Noah (Tester), Jonas (Tester), Isaac (Wilson), or Sean (Brock). I have confidence in all of those guys to make plays when we need them to. We just need to play our game and not force plays, creating turnovers.”
Kick-off for Wauseon and O-G is slated for 7 p.m. Saturday at Fred Brown Stadium in Defiance.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010