Delta forced a total of six turnovers (3 interceptions, 3 fumbles) and limited Swanton to only 43 total yards in a 44-0 rout Friday night at Delta.
“We had a good week of practice,” said Panther coach Nate Ruple. “The kids were really focused and they come out ready to play. Hats off to our defense, they played an outstanding game. We scored two or three touchdowns defensively. Offense did a nice job moving the ball — being disciplined. Making plays when we had to, but, you know, hats off to our defense tonight. They won this game for us.”
“Having six turnovers definitely slowed our offense down and it was difficult to get into a rhythm,” explained Swanton coach Denton Saunders. “We got to give delta credit though. They came out ready to play and they were the more physical team.”
The win also brought back the Iron Kettle “trophy” to Delta, where it has not been since 2014.
“It’s been a long time since it’s been back in Delta,” Ruple said. “These guys have worked real hard; they’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do. I just thank God we had this opportunity tonight, to come out and compete. And perform at a high level.”
The Panthers took nearly six minutes off the clock to begin the game, culminating with a one yard touchdown run from Shawn Cook. Austin Kohlhofer’s point after made it a 7-0 Delta lead.
Perhaps the biggest turnover of the game came with just over four minutes left in the first half and started a whirlwind of scoring for the Panthers.
Following a Swanton interception which came near the goal line, the very next play the Bulldogs mishandled the snap and it was picked up by Delta’s Evan Perry who took it in the end zone for a 14-0 lead.
“That turnover definitely hurt us and helped shift the momentum strongly to Delta’s side,” said Saunders.
The Panthers got the ball back less than a minute later — 3:25 before halftime — thanks to a Josh Tresnan-Reighard interception off the hands of Swanton’s Lathan Pawlowicz. That led to a five-yard touchdown run by Tresnan-Reighard, but the extra point was missed to keep the score at 20-0 with 1:29 remaining.
Swanton would cough up the ball on the ensuing kickoff which led to another Delta score in the final five minutes of the half.
“Our defensive coordinator, coach (Scott) Tenney, did a great job tonight making adjustments,” said Ruple on the key for his defense’s stellar performance. “Alex Lutheran up in the box, helping him out making adjustments. You got to adjust week-in and week-out to what the opponent’s gonna throw at you. They were able to do that tonight and our guys bought in and played real hard. And we were able to get to the quarterback. I think that was the key defensively.”
Kohlhofer connected on the 36-yard field goal attempt, putting the halftime margin at 23-0.
To open the second half the Dogs worked their way out of a hole from their own 12-yard line, but on third-and-4 from the 29, James Ruple picked off Swanton quarterback Trent Weigel.
The Panthers then put it all on the back of Tresnan-Reighard, who eventually scored from seven yards out on a second-and-goal with 6:08 left in the third. They then made it 37-0 on Tresnan-Reighard’s pick six at the 4:15 mark.
He accounted for three Delta TDs. “He’s been a workhorse for us all season,” stated coach Ruple. “Just the guy that we turn to when we need a big play, and he showed up tonight big time. So, real proud of Josh Tresnan-Reighard.”
The final Panther score came on Jerremiah Wolford’s three-yard run with 2:52 remaining in the contest.
On the ground, Tresnan-Reighard finished with 106 yards on 22 attempts and two scores. Cook, who carried the ball a lot in the first half, carried it nine times for 31 yards and a score.
Leading Swanton was Cole Mitchey with three carries for 18 yards. The Dogs had only nine passing yards.
Swanton (0-4) next hosts Archbold (4-0) this Friday. Delta (2-2) travels to Wauseon (4-0).