The Northwest Ohio Athletic League’s two top teams this season, rivals Archbold and Wauseon, both come into their 2020 matchup at 5-0 and clicking on all cylinders. The winner will gain supremacy in the league, clinching at least a share of the league title.
The Blue Streaks, who are seeking their fourth straight win over the Indians, will use the prospects of another NWOAL title as motivation. It would be their third league title in four years.
“This is always a game that is circled on both team’s calendars,” said Archbold coach David Dominique. “The tradition behind the two programs is very rich so having a league title on the line for this rivalry game only makes it that much bigger. Wauseon is a solid team from top to bottom and we know they will bring their best on Friday night.”
Archbold dominated last year’s contest. They shut out the Indians 38-0 at Wauseon in a game that was never really close.
The Streaks even led 31-0 at the half.
“Last year’s result is definitely something that has motivated our team,” stated Wauseon second-year coach Shawn Moore. “Last year did not turn out the way that we wanted, and if that is not motivating I am not sure why anyone would still be playing the game of football.”
That game seems like a distant memory, as so far this year the Indians have been rolling people. Ever since trailing at halftime to Liberty Center in week one, they came back to win that contest and never looked back.
Their next four games produced three shutouts: 41-0 over Swanton in week two, 48-0 over Evergreen the week after, and 35-0 last Friday against Delta. Furthermore, Wauseon’s other win was a 51-7 thrashing of Patrick Henry in week four.
The Indians will look to continue that stellar defense this week. But, they will keep the game plan simple and not try to change too much.
“We just need to continue to play team defense and have everyone do their job each and every play, making them (Archbold) drive the ball down the field. Limiting big plays will be key,” said Moore.
The task for the Indians’ defense this week will likely prove more daunting, with Archbold averaging just over 40 points per game. The Streaks are also putting up over 400 yards (414.4) of total offense per game, and allowing less than 150 (144.6).
“The biggest thing for our offense will be playing physical in the trenches,” Dominique said. “Wauseon plays fundamentally-sound football and will make very few mistakes, so we must find a way to keep them off balance. They have very few weaknesses on this side of the ball so we are going to have to limit our mental mistakes in order to find success.”
Defensively, Archbold is limiting opponents to just 10 points per game. They have also posted a pair of shutouts, 35-0 over Delta in week three and 44-0 over Evergreen in week four.
Their other wins were 37-8 over Bryan in week one, a 42-35 victory on the road at Liberty Center in week two, and 45-7 at Swanton last week.
On the other hand, Wauseon is averaging 41 points per game.
“We plan on playing our style of football,” said Moore on what he will look for out of his offense this week. “We have been successful in doing those things, and our guys have confidence in what we are doing. We just need to continue to read the defense each and every play and allow open players to make plays no matter who it is.”
The Indian offense is set up a little different from last year in terms of personnel. Last year’s leading receiver, Connar Penrod, has been running the offense this year as quarterback.
Filling in his shoes on the outside are sophomore receivers Sam Smith and Jude Armstrong. They are joined on the outside by junior split end Jonas Tester.
“Wauseon’s offense has athletes all across the board, so they are tough to stop as they have shown all year long,” said Dominique. “Connar Penrod is a dynamic QB that is very dangerous and has shown the ability to extend plays with his legs. It is critical for us to make plays in space and force them into tough third down situations.”
The only thing left to do now is play the game.
The Indians will look to turn the tide on the Streaks this season, hoping the result goes in their favor. Archbold, however, would rather have Wauseon be just another hurdle they have to leap en route to yet another league title.