Archbold outscored Wauseon 36-14 after falling in a three-touchdown hole early in the second quarter, clipping the Indians 36-35 on the back of Brandon Taylor’s two-point conversion reception following a DJ Newman touchdown run with under four minutes to go.
“Just come out and keep playing hard. That’s the biggest thing,” said Archbold coach David Dominique of his team’s comeback victory. “Our guys never quit, and (we) continued to make adjustments. Thankfully, made a final play there.”
The play Dominique was referring to was that of his defense to stall the final Wauseon possession at the Archbold 22-yard line.
Indians’ quarterback Connar Penrod ran for a total of 27 yards on the drive to help take his team into Blue Streak territory.
On a second-and-7 at the 21, he was brought down for a loss of one that forced Wauseon coach Shawn Moore to use his team’s final timeout.
Moore said after the game if his team had a timeout, they would have tried by all means to get a little closer for a potential game-winning field goal. Instead, they twice had to try to hit the big play but failed to get a first down on third and fourth down, ending the game.
“We just came one play short there at the end — in a lot of situations,” explained Moore. “We left some plays on the field. A couple penalties here and there. Archbold’s a great football team, and you can’t give them second chances like that. Unfortunately, we let them have it and get that win this time.”
The Blue Streaks were able to take the lead with 3:54 remaining when Newman broke through the line and raced 36 yards to the end zone. They went ahead with the two-point conversion; a trick play which started as a handoff left to Noah Gomez who pitched it to Antonio Cruz racing right, and Cruz tossed it to Taylor for the score.
“It’s something we’ve been working on,” admitted Dominique of the play.
Archbold, now 6-0 on the season with the playoffs around the corner, clinches their third Northwest Ohio Athletic League title in four years and second straight.
“It’s all hats off to those young men and my assistant coaches — for getting these guys ready. They bought in to what we’re preaching. And, most importantly, they come out every week and work their tails off,” said Dominique.
In the first half, it looked as if the Indians were going to turn the tables on the Streaks who in 2019 shut out Wauseon 38-0, building a 21-0 advantage.
The Indians got the ball second to start the game — following an Archbold missed field goal attempt.
A holding penalty to start the drive backed the Indians up, but they responded by going nearly the length of the field. They got on the board on a bubble screen to Kolton DeGroff who did the rest, scoring from 10 yards out and Samuel Blanco’s extra point made it 7-0 at the 6:43 mark of the opening quarter.
Archbold could not get anything going on their next drive, but Wauseon did.
They got into Blue Streak territory when Penrod found Jude Armstrong over the middle for a 27-yard gain down to the 47-yard line. Then, on a first down play at the 30, Penrod connected with DeGroff up the right sideline for a scoring play, bumping the Indian advantage to 14-0 with 2:40 left in the first.
“We were able to take advantage of the press coverage,” said Moore of his offense’s hot start. “I thought we were able to do that for most of the game. (We) hit a couple shots early. Just a couple of them in the second half, we were just over Sam’s finger tips in making some big plays. Again, a bummer of a night for our guys for playing so hard and coming up just short.”
They then increased the lead to 21 in the early minutes of the second quarter.
It came on an interception return for a touchdown. On third-and-10 from the Archbold 46, Wauseon defensive lineman Teren Garcia jumped a Newman pass and raced to paydirt.
However, the Streaks did respond on the next possession.
A Newman 25-yard scamper helped set them up in Indian territory at the 39. He capped the drive with a 10-yard strike to Carson Dominique and Krayton Kern’s extra point pulled them within 21-7 with 5:47 left in the half.
The Streaks cut further into the lead with about two minutes to go.
Newman hooked up with Dominique for completions of 18, 12, and eight yards on the drive — the latter putting the ball at the Wauseon 17. The next play, Gomez ran for 17 and bulled his way into the end zone to cut it to 21-14 at the half.
Wauseon would answer back less than three minutes into the second half. Armstrong got free over the middle and raced 27 yards for the TD, going back up by 14, 28-14.
However, the seesaw battle continued when the Streaks scored 2:25 later. Newman dropped one over a defender to Jaden Schulze who took it to the house from 51 yards out with just under seven minutes left in the third quarter.
Armstrong added a 17-yard TD reception for the Indians while Gomez scored from 12 yards out to finish out the third. Wauseon led 35-28 entering the fourth, but were kept off the scoreboard in the final 12 minutes.
“It wasn’t always pretty for us. That’s a heck of a football team we were going against. But our guys hung tough, made some adjustments there. I think the big thing, we got pressure. We were able to get pressure on him, finally. And Connar Penrod’s one heck of a quarterback, but just proud of my guys,” said Dominique of his defense making adjustments as the game went on.
Wauseon did outgain Archbold 465-437.
Newman led the Streaks, going 22-33 for 323 yards and two TDs, adding 82 yards rushing and a score. Gomez had just 35 yards rushing, but scored twice.
Schulze caught four passes for 105 yards and a score, and Dominique five for 63 and a TD.
For the Indians, Penrod (18-37) passed for 330 yards and four TDs. He also accumulated 108 yards on the ground.
They had a pair of 100-yard receivers, with Armstrong catching five for 117 yards and two TDs, and Jonas Tester hauling in seven passes for 102 yards.
Wauseon (5-1) next takes the field when they will host the winner of Clyde and Sheffield Brookside Saturday, Oct. 17 in the Division IV, Region 14 playoffs.
Archbold, the top seed in Division VI, Region 22, will welcome either Gibsonburg or Wayne Trace that same night.