Liberty Center caught Archbold off guard to begin the game, recovering a squib kick on the opening kickoff and scoring two plays later; however, it was all Blue Streaks after that. They scored 41 unanswered points to stun the Tigers 41-7 in Northwest Ohio Athletic League football Friday at Archbold.
After gaining possession on the opening kick, the Tigers’ Matthew Orr ripped off an eight yard run. Then on second down Teejay Moore bounced outside to the left and raced to the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown. A Wes Wymer extra point put the Tigers up 7-0 45 seconds in.
Not even three minutes later the Streaks would answer. Archbold signal caller DJ Newman connected with Gavin Bailey three times on the drive, the last a 42-yard scoring play, and Krayton Kern’s point after tied the game at the 8:28 mark.
The Streaks scored on their second possession as well, following a Liberty Center three and out. They fooled the Tiger defense as Karter Behnfeldt was left alone up the left side and Newman found him for a 28-yard TD, giving them a 14-7 advantage with 5:35 left in the first quarter.
“A tough start for us. But I think our guys, the biggest thing today, was fight through it. It’s gonna be OK. They did. The rest of the night our defense played just lights out. Very proud of them. And the offense was able to put a lot of points on the board,” said Archbold Coach David Dominique.
LC got into Blue Streak territory down to the 37 on the ensuing possession, but the drive stalled there. On third-and-6 at the 37, Orr ran into a wall put forth by the Streaks. The fourth down pass by Zane Zeiter was behind his receiver Gabe Chapa to turn the ball over on downs.
Forced into a third-and-7 at the LC 47, Newman hit Behnfeldt on a passing play down to the 15, and with a roughing the quarterback penalty tacked on, the ball was moved inside the 10. Two plays later Bailey was on the receiving end of his second TD of the day to give his team a 21-7 lead with 9:54 before halftime.
The Tigers again advanced deep into Archbold territory on their next possession, but again the drive stalled, turning it over on downs at the 33.
“Well we talked about it all week long, if you can make them go the length of the field we liked our chances,” said Dominique of his team’s defensive effort. “They (LC) would get a couple yards at a time, we’d stop them. I just think our tackling was great, we played physical up (front). A lot of good hits on the quarterback and running backs that really I think took its toll on them.”
Gaining possession with 3:25 until half, Archbold was able to milk much of the remaining time in a drive that resulted in a score. Newman would keep it on an option style play on third and goal, running it in from six yards out for the 28-7 halftime lead.
Newman once again showed off his versatility on this night. He completed 12 of 16 passes for 203 yards, four TDs and zero interceptions. On the ground Newman carried it 11 times for 94 yards and two scores.
“Well, he obviously has an arm, but I think his legs are what sets him apart from everybody else,” said Liberty Center Coach Casey Mohler. “Because, we’re trying to get pressure on him and at times we had chances to get him down and he just would side-step us and make us look silly. That’s the kind of athlete he is.”
After half Newman found Bailey on a fade route from 15 yards out in the third quarter and added a five yard rushing TD in the fourth to close out the scoring. Their defense also turned the Tigers over on downs a couple more times.
Archbold outgained Liberty Center 345-262. Through the air, Behnfeldt caught four passes for 105 yards and a TD, while Bailey had seven catches for 94 yards and three scores.
Archbold is now 5-0 on the year and 2-0 in the NWOAL. Liberty Center falls to 3-2 and 1-1 in the league.
The Streaks are at Delta (3-2, 1-1) this week.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.