Despite an early mistake which led to points for Delta, Archbold responded with 42 unanswered — 35 before halftime — in a 42-3 drubbing of the Panthers Friday night in Northwest Ohio Athletic League action on the gridiron.
On second-and-2 at their own 47-yard line on the Blue Streaks’ opening possession, DJ Newman had his pass tipped and was intercepted by his counterpart on the other side, Delta’s James Ruple, who returned it into Archbold territory at the 46.
Ruple later kept his team’s drive alive with an 18-yard run on fourth down, putting the ball at the 20.
The Panthers were poised to go for it on fourth-and-1 at the 11, but a false start penalty made them change their mind. Phil Smithers would connect on a 33-yard field goal to give Delta the early lead at the 5:58 mark of the first quarter.
“It was just one of those things, a ball went high, could have been caught, could have been a better throw,” said Archbold Coach David Dominique of the interception which led to points for the Panthers. “But, you know what I think the biggest thing for our guys, they didn’t hang their heads. They held them to a field goal; that’s huge in that situation right there. Not letting them get a touchdown off that turnover. But our guys, they calmed down and they made a lot of plays. I thought we played another physical game tonight. We really, really played physical. That’s good to see, because it’s always scary going against a team with such size and physicality.”
Archbold answered on the ensuing possession when running back Carson Dominique got involved in the offense. He had a first down run of 15 yards and a catch for 13 to help the Streaks reach Delta’s side of the field. Then, when they were forced into a fourth and short from the Panther 28, Newman lobbed a screen pass to Dominique and the junior rumbled his way to the 14 to move the chains.
He took it in three plays later on a shovel pass from Newman, giving the Streaks a 7-3 advantage with 1:17 left in the quarter.
Delta went three-and-out on its possession. On the punt, Archbold came away with the block and Gavin Bailey ran it back for the touchdown, extending its lead to 14-3 after Krayton Kern’s extra point just 10 seconds into the second stanza.
The Streaks scored again with 7:21 before halftime. They again had to pick up a fourth down to keep the drive alive, as Newman scrambled for 20 yards on fourth-and-7 from the Panther 35. He capped the drive with a nine yard run to put the difference at 18, 21-3.
Archbold got it to 28-3 with 2:30 left in the half on a one-yard plunge by Dominique. He tallied 90 yards on the ground and a pair of scores, while also catching five passes for 34 yards.
“He doesn’t get much of the spotlight with DJ out there, but, the kid just works his tail off,” said Coach Dominique of his tailback. “Tonight’s a good night for him to really get rolling. He’s one of those running backs, he’s not running away from you and he’s gonna punish you. That’s what he does. He takes pride in that. He takes pride in doing the little things for us. He earns nights like tonight.”
The Panthers’ offense continued to struggle moving the ball, and Archbold utilized some of the timeouts it had to get the ball back before the break.
A 22-yard connection from Newman to Karter Behnfeldt got the Streaks to the Delta 11-yard line with 17 ticks remaining in the half. After a timeout, Newman found Behnfeldt in the right-corner of the end zone for a 35-3 lead at the half.
Archbold added just one score in the second half as Lucas Dominique punched one in from five yards out in the fourth.
The Streaks outgained the Panthers 325-80.
Newman hit on 14 of 15 passes for 135 yards, one TD and an interception. He accumulated 57 yards rushing and a score.
Behnfeldt made five catches for 70 yards and the score before half.
Archbold (6-0, 3-0 NWOAL) hosts Evergreen (2-4, 0-3) this week. Delta (3-3, 1-2) travels to Swanton (0-6, 0-3).
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.