Each team scored on lengthy possessions to begin the second half, with Wauseon’s giving them a 21-6 advantage and that would be the final score as the Indians bested Patrick Henry at Harmon Field Friday night.
Wauseon improved to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League with the win.
“We just talked at halftime of just taking what they’re giving us,” said Wauseon mentor Shawn Moore. “We worked it all week. I think (quarterback) Elijah (McLeod) got away from it a little bit in the first half and made a couple bad reads. He stuck with it there in the second half; we were able to answer after they were able to drive down and make a touchdown. Again, we just gotta stay within our offense and let our guys make plays on the outside. They are capable of making people miss and turning little plays into big plays.”
Wauseon grabbed a 7-0 lead 2:32 into the game via McLeod’s seven yard connection with Jude Armstrong.
The Indians then took advantage of an Armstrong interception return deep into PH territory just before halftime. Jonas Tester kept the drive alive with a 13-yard reception on fourth-and-9, taking the ball down to the Patriots’ 12-yard line.
Three plays later, McLeod found Tester again over the middle for the 12-yard touchdown, extending the Wauseon lead to 14-0 at the half.
To start the second half, the Patriots took six plus minutes off the clock and capped the drive with a score to slice their deficit in half. On fourth-and-goal at the three, PH signal caller Nash Meyer bounced outside to the right and dove into the end zone for a score to make it 14-6 at the 5:42 mark of the third.
However, the Indians would answer that score on the ensuing possession, leaving less than a minute to go in the third.
Once in Patriot territory, runs of 15 and eight yards by Bryson Stump, with a 13-yard catch and run from Tester in between, set them up inside the one. After a muffed snap set them back to the three, Logan Carroll ran it in from there and Tyson Rodriguez’ extra point made it a 21-6 difference with 33 ticks to go in the third.
“Just taking care of the ball” said Moore of his team’s drive in response to Patrick Henry’s score. “We were able to get some running yards. Bryson ran tough. He kind of hurt his shoulder a little bit last week, so he didn’t get to play any defense this week. But held onto the football and grinded some (yards) out. That’s what our offense is about. Just taking what they’re giving us and we were able to do that tonight.”
Patrick Henry moved inside the Wauseon 30-yard line on its next possession, but it ended with a ball getting tipped and intercepted by Ethan Borton.
The Patriots had trouble sustaining drives in the game. In the first half, they went three-and-out four times, turned it over on downs on another possession, and threw an interception.
The Indians outgained PH 346-204 on the night.
“That’s our first time playing against a spread team really this year. We’ve got some nice athletes and we were able to keep their guys in front of us. Get a couple interceptions. Jude got one on a deep pass. And Ethan’s able to keep his eye on (a ball) finally, he’s been really close a couple times this year,” said Moore of his defense slowing down the Patriots.
McLeod completed 20-29 for 249 yards and a pair of scores. Stump was their leading rusher at 52 yards on 12 carries.
Tester caught eight passes for 112 yards and a TD, while Armstrong had seven catches for 66 yards and a score.
Meyer went 20 of 31 for 143 yards through the air and added another 45 on the ground with a rushing score for the Patriots (5-2).
Wauseon makes the short trip to Delta (4-3, 2-2) this Friday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.