With the field a muddy mess due to the rain Thursday night and during the day Friday, Archbold turned to the ground game, rushing for over 300 yards in their 41-7 rout of Wauseon in Northwest Ohio Athletic League football action Friday night.
“These guys have worked their tails off all year long. And continue to improve. A lot of people doubted them early on this year with all the losses we had to graduation last year. But, these guys continue to just come out, work hard, and get better,” said Blue Streak mentor David Dominique of his team.
Archbold improves to 9-0 overall and 6-0 in the league, clinching at least a share of the NWOAL crown with the win. Wauseon is now 6-3 overall and 4-2 in league play.
It was the Blue Streaks’ fifth straight win over the Indians.
“Our number one goal is to beat Wauseon,” stated Dominique. “We have to wait until week nine (this year). But our guys really take pride in it. It’s just something that’s great for our communities (Wauseon and Archbold). We have a lot of community pride, and our guys just really brought it this week.”
The Streaks scored on their second possession of the game when quarterback DJ Newman punched it in from three yards out and Krayton Kern’s extra point put them ahead 7-0 with 3:35 to go in the opening quarter. A 23-yard rush from Carson Dominique — who tallied 168 yards on the night — helped set them up at the Wauseon three yard line.
Then, Jack Hurst made a nice interception of an Elijah McLeod pass near the sideline to set up another Archbold score.
“(Had) some turnovers in the first half. False starts and holding (penalties). Just kept pushing us back and pushing us back. With the wet track, we just couldn’t get any footing for our guys. We’re not built to play in the mud,” said Wauseon Coach Shawn Moore of his team not being able to get into a rhythm.
The touchdown came less than two minutes into the second quarter, a two yard rush by Newman for a 14-0 lead.
Wauseon was able to slice the margin in half when they got the ball back.
McLeod connected with Jonas Tester multiple times on the drive. Then on third-and-4 at the 18, Sam Smith was left streaking open down the middle for a TD and Tyson Rodriguez’ extra point made it 14-7 with 6:27 until halftime.
However, Archbold took the momentum back as Karter Behnfeldt burst up the middle on the ensuing kickoff, racing 91 yards for a score, putting them back up 14 at 21-7.
“We told our guys all week long special teams will win you games like this,” said Coach Dominique. “Our special teams unit played very well tonight — all facets of it. I thought that was a key, if we could make some plays with our return game.”
The Indians advanced into Blue Streak territory by way of a 32-yard jump ball from McLeod to Tester on third-and-25 at their own 35.
They picked up another first down later in the drive when McLeod ran for 10 yards on third down. But, on the next set of downs, McLeod could not connect with Smith on a fourth-and-11, turning it over on downs with 2:27 remaining in the half.
The Wauseon offense had trouble sustaining any type of momentum all night — the sloppy field adding to the degree of difficulty.
Archbold ran off the rest of the clock, culminating in Newman’s third score of the half from 12 yards out. The extra point was no good, keeping the margin at 27-7 at the break.
“I honestly think yes it does,” said Moore on if the field conditions hurt the Indians’ offense.
“That’s part of coaching, we got to adapt and do something. But our guys are meant to play on turf. Maybe we can get that here sometime,” he quipped.
Newman and Dominique each added scores on the ground in the second half to put it out of reach.
Leading the ground attack was Newman with 120 yards on 20 carries and four scores. Dominique added 168 yards on 22 carries and a TD.
“It’s tough to throw in conditions like this,” said the Archbold coach. “You could see it, the field conditions were deteriorating as the night went on. Our game plan was we were gonna try to throw, but our run game was working so well we just never went away from it.”
For Wauseon, McLeod completed 17 of 29 for 156 yards, one TD and an interception. Tester caught seven passes for 70 yards.
Archbold closes the regular season at home versus Patrick Henry (6-3, 4-2 NWOAL) this Friday. Wauseon welcomes Bryan (5-4, 3-3).
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.