Wauseon started a little slow but eventually things started to click, especially in a 30-point second quarter that would propel them to a 59-7 win over Fairview to open the 2022 football season Friday night at Harmon Field.
The Indians forced the Apaches into numerous three-and-outs in the first half, enabling the Wauseon offense to control possession.
Both teams were stopped on their first drives of the night and season. For Wauseon, they reached the red zone but consecutive fumbled snaps led the drive to stall out.
But, the Indians would strike gold on the second possession. Starting near midfield, quarterback Elijah McLeod completed passes for first downs to running back Logan Carroll and Sam Smith that put the ball at the Fairview 18-yard line.
A few plays later, Carroll found running room around the left side for a six yard touchdown run and Tyson Rodriguez’ point after made it 7-0 with just 1:18 remaining in the opening quarter.
“I thought we were a little slow off of the start. Kind of picked it up from there in the second series. I’d like the start to be a little bit better, but after that I thought we did just fine,” said Wauseon Coach Shawn Moore.
From that point on everything went the Indians’ way.
Fairview’s ensuing drive began at their own 14-yard line and they proceeded to go three and out. Then, the punt was blocked through the end zone for a safety, giving Wauseon a 9-0 advantage before the end of the quarter.
As rules should allow, Wauseon would get the ball back to start the second quarter. Beginning the drive inside Apache territory at the 39, McLeod found an open Smith near the sideline at about the 10 and the senior turned upfield down to the five.
On third-and-goal at the six, McLeod connected with Jude Armstrong in the end zone and after a Rodriguez extra point Wauseon led 16-0.
“Defense was outstanding, blocking the punt putting us in great field position. Those guys did a great job and so, couldn’t ask for anything more from those guys,” said Moore of the Indians’ defense giving the offense optimal field position throughout the night.
The defense did so again on the following Fairview drive when again they forced a three and out with the Apaches backed up near their own end zone. A high snap on the punt caused panic by the Apache punter and instead of trying to get the punt off or find a receiver downfield, he turned and threw the ball out the back of the end zone for the second safety of the night and an 18-0 Wauseon lead with 8:24 before halftime.
When they got the ball back after the free kick, it took the Indians just 27 seconds to reach the end zone. Tailback Ryan Friend burst up the middle and galloped 27 yards to paydirt, extending Wauseon’s lead at 25-0.
Fairview then coughed the ball up at their own 29-yard line a few minutes later allowing the Indians to score again.
McLeod rolled to his left on the first play after the turnover, finding Smith open in space and the University of Toledo commit did the rest, scoring from 29 yards away to make the difference 32-0.
“I just think that we took what we had been talking about all week and getting our guys in open space. And letting those guys make some moves and make plays out there for us. We just didn’t hit the passes in the first series and a half when we had the ball,” Moore said on what began to click offensively following the slow start.
The Indians scored once more before the break, an eight yard completion to Armstrong for a 39-point lead at halftime.
With many reserves playing for the duration of the second half, Wauseon reached the end zone three more times. Trey Parsons completed TD passes to Elijah Felzer and Wyatt Smith, while Friend tacked on an eight yard score.
Fairview was able to score on a 21-yard pass play with 8:20 to go in the contest.
Wauseon limited the Apaches to just 94 yards of total offense, outgaining them 375-94.
The Indians travel to Tinora this week. The Rams are coming off a 31-0 drubbing at the hands of Liberty Center.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.