With second string quarterback Hunter Yackee under center, Wauseon nearly pulled even at 1-1 on the season against Fostoria Friday night. But, for the second straight week the Indians were defeated on their home field, this time thanks to a 23 yard strike from Fostoria’s Skyler Garcia to Jayden Stanton on third-and-9 with 2:12 left.
The Indians did make it interesting on the ensuing possession as they advanced it inside the Redmen five yard line with just seconds remaining.
The drive was sparked by a 31 yard carry from Everett Bueter on the second play. Junior Martinez followed that up with runs of eight and five yards to put the ball at the 13 with under a minute left. Martinez then carried for no gain, Yackee scrambled for seven yards, but with no timeouts remaining, he was forced to spike the ball to bring up a fourth-and-3 from the six.
On the fourth down play, Wauseon coach Travis Cooper called Bueter’s number, calling for a sweep to the left in which he was marked just shy of the three yard line. After an official’s measurement, it was determined that he was short of the line to gain, turning the ball over on downs and essentially ending the game.
“All losses are disappointing, but when you look back at the last two games and see all of the individual plays that were the difference between winning and losing, it is a tough pill to swallow,” said coach Cooper of the defeat. “We are literally inches from being 2-0 instead of 0-2. We harp on the little things in practice, and these last few weeks have been prime examples of why that stuff is important.”
Similar to week one against Fairview, the Indians put themselves in a hole early. It took Fostoria only six plays and 1:47 seconds to take a 7-0 lead Friday.
Aided by a 46 yard scamper from bruising tailback Jadyn Miller, the Redmen were down inside Indian territory at the 22 in just two plays. Four plays later they would punch it in on a quarterback keeper from Garcia and Weston Weimerskirch tacked on the extra point.
Wauseon went three and out on their first two possessions, allowing the Redmen to extend their lead before the end of the opening quarter.
Beginning the drive inside Indian territory, Garcia’s scramble for seven yards and Miller’s carry for eight gave Fostoria a first down at the 16 yard line. They then had a first-and-goal from the four, but a loss of three for Stanton and a block in the back penalty had them going in the wrong direction.
Now at second-and-goal at the 12, Garcia scrambled down to the three where Miller hammered it home on the next play. A missed extra point put the Redmen advantage at 13-0 with just three ticks left in the first quarter.
“We need to first off have a better start to games and not spot the other team a touchdown advantage,” said Cooper of his team’s struggles out of the gate. “Secondly, we need to have more of a killer instinct and rise to the challenge in the tough times during the game. We tend to be inconsistent with our execution and effort at times defensively.
“When the game is on the line, we have to find a way to make the big tackle or sack. We have a team full of players who are better than 0-2, but they just need to find a way to gain some confidence.”
Bueter led Wauseon down the field to start the second quarter with a pair of big runs, the second a 22-yard gash up the middle for a touchdown where Andrew Gray’s extra point cut the deficit to 13-7.
Yackee started in place of Brendan Wilson who injured his shoulder during last Tuesday’s practice while diving for an underthrown ball. Although he did commit a pair of first half turnovers, he also helped them come back and take the lead twice.
Wauseon began the third quarter with the ball at the Fostoria 40. They then used the legs of Martinez and Bueter to take the ball down to the 23.
Then, on a second-and-five at the 18, Yackee pulled the ball on a read option play and carried for a first down to the 10. Two plays later Bueter found space on the right side for a six-yard TD to put the Indians in front, 14-13, at the 9:49 mark.
“Under the circumstances, he handled the situation pretty well,” said Cooper of Yackee. “He had some turnovers early in the game that are uncharacteristic of him. He was a little nervous with it being his first start. I know that is not how he wanted to start the game, but he will learn from it and be a better quarterback in the future because of it. He settled down and played much better down the stretch. He is a competitor.”
However, Fostoria grabbed the lead back on a lengthy drive that ended in a one-yard plunge from Miller on fourth-and-goal to make it 19-14 with 51 seconds left in the third.
Wauseon answered with a one yard TD from Martinez with 7:45 left in the fourth to reclaim the lead. The drive was keyed by a 32 yard pass from Yackee to Sean Brock on second-and-17.
Also catching passes for the Indians was Dawson Rupp who had two receptions for 23 yards. Bueter had 9 carries for 98 yards and two TDs on the ground, while Martinez had 18 for 88 and a score.
Leading the Fostoria ground attack was Miller who had 180 yards on 24 carries and a pair of scores. Garcia added 38 yards rushing and a score to go with his 115 yards and a TD through the air.
Wauseon, now 0-2, looks to get back on track Friday when they are on the road at Tinora.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010