Indians overcome miscues, topple Fairview

SHERWOOD – As one could expect with it being the first high school football game of the season for both teams, Wauseon and Fairview made their share of mistakes with a combined four turnovers. But it was the Indians who overcame their mistakes the best, limiting the hometown Apaches to only 84 yards of total offense in a 31-14 victory Friday night.

“My kids and everybody will attest. I am a perfectionist. I wish I could look at the positive things as much as I look at the negative things,” said Wauseon coach Travis Cooper after the game. “We just (have) got a lot that we’ve got to get better on. Our defense played phenomenal tonight. Our offense really, really struggled and didn’t execute tonight. Basically, all of the positive things that they had, we gave them. And I think they were well coached and had a great gameplan, but we just shot ourselves in the foot over, and over, and over.”

It started bad out of the gate for the Indians as Fairview’s Ian Groves, who totaled 103 kickoff return yards, took the opening kick down to the one yard line. Luke Timbrook punched it in on the next play to give Fairview a 7-0 lead after Caleb Frank’s extra point.

Wauseon would respond on just their second play of the ensuing possession. Senior tailback Everett Bueter took a toss around the right end 55 yards for a touchdown and Andrew Gray’s point after knotted it at 7-7 only 57 seconds into the contest.

The Indians grabbed their first lead with the help of an Apache turnover. Pushed to a third down on their own side of the field, Jackson Hart’s pass was tipped by the Indians where it fell into the hands of Owen Newlove who took it to paydirt. This put the Indians up 14-7 with 7:03 left in the opening quarter.

“They (Fairview) took the momentum right out of the gate. And I thought our defense did a great job of getting that momentum back,” said Cooper. “That (Newlove’s interception) was big. Our defense played well. They gave us a lot of turnovers – great field position a couple times.”

Wauseon’s defense forced Fairview to go three-and-out when they got the ball back following the turnover.

The Indians stayed quiet offensively the rest of the first quarter, but picked things up in quarter number two. After minimal gains from quarterback Hunter Yackee, Bueter and Junior Martinez, Martinez used good blocking to pick up 17 yards down to the Apache 28.

A facemask penalty on Wauseon backed them into a second-and-29 situation from the Fairview 47, but Dawson Rupp responded with a 19 yard run to pick back up the penalty yardage. Yackee then hit Rupp on a short pass, and the senior receiver weaved his way down to the five yard line for a pick up of 23.

The Indians scored two plays later on Bueter’s four yard scamper to make it 21-7 at the 6:38 mark of the second quarter. They would take that lead into the halftime break.

However, a Wauseon miscue helped the Apaches regain some momentum to start the second half. It came on the opening play when Rupp was stripped on a toss left, allowing Frank to scoop up the ball and run 42 yards for a TD to cut Wauseon’s lead to 21-14.

Fairview fumbled on its first possession of the half which set up the Indians at the Apache 36. Although it did not lead to a TD, a first down run and later a 12-yard reception by Xavier Torres helped get them closer for a Gray field goal attempt. He booted it through from 30 yards out, extending the Indian lead to 24-14 with 2:06 left in the third.

Torres was the Indians’ third leading rusher on the night at 39 yards on just two carries.

“We had some cramping and other things going on,” said Cooper of the team’s running game. “Xavier Torres had some big runs. He is that first guy in (off the bench). It is nice to be able to give those guys a blow and not miss a beat. And so he came in and had some really good runs for us.”

Martinez paced the Indians with 87 yards on 18 carries, while Bueter finished with 82 on nine carries to go along with three TDs on the ground.

The Apaches had a punt blocked by Wauseon’s Matt Malone to help set up the Indians’ final score of the night. A five yard run and then four more from Martinez, capped by Bueter’s one-yard plunge made it 31-14 20 seconds into the final quarter.

Wauseon outgained Fairview 318-84, including a 258-65 advantage in rushing yards. Yackee hit on 7 of 11 passes for 60 yards.

The Apaches were led by Groves who finished with 37 yards rushing on eight carries. Hart was held to just 12 yards passing.

“Like I told our guys, I would take playing with using as many errors as we had, and having as many errors we had, and come out with a ‘W’ and win by 17,” concluded Cooper.

“It’s on to the next one now.”

Wauseon’s next game is their home opener this Friday against Tinora.

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Wauseon’s Owen Newlove picks off a pass and takes it back for a touchdown Friday at Fairview in the season opener. The Indians would defeat the Apaches by a 31-14 final.’s Owen Newlove picks off a pass and takes it back for a touchdown Friday at Fairview in the season opener. The Indians would defeat the Apaches by a 31-14 final. Max Householder | Fulton County Expositor

Dawson Rupp of Wauseon breaks loose for a 19 yard run Friday against Fairview. The Indians rushed for 258 yards as a team. Rupp of Wauseon breaks loose for a 19 yard run Friday against Fairview. The Indians rushed for 258 yards as a team. Max Householder | Fulton County Expositor

By Max Householder

Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010