FOSTORIA – The Wauseon Indians overcame an early first quarter turnover in the red zone by scoring 35 straight points in the opening half and went on to blitz Fostoria, 49-8, at Switzer Field on Friday night. Bolstered by a swarming and unrelenting defense that held the Redmen offense to just 38 total yards in the first half, the Indians’ offense cashed in on five of their eight offensive series, scoring 14 points in the first quarter and 21 in the second en route to their second win of the young season.
“We’ve got a really big one (game) locally against Tinora next week and I was hoping our guys weren’t overlooking Fostoria,” said Wauseon coach Travis Cooper. “When I watched them on film they had a great game last week. They played really well across the board. So I was really nervous this might be a trap game for us.”
The Indians kicked off to start the game and their defense came out and sent a strong message to the Redmen’s offense that yardage was going to come at a premium. A five yard loss, a motion penalty, a three yard quarterback sack and an interception comprised Fostoria’s first series and gave Wauseon great field position.
However, after driving to the Fostoria four yard line on two running plays, a JJ Kauffman pass was tipped and intercepted, giving the ball back to the Redmen. Fostoria was able to pick up a first down but the drive stalled and they punted the ball down to the Wauseon 24.
Showing no ill effects from the earlier interception, the Indians struck quickly. Everett Bueter broke free down the sidelines for a 52 yard gain. Luke Rychener followed with a 14 yard run and Brendan Wilson went through a big hole up the middle for another 14 yards and the game’s first touchdown. Josh Whitcomb added the extra point and Wauseon led 7-0 with 6:07 left in the first quarter.
Fostoria went three and out on their next series and Wauseon started their next drive on their 47 after Mason Creager’s 14 yard punt return. After an eight yard run by Wilson, Kauffman completed an 18 yard pass play to Creager and another 15 yards was tacked on for a Redmen personal foul putting the ball at the Fostoria 12. Kauffman finished the drive going in from there and the Whitcomb boot made it 14-0 with 4:15 to go in the first.
On the ensuing kickoff, Jayden Stanton returned the ball to the Wauseon 47 to put the Redmen into Indian territory for the first time. They managed to reach the 41 but were stuffed for a one yard loss on a fourth and four, the fifth tackle for loss by the Indian defense on the night.
“Our defense wanted to prove themselves tonight,” said Cooper. “We challenged them before the game and they really rose to the challenge.”
The 14-0 score remained until approximately halfway through the second quarter when the Indians took possession at the Fostoria 44 following a punt. Facing a third-and-nine, Kauffman broke off a 17 yard run for a first down then completed a pass to Whitcomb to the 16. On second-and-10, Kauffman found Danny Hench all alone just over the goal line for the score and, after the PAT, a 21-0 Wauseon advantage with 5:21 left in the half.
The Indians got the ball back with 4:11 left after another Redmen punt and started a 10 play drive that would culminate with a one-yard Kauffman plunge into the end zone to make the score 28-0 with the Whitcomb boot.
Fostoria received the kickoff with 1:16 to go and soon fumbled the ball back to Wauseon after a short drive with Hunter Yackee recovering. After a four yard loss that placed the ball on the Indian 30 there was just enough time for one more hike of the ball. And then came the play of the game.
Kauffman took the snap and rolled to his left, looking for an open receiver. Finding none, he tucked the ball in and headed down field, picking up blockers along the way. About 25 yards into the run he cut back to the middle, slipped several tackles and dove into the end zone, completing the 70 yard jaunt as the half expired. The extra point sent Wauseon into the locker room with a 35-0 lead and the comfort of feeling this game was essentially over.
With the running clock rule now in effect the Indians took the second half kickoff and put together a six play touchdown drive, scoring on a Kauffman to Creager 15 yard pass play, pushing the lead to 42-0.
There were mass substitutions from there and both teams managed to tack on one more touchdown to bring the final score to 49-8. With the impressive victory Coach Cooper reached the 50 win plateau for his career. “I’ve got great assistants and I’ve been in some great programs between here and Bryan,” said Cooper. “It’s just fun. It never gets old.”
For the game, Wauseon racked up 426 yards of total offense with 340 coming on the ground to 167 yards for Fostoria. Wilson led the running attack with 123 yards on seven carries and one touchdown and Kauffman was close behind with 114 yards on ten carries and three scores. Kauffman also threw for 78 yards and a touchdown.
The Indians have a big test as they take on Tinora Friday at 7 p.m. at home where they have not lost a game since the 2012 season.
Bill O’Connell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org