Wauseon bounced back from their first loss of the season against Archbold the week before to rout Bryan 48-14 Friday night at Harmon Field.
They did so behind 34 straight second half points.
Before that, the Indians grabbed the lead on their opening possession of the first quarter after Bryan went three-and-out.
The scoring play came on fourth-and-1 from the Golden Bear 15 yard line, as Xavier Torres took a toss around the left end for a touchdown and Andrew Gray’s extra point made it 7-0 less than five minutes in.
Wauseon again threatened to score on their second possession of the game.
They picked up a pair of fourth downs to do so, beginning with Torres who picked up two yards on fourth-and-inches at the Bryan 40. Later in the drive, on fourth-and-8 from the 36, running back Junior Martinez got loose up the middle for a first down at the 22 1:35 into the second quarter.
However, two plays later Hunter Yackee was sacked and stripped of the ball, and scooping it up was Bryan’s Matt Herold who took it back 71 yards for a TD. Evan Smith’s point after tied the score with 9:15 left in the second stanza.
The Indians snatched the lead back not even a minute later when Martinez broke through the pile and ran 68 yards for a score to put it at 14-7 at the 8:44 mark.
In total, the Indians racked up 315 yards on the ground to go along with six scores.
“Last week we had 54 yards rushing, and we still were three points away from winning that football game,” said Wauseon coach Travis Cooper on the importance of his team’s rushing attack. “And so, our offense can not run for 54 yards and win a football game. That was a point of emphasis this week. There’s no doubt about it we want to run the football. And so, we were able to do that this week, a little bit. I was very pleased with the effort from our line tonight.”
The Indians almost added to the lead past the midway point of the quarter when a jump ball to Owen Newlove set them up at the Golden Bear five yard line. But, on the next play Martinez fumbled and Bryan recovered the ball at their own three.
“Those things are unacceptable. And our guys know that, I mean it was obvious,” said Cooper on some of the Indians’ mistakes in the first half. “But, I told them (at halftime), if you guys want to be one of those elite groups. Those special groups. Those teams that are vying for playoffs, and league titles and things like that. You guys have got to start cleaning up these little things. We’ve got to start getting a little bit of a killer instinct.”
They showed a bit of what Cooper is looking for in the second half, scoring in just four plays on their opening possession.
Following a 10-yard completion from Yackee to Newlove, then a loss of one and an incompletion, Yackee threw a dart across the middle to an open Dawson Rupp who did the rest, scoring from 53 yards out to increase their lead at 21-7.
Coach Cooper then got gutsy on the ensuing kickoff and it paid off, as they recovered an onside kick to give them the ball back inside Bryan territory.
“They (Bryan) are really good at it. So we took a page from their book,” said Cooper of the decision. “We got some momentum and we wanted to kind of try to seal the deal and put our foot down on them. We executed it really, really well.”
On the drive that followed, a holding penalty set them back, bringing up third-and-20 at the Bryan 49. Yackee would once again hook up with Newlove who made a nice adjustment to pick up a first down at the three. Two plays later, Yackee called his own number for a one-yard TD that made it 28-7 with 8:05 left in the third.
Torres added touchdowns of six and two yards in the third, putting them up 42-7 heading into the final period. Wauseon’s Joey Shema tacked on an 11-yard TD in the fourth, while Bryan’s Dean Austin notched a kickoff return TD to complete the scoring.
Torres finished with only 48 yards rushing, but had three TDs to lead the Indian rushing attack. Martinez had 141 yards on 13 carries and a TD. Newlove added 90 yards receiving on three catches.
Nobis paced Bryan with 112 yards on 13 of 24 passing, and also had 35 yards rushing.
Wauseon (4-1, 1-1 NWOAL) has a pivotal showdown this week when they travel to Liberty Center (5-0, 2-0).
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010