By: Kent Hutchison – THE VILLAGE REPORTER
EDON- On an evening in which Edon High School honored 27 seniors that participated in fall sports, the soon to be graduates and all those in attendance, left with nothing but fond memories. Much of the credit for the remembrances can be attributed to the nine elder statesmen of the Bomber football team. The seniors (Alex Baker, Trevor Green, Connor Hug, Levi Lemmon, Michael Peeples, Brock Thiel, Wyatt Walkowski, Jordan Whittaker, and Wyatt Zulch) all played a huge role in Edon’s 28-8 victory of the Toledo Christian Eagles in the final home game of the season at Leanne Field.
With the playoff hopes of both teams at stake, as well as the adrenaline rush provided by Senior Night, both team’s offenses struggled to begin the night.
After completing his first two passes Edon quarterback Kaden Sapp completed his third attempt as well. The only problem was the ball landed in the arms of #8 wearing a Toledo Christian uniform. With the pick the Eagles started the night with great field position at the Bomber 47 yard line.
Toledo Christian wasted little time in returning the favor to Edon. On first down Sapp experienced a bit of redemption as he smacked TC running back Caleb Wotring for a 1 yard loss. The next snap led to a fumbled exchange between quarterback Brett Freeman and Wotring. After Wotring collected the handoff he promptly put the pigskin back on the turf after a three yard gain. Trevor Green pounced on the loose ball and the Bombers were back on the offensive at their 45 yard line.
The second series for Edon wasn’t a lot better. Sapp hit Connor Hug for an apparent completion. However, Hug was ruled out of bounds on the catch. Sapp used his legs to gain seven yards, but missed Hug once again on a slant. Facing fourth and three Mike Peeples moved back into punt formation. The kick sailed off the right side of the punter’s foot landing out of bounds at the TC 25.
After allowing a first down to the Eagles, the Bomber defense tightened forcing Toledo Christian to punt the ball back from their 37 yard line. Freeman nailed the kick 53 yards as it was downed at the Edon 10 yard line.
The Bomber offense faced a huge task deep in their territory. Undaunted by the challenge, Sapp ran right up the gut for two yards, then hit Hug with a screen to the right for Edon’s initial first down of the night after gaining eight. Green gained five more on first down. After the run the ball was spotted at the Bombers 25 yard line. It didn’t stay there long as Sapp rolled right and found Brock Thiel wide open. The senior receiver zigged and zagged his way beyond the Eagle defenders into the end zone for the score. Peeples split the middle of the uprights and in just 1:30 the Bombers covered the 90 yards to lead 7-0 with 4:49 left in the first quarter.
Toledo Christian had some success on their next offensive series. Starting at their 46 yard line in five plays the Eagles moved the ball to the Edon 20 yard line. A third down pass looked like it was going to be intercepted by Sapp in the end zone. However, TC’s receiver Kyle Kempton used his vertical to jump over Sapp and haul in the ball for an apparent touchdown. That all changed when a yellow hankie was detected. A holding call on the Eagles moved the ball back to the TC 38 yard line. Another pass from Freeman to Kempton fell incomplete on third down. The Eagles appeared to be poised to go for it on fourth down. Freeman however quick kicked the ball out of bounds at the Bomber 5 yard line with 55 seconds left to play in the first frame.
Sapp ran for two more on first down, then connected with Hug for one yard as the clock ticked to zero. An offsides call on third down gave Edon a little breathing room at their 13 yard line. However, the favor was returned when a holding call moved the ball back to the Bomber four yard line. Facing third and 11 Sapp rolled left in the end zone. A host of Eagles followed him and before the quarterback could toss the ball downfield he was thumped to the ground behind the goal line for a safety. Suddenly TC had some momentum trailing just 7-2 and poised to receive the free kick.
Peeples punted from his 20 yard line and after a 7 yard return Toledo Christian was on the offensive from the their 40 yard line. Behind the running of Wotring and Freeman the Eagles moved the ball the sixty yards needed in seven plays, capped off by a 27 yard scoring scamper by Freeman. Freeman’s kick was well off the mark, but in a little over three minutes the Eagles had put eight points on the board to take the lead 8-7 with 8:30 showing in the second stanza.
Hug fielded the kick at his seven yard line and bolted through the TC kickoff team 77 yards finally tackled at the Eagles 22 yard line. A pitch intended for Green was ruled an incomplete pass on first down. The Bombers were assessed with a personal foul on second down after Sapp’s pass to Hug was broken up by a TC defender. After the 20 yard walk off Edon was moved all the way back to the Eagles 42 yard marker. Another penalty, this time a false start, left the ball resting at the TC 47. Suddenly the great field position had vanished. Sapp used a quarterback keeper to advance the ball 23 yards. Facing 4th and 13 from the Eagles 24 yard line, Sapp rolled right then tossed the ball to Green back left with a perfectly designed bubble screen. Green followed his wall of blockers to paydirt for the 24 yard touchdown. Peeples boot was true to give Edon a 14-8 advantage with 7:02 remaining before halftime.
Following a short kick return Toledo Christian’s offense took over at their 39 yard line. They didn’t stay on the field long. Freeman followed his offensive line right on a quarterback sweep.
The Edon defense wasn’t fooled as they quickly stood the quarterback up. As the pile wrestled Wyatt Zulch seized the opportunity to rip the ball from Freeman’s hands and just like that the Bomber offense was back in business at the TC 45 yard line.
Edon was able to get one first down as Sapp ran three times and the Eagles were assessed with a neutral zone infraction. However, the Bombers were unable to take full advantage of the turnover. When Sapp’s fourth down pass attempt was blocked at the line, and in a rare event was completed to himself, the quarterback was unable to gain the needed 11 yards.
Toledo Christian’s defense held giving the Eagles the ball back at their 36 yard line. Again behind the running of Wotring and Freeman, Toledo Christian moved the ball; this time in five plays all the way to the Edon 18 yard line. However, the Bomber defense bent but didn’t break. After a chase across the field, Hug sacked Freeman for a 13 yard loss. Two more pass attempts by the quarterback fell to the turf giving Edon the ball back on downs at the Bombers 31 yard line with 51 seconds left in the opening half.
Sapp ran for 14 on first down, then had consecutive incomplete passes to Hug and Peeples. Sapp scampered for 30 to advance the ball to the TC 25 with just a few ticks left before intermission.
With time for just one play Sapp hurled a toss to Hug in the end zone and the crowd went wild! Unfortunately the exuberance disappeared when the officials ruled Hug to be out of bounds. Time expired with Edon on top 14-8.
Prior to the contest Edon Head Coach Scott Staten expressed a key to the game was controlling both the offensive and defensive lines. In the first half Edon surrendered 162 yards of offense to the Eagles. Of the total, 139 of those yards were gained on the ground. Whatever the coach said or adjustments made were spot on as the Bombers dominated both sides of the ball in the second half.
Edon kicked off to Toledo Christian to begin the third quarter. The Eagles return man fumbled the ball and after finally corralling the kick was deposited to the turf by Jordan Julian. Freeman connected with Kempton for a gain of eight, then was forced to throw the ball away after Green applied pressure. Freeman lost two yards on third down, and on fourth shanked the punt onto the track and into the Edon cheerleaders.
Once again with great field position, this time at the TC 40, the Bomber offense flew back onto the field. Green lost two on a draw, but a screen from Sapp to Hug resulted in a 19 yard gain.
Another carry by Green added five yards. Looking to throw, Sapp ran right. When no one was open the quarterback tucked the ball away to gain nine more and move the chains again. As the ball was spotted at the TC 9, Edon had first and goal to go. Green was held to no gain on first down, but Sapp answered with a quarterback sweep right and followed his escorts across the goal line. Peeples PAT was down the middle as the Bombers extended the lead to 21-8 with 8:12 left in the third quarter.
A short return gave the Eagles offense the ball at their 25 yard stripe. In 11 plays, nine rushes and two pass completions, Toledo Christian advanced the ball to the Edon 28 yard line.
However the drive came to a screeching halt when Jordan Whittaker sacked Freeman for a nine yard loss. Toledo Christian decided to go for it on fourth down and 14 from the Edon 37. When the pass from Freeman missed the mark Edon had possession once again.
Both defenses stiffened as neither team was able to add points to the board into the midpoint of the fourth quarter. However, a turnover quickly changed the tone. Toledo Christian had the ball deep in their territory after Edon was unable to convert on fourth and one at the TC 18 yard line. Freeman was held to just one yard on first down. The next play, an interception by Sapp at the 50 yard line, ended any hope left among the Eagles. The junior returned the ball down to the TC 26 yard line.
With 6:09 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Bombers needed just four plays to put to rest any hope that Toledo Christian had for a comeback. Peeples was unable to snare a throw from Sapp, and Sapp gained one yard on second down. Enter Connor Hug into the Bomber backfield. Hug took the counter handoff left for 15 yards, then a counter right for 10 yards for a rushing touchdown to ice the game for Edon. Peeples connected for the fourth time and the Bombers playoff hopes remained alive with the 28-8 victory!
For the first time this season the Bombers had more yards rushing than passing. Sapp led the way with 19 carries for 119 yards and a touchdown. Green had his number called 13 times for 39 yards. Hug only got two chances, but made the most of them gaining 25 yards on two successive carries in the fourth quarter. The senior’s touchdown iced the game for Edon.
Sapp had a respectable night passing completing 8 out of 18 attempts for 145 yards and two scores. Thiel had two catches for 86 yards and a touchdown, while Green grabbed one for a 24 yard score. Hug added 4 catches to his season total along with 35 yards.
In the postgame interview Coach Staten had nothing but praise for his seniors. “The nine seniors left it all out there on the field. They were in eighth grade when I took over as head coach and every summer have committed themselves to the program and the weight room. Most of the records in our weight room have their names on them. This group has done everything we have asked of them and more.” The coach realizes however that there is still one huge game left to play. “We can’t celebrate this win very long. We have to rally the troops and get ready for a tough game next week.”
That they do as the Bombers goal of making the playoffs comes down to the final game. Win and they are in. Lose and the chances are slim. Edon takes it 7-2 record (5-1 TAAC) on the long bus ride to Gibsonburg to battle the Golden Bears who are 5-4 overall and 4-2 in the TAAC.
Kent Hutchison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org