By: Mark Mercer – THE VILLAGE REPORTER
MONTPELIER – The Montpelier Locomotives held their homecoming on October 4, hosting the Archbold Blue Streaks. The fired up Locomotives held their own against the 13th ranked Blue Streaks early on, but Archbold outdistanced the under-manned Locos late and pulled away for a 41-21 victory.
Early in the first quarter, Archbold opened up the scoring on a 66 yard touchdown strike on their opening possession, connecting on the extra point and taking an early 7-0 lead 1:47 into the game. The Locos answered on the ensuing possession when QB Keegan Hitzeman hooked up with Alex Zuver on a 25 yard touchdown strike and following the extra point by Cody Caudill, the Locos pulled even at 7-7. Archbold immediately answered on their next possession, driving to the Montpelier 3 yard line before punching the ball into the end zone, putting the Blue Streaks back on top 13-7 following the missed extra point.
The Montpelier Locomotives struck at the 6:42 mark in the second quarter on a quarterback keeper by Hitzeman for 5 yards. Hitzeman also plunged into the end zone for the 2 point conversion, putting the Locomotives in the lead at 14-13. Archbold was able to drive back down the field and punch the ball into the end zone, going back on top of the Locos following the successful point after attempt, 20-13. Archbold added another score with 1 second remaining in the half, connecting on a 13 yard touchdown strike to extend their lead to 26-13. The PAT failed and the Locos headed into the locker room within distance of a powerful Archbold squad.
Archbold held the upset minded Locomotives scoreless in the 3rd period. The Blue Streaks offense was able to extend their lead to 41-13, adding 2 scores on a 37 yard pass at the 6:18 mark along with a two point conversion, and then punching the ball in for an 8 yard run with 1:15 remaining, closing out the scoring for the period.
The Locomotives held Archbold scoreless in the 4th, while adding 7 at the 6:24 mark on a Hitzeman scoring strike to Caudill from 36 yards. Caudill then kicked the extra point rounding out the scoring on the night for Montpelier.
For the Locomotives, quarterback Hitzeman was 6 of 10 for the night passing for 86 yards and 2 touchdowns. Alex Zuver hauled in 3 passes on the evening for 42 yards and a touchdown averaging 14 yards a catch, while Caudill snagged 3 balls for 44 yards and a touchdown for a 15 yard per catch average. The Locos passed for a total of 86 yards on the evening.
On the ground, Hitzeman led the Locos with 17 rushing attempts for 106 yards, with 1 touchdown. Caudill added 62 yards on 9 attempts; Nathan Buehrer ground out 29 yards on 12 carries, Jordan Birdsall contributed 18 yards on 5 attempts, while Wyatt Beck rounded out the Loco ground attack with 1 carry on the evening.
Defensively for Montpelier, Birdsall led the way with 7 tackles; Buehrer added 4 stops and Beck stepped up for 3.5 hits. Caudill chipped in 3 stops on the night, Zuver and Simon Wang added 2. Nate McCord was credited with 1.5 stops while Levi Croft and Max Hulbert each threw in a tackle rounding out the defensive effort for the Locos. Hubert also punted 5 times for the Locomotives for 111 yards, averaging 22.2 yards per punt.
On the game, the Locomotives outgained the Blue Streaks on the ground 213-158, while Archbold held the advantage through the air, 192 yards to Montpelier’s 86 yards. Montpelier had 12 first downs on the game and held a slight lead in time of possession 24:36 to Archbold’s 23:24. On the game the Locos turned the ball over on 2 lost fumbles and picked up a fumble recovery on the Blue Streaks. Montpelier played a relatively penalty free game, being set back 1 time for 7 yards while the Blue Streaks were flagged 7 times for 55 yards.
The 41-21 setback to the Blue Streaks marks the mid-way point on the season for the Locomotives in what is turning out to be a very tough, physical NWOAL. Following the loss, Montpelier fell to 1-5 on the season and 0-5 in the NWOAL. The Locomotives hit the road to take on 5-1/3-1 Wauseon on Homecoming night in Tribe Town.
Mark Mercer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org