By BIll Bray – THE VILLAGE REPORTER
Suspenseful, dramatic, nail-biter any and all of these words can be used to describe the 14-13 Wauseon victory Friday night over the Archbold Blue Streaks at Harmon Field.
It was a puzzlement all week as to the availability of Wauseon quarterback Ty Suntken. Suntken was injured during the third quarter of last week’s Evergreen game with a separated left shoulder. Rumors were flying the entire week about his prognosis as well as whether he would be taking the snaps from center.
When the gun sounded to start the game, no. 2 was in uniform and loosening up his right throwing arm for the battle.
Wauseon deferred to receive the ball to start the second half so it was the Blue Streaks’ offense that saw the ball first. The Streaks put together a seven play drive that stalled on a fourth and nine. Going for the first down, Evan Wyse was stopped by the tenacious Wauseon defense six yards short and the Indians took their first possession on their own 13.
The first drive was anything but picturesque as the Indians lost a total of two yards on the four play drive. After a 37 yard Ty Suntken punt, the Blue Streaks set up shop on the Wauseon 25. The defense again, led by Aaron Schuette, Alec Vonier, Cesar Juarez, Jacob Flory, Nate Suntken and Noah Castle stymied Archbold’s attack. Wyse was thrown for a three yard loss, then a 10 yards loss then a 19 yard loss. Wauseon took over on the Archbold 49. But again, the Archbold defense was just as stingy allowing the Indians high powered offense 0 yards on four plays. Suntken was forced to punt again and this time the 35 yard punt was not returned.
Archbold had yet another unsuccessful drive that included two incomplete Wyse passes. With the 25 yard punt, the Indians offense was on for another try starting at the the Archbold 44. Bueter gained one yard, Suntken carried as everyone held their collective breaths when the quarterback was hit after a six yard gain. Bueter again for 10. Then with a first and 10 at the Archbold 27, Suntken found Kris Boysel with a terrific pass for the score at the 1:09 mark of the first quarter. The extra point attempt never got off the ground and the Indians were up 6-0.
Wauseon scored on a second straight possession midway through the second quarter after a six-play Archbold drive stalled.
On the most impressive scoring drive of the night, the Indians took the ball on their own four yard line. Bueter carried the first two times for nine yards. Nate Suntken, who entered the game at running back, ripped off a 10 yard burst. Bueter, getting his longest gain of the night, sprinted for 36 to the Archbold 46. After Suntken was thrown for an 11 yard loss, he found Noah Castle for a 22 yard gain to the Archbold 35. Bueter, again running with abandon, galloped 23 yards to the Archbold 12. Suntken gained seven on a keeper then Bueter carried two straight times to seal the deal and put the Indians up 12-0 with 6:05 left in the half. After missing the extra point after their first score, Wauseon elected to go for two points. Fortunately, as it would turn out, Suntken found Kris Boysel with a short pass for the two vitally important points and the Tribe was up 14-0.
The Streaks scored on their next possession as the combo of Evan Wyse to Levi Wyse chewed up yardage. A Wyse strike to Lincoln Parsley gained 28 yards to the Wauseon 12. Wyse covered the remaining dozen yards on foot over two carries and the Streaks were back to within seven with 3:31 left in the half.
The Indians last drive of the half ended at the Archbold 33 with an incomplete Suntken pass.
Wauseon’s Axel Bueter gained 96 yards in the first half as Evan Wyse ended the half with 32 rushing yards on 17 carries.
With a scoreless third quarter the Indians were holding on to the seven point advantage. Archbold, after holding a sputtering Wauseon offense to a three and out, took possession with 9:51 left in the contest. Wyse was a man on a mission during the Streaks’ second scoring drive of the game. The drive included five plays, which Wyse had a part in every snap. He passed to Parsley for a four yard gain. He then ran for three yards, passed to Parsley again for five yards then rushed the ball for four yards. On a second and six, Wyse took off around left end and sprinted 31 yards for the touchdown. With the memory of Bryan’s two point conversion in week six, the Indians faithful’s hearts stopped for a split second when Jase Grosjean took the snap from center for the extra point only to get up and sprint to the right. He floated a pass to Logan Baynes in the end zone, but the ball was a bit under thrown. The Indians had stopped the Streaks from the two point conversion and remained in front 14-13 with 8:42 remaining.
After yet another bad five play, five yard drive by Wauseon, Archbold had one more chance to get a score on the board and deliver a blow to the Indians. But Wauseon linebacker Jacob Flory proved to be the hero for the Tribe during Archbold effort. The Streaks had driven the ball, thanks in large part to Wyse, to the Wauseon 34. It was fourth and seven with 1:25 left in the game. Wyse had been gaining yardage pretty much at will the whole second half. He took the snap from center and bolted around his left rushing toward the yard marker. Suddenly, Flory came into view and laid a body block on the quarterback sending him to the turf four yards short of the needed first down. The Indians had held their arch rival and took over control of the ball as the clock showed triple zeros.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of this team,” a sore, but happy Ty Suntken said after the contest. “I would much rather talk about my teammates and how they performed tonight than to talk about my situation. My shoulder is sore and I am in a very tight fitting harness, but what we accomplished tonight, made the shoulder hurt a little less.”
The final statistics showed Wauseon with 300 offensive yards to 289 for the Streaks. Individually Axel Bueter Wauseon with 108 yards on 20 carries. While Evan Wyse carried the ball 35 times for 140 yards. Suntken was 6 of 13 passing for 125 yards and one touchdown. Wyse finished 16 of 21 passing for 149 yards.
It was Wauseon’s first win over Archbold since 2007 when the Tribe were 38-20 winners.
The Indians return to end their regular season next week as they travel to Patrick Henry to take on the Patriots.
Bill Bray may be reached at email@example.com