(October 31st, 2014)-WAUSEON: As the year’s first snowflakes glided softly to the ground, the Indians of Wauseon hoisted the North Western Ohio Athletic League (NWOAL) Trophy high into the air in celebration.
In a game the Wauseon Athletic Department dedicated to this paper’s own Bill Bray, who eats, sleeps, and breathes all things Wauseon, after he suffered a heart attack, the Indians did battle with Evergreen to close out their regular season. There was no lack of matters at stake, as an NWOAL championship, a perfect season, and playoff position were all on the line as Wauseon invited the Vikings to Harmon Field.
How did the hometown Indians respond to the pressure?
With a 55-14 blowout victory, of course.
Jumping out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, with two rushing scores of 4 and 32 yards by Nate Suntken sandwiching a 7 yard scoring run by senior quarterback Zac Robinson, Wauseon’s defense was able to nullify the powerful Viking passing attack during that same span. Evergreen began to move the ball in the second period, however, driving deep into the red zone on their first drive of the quarter. A tipped ball by the Indian defense led to a Derek Rupp interception and no points on the board for the Vikings.
Evergreen quarterback Nick Etue would get the ball back, though, ending the next drive by flipping over Indian defenders to top off a 6 yard touchdown rush. Wauseon answered just over a minute later, topping off a hasty drive with a 3 yard scoring run. That left the score at 28-7 at the half.
Wauseon wasted no time in the second half, as Jeremiah Kauffman returned the opening kickoff 78 yards for a touchdown. Later in the third quarter, Robinson scrambled 24 yards for another score. This left the score at 42-7 going into the final period.
Kauffman took over the quarterbacking duties for Wauseon late in the third quarter, and was able to engineer two more scoring drives. A minute into the fourth period, he completed an 8 yard touchdown strike to Zach Johnson. Roughly midway into the quarter, on third down, Kauffman hooked up with senior T.J. Gype for a 6 yard screen pass that saw him weave his way into the endzone.
Etue completed a meaningless touchdown pass with 26 seconds left for the last score of the game, leaving the game at 55-14.
It should be noted that Evergreen receiver Kyle Brighton, who had 8 receptions for 113 yards, broke the all time receiving yards record for the Vikings during the game.
Robinson competed seventy-five percent of his passes on the night, going 9-12 for 113 yards. He also rushed for 93 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 9 carries. Suntken also only made 9 attempts, but still managed 100 yards rushing and 2 scores of his own. Kauffman rushed 4 times for 45 yards during his tenure at quarterback. He also completed all 3 of his pass attempts for 23 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Mason Creager brought down 6 balls for 62 yards, showing off his elusiveness in the short passing game. Luke Rychener caught 2 passes for 25 yards, while Jacob Newlove and Noah Castle each recorded 1 reception for 18 and 17 yards respectively.
The Wauseon pass rush was also effective, recording 4 sacks against the Vikings. Jacob Flory, Nate Suntken, and Anthony Werder all made solo tackles on Etue, while Peyten Shadbolt and Jason Sluder split a sack as well. Derek Rupp and Ty Leininger both made interceptions against the pressured quarterback as well.
After the game, Wauseon Athletic Director Matt Hutchinson presented the Indians with the NWOAL championship trophy, which contrasted nicely with those snowflakes falling from the night sky as it was raised high into the air.
Wauseon will host a first round playoff game on Friday against traditional football power Genoa, who went 8-2 on the season.