Wauseon Indians Raid Montpelier’s Homecoming

On Friday, October 5, the Indians of Wauseon were hosted by the Montpelier Locomotives. It was Homecoming week for the Locos, so they were looking for a win to cap off a week of fun festivities.

Wauseon won the toss and deferred to the second half, which meant that the home team Locomotives would likely elect to take the ball first. They did, and the Indians kicked off to start the game. Montpelier returned the ball to their own 33 yard line and the offense took the field. Benner kept the ball for the first two plays, picking up a short gain on the first and going down for a short loss on the second. On third down, Benner dropped back to pass and found an open man for the first down. Benner handed the pigskin off on the next play, netting the Locos 6 yards. Trying a similar handoff on the next play picked up another first for Montpelier. The next set of downs was christened with the first of many read-options to be run by Benner on the night; Benner kept the ball and picked up 16 yards. The Locos tried the read handoff again, but to less effect as Benner was brought down in the backfield. Another handoff on 2nd down, saw the running back met at the line and brought down leaving the Locomotives to contemplate a 3rd down with 14 yards to go. The play came in and the lines got set. Benner dropped back to pass and found a man over the middle. The receiver was brought down right at the marker, but it was enough for a first down and the drive continued. The Locomotives now found themselves on the 9 yard line of Wauseon. Montpelier went with a read handoff again on the next play, but Benner kept it and was met behind the line for a short loss. On 2nd down, the read handoff was called again, this time for a short gain, bringing up 3rd and goal on Wauseon’s 8 yard line. The next play spelled disaster for Montpelier. As Benner dropped back, he felt pressure and scrambled. A Wauseon defender wound around his feet and he tried to square up and throw the ball but was hit from behind. The ball popped out and was grabbed out of the air by another Wauseon defender who returned it to the Wauseon 30. Wauseon’s offense took the field as Montpelier’s left, disappointed.

Wauseon’s first play from scrimmage was a short swing pass from Suntken to Cales for a gain of 3, but that turned out to be the highlight of the drive as the Indians proceeded to fumble a handoff and, on 3rd down and 11 to go, throw an incomplete pass. The Indians would punt without making much headway.

The punt was a short one, giving the ball to Montpelier near midfield on their own 45 yard line. If it’s not broke don’t fix it, the Locos say as they call another read option for Benner, but it turned out to be a double read and after keeping on the initial exchange, Benner pitched to his flanking running back, but the Wauseon defense was ready and hit the ball carrier in the backfield for a short loss. The next play was a well-timed blitz from the Indians. They got to Benner in the backfield, bringing him down and putting the Locos to a 3rd down and 25 to go decision. Benner dropped back and got off a good throw, but Robinson of Wauseon was there to break the pass up at the first down marker. Montpelier was forced to punt.

Paying Wauseon back in kind, the Locos punt was short as well, giving the ball to Wauseon at almost exactly midfield. The Indians wasted no time, handing the ball to Ridge Schweinhagen who broke it up the middle for a gain of 27 yards. The next play was a keeper by Suntken, but he was brought down in the backfield. This, however, did not slow down the Indians. On the next play, Suntken slung it out to Cales on a wide receiver screen; Cales made a couple Loco defenders miss and cut back across the field to carry in the first score of the night. As usual, Russell McClarren’s extra point sailed through the uprights giving the lead to Wauseon, 7-0 with 1:41 to go in the first quarter.

Montpelier returned the ensuing Wauseon kickoff to the 20 yard line. Benner started the drive with another read option, keeping it again, but he was hit in the backfield for another loss. Benner dropped back on 2nd down and let the ball fly to the flats where it was bobbled and nearly picked by a Wauseon defender. The ball found its way to the ground, bringing up a 3rd down and 11 for Montpelier. Benner dropped back on 3rd down and felt some pressure. He tried to escape the pocket but was brought down by a host of Indians for a loss of 2.

This led to a Locos punt with time expiring in the first quarter. Montpelier’s punt was nearly taken to the house by returner Zac Robinson, but the Montpelier punt unit eventually corralled him on their own 20 yard line. The first quarter expired with the score 7-0 Wauseon, and the Indians had the ball in the Locos’ red zone.

Wauseon opened up the second quarter with two straight keepers for Suntken, both for short gains, leaving the Indians with 3rd down and 5 to go. The third time of the drive was the charm for the Suntken keepers as it was called again, but this time picked up 10 yards and a Wauseon first down. Suntken dropped back to pass with a great pocket around him as the offensive line of Wauseon held the Locos rush at bay. Suntken looked around, set his feet, and threw a strike to Noah Castle cutting across the middle. Castle kept right on going, meeting Montpelier defenders around the goal line, but he reached the ball in and scored Wauseon’s second touchdown of the evening. Russell McClarren, automatic as always, put the extra point through and brought the score to 14-0 with 10:12 to go in the second quarter.

Wauseon’s kickoff was returned to the 26 yard line and the Montpelier offense took the field. Benner kept the ball to start the drive, but was met at the line of scrimmage and muscled out only a short gain. On 2nd down, Benner dropped back but was sacked for a loss of 10, bringing up 3rd and long. Benner dropped back again on 3rd down, looking downfield for the 1st down, but nothing was open so he threw underneath. The receiver was brought down well short of the first down, bringing up 4th and 17 and leading to another Locos punt.

Montpelier’s punt was a long, arching boot, way over the head of the Wauseon returner. The ball was downed at the Wauseon 26 yard line and the Indians took over. The first play of the drive was yet another Suntken keeper, but the Wauseon QB was hit in the backfield. On 2nd down, the Indians went with a pitch to Robinson. He swung around the outside and was eventually brought down very close to the first down marker. The referees decided he got enough and the chains were moved, setting Wauseon up with a 1st and 10. The next play brought silence to both student sections as the handoff from Suntken to Schweinhagen was fumbled. Both teams piled on, but the Indians came out with the ball. Next play, Suntken dropped back to pass but was flushed from the pocket toward the sidelines where he eventually ran out of bounds for a short gain bringing up 3rd down and 12 to go. Montpelier sent the house on 3rd down and caught Suntken in the backfield to force a Wauseon punt on 4th down and 15.

A good punt and short return gave the ball to Montpelier on their own 40 yard line to start the next drive. Benner gave the ball to Dallas Royer who rumbled up the middle for a big 28 yard gain. Benner kept the next option for a short gain, but on 2nd down, gave the ball to Royer again who pushed the pile for a little to bring up 3rd down and 5. Benner dropped back and lofted the ball into the teeth of the Wauseon defense. Montpelier came down with the ball and was eventually brought down at Wauseon’s one yard line. With the Locos knocking at the door, it was no secret who the ball was going to, but it didn’t matter. With a great push from the offensive line and a strong effort, Benner rumbled into the Wauseon end zone for Montpelier’s first score of the night. The Locos kick was good and, with 3:49 left in the half, Montpelier made the score 14-7.

The Indians got a great return on the ensuing Locos kickoff, bringing it all the way back to their own 41. This big return was followed by a big Suntken keeper, a scramble for 17 yards which brought the Indians into Montpelier territory. Suntken slung the ball on 1st down out to Robinson in the flats for a gain of 6. A handoff to Ridge Schweinhagen was stuffed at the line on 2nd down and the 3rd down keeper by Suntken picked up only 5 leaving the Indians with a 4th down and 1, and a tough decision to make: to give McClarren a field goal try or trust the offense to pick up the 1st down. They went with the latter and Suntken powered through the line getting the first down. Next play was a boot out for Suntken with the pass falling incomplete. The Indians were flagged for an illegal man downfield, but the penalty was declined bringing up 2nd and 10. The next play was a carry by Schweinhagen who was met at the line and driven back for a loss of 1. Suntken dropped back to pass on 3rd down, hooking up with Cales for a short gain. This left the Indians with yet another 4th down, this one needing 7 yards for the first, and inside McClarren’s field goal range. 40 seconds remained in the half. The Indians opted to go for it again, this time with less success as Suntken’s pass fell incomplete.

Montpelier took over on downs, but had no intention of just running out the clock. The Locos opened the drive with a Tyler Benner keeper good for 12 yards followed by a Montpelier timeout with 28 seconds to go in the half. Next play, Benner dropped back and lofted a long pass under pressure which sailed out of bounds. The next play was a short scramble by Benner for a pickup of 2 followed by another Loco timeout with 16 seconds left in the half. The snap after the timeout draws a flag on Montpelier for a false start, bringing up 3rd down and 13. Benner dropped back on 3rd down looking for receivers at the 1st down marker, but the pass, thrown under duress, fell incomplete and brought up a Locomotive 4th and 13. The Locomotives opted to go for it and Benner scrambled for the 1st, but it was all for naught as the clock ran out on the first half with the Indians still leading 14-7.

Montpelier kicked off to begin action in the second half. The ball was returned to Wauseon’s 37 and the Indian offense took the field. Ridge Schweinhagen got the call on the first play of the second half and powered ahead for a short gain, but that would be the first of only two plays run in that Wauseon drive as Ty Suntken ran past the Montpelier defense in the next play and went 58 yards for the score. The extra point was good once again and, just like that, Wauseon took a commanding 21-7 lead over Montpelier with 11:11 to go in the third quarter.

Montpelier would start on their own 25 after a short return on the Wauseon kickoff. A handoff to Royer gleaned a tough yard for the Locos. The next snap flew over Benner’s head. He recovered, but the play still netted an 11 yard loss for the Locos. Another high snap came Benner’s way on 3rd down, but he was able to grab this one and break a tackle. However, he could not break a second and was brought down for a loss of 3. Facing a 4th down and long, Montpelier elected to punt.

A long punt return by Kauffman set the Wauseon offense up with great field position on the Locos 16 yard line. Suntken, on the keeper, powered the ball up inside the Montpelier 10 yard line. The next two plays went to Ridge Schweinhagen, both for short gains which left the Indians facing 4th down and 1 inside the Locos 5 yard line. The Indians, again, elected to go for it and, again, Ty Suntken drove the ball hard behind his center and picked up the 1st, leaving the ball on Montpelier’s 4 yard line with Wauseon 1st and goal. Robinson got the call on the sweep, but was brought down in the backfield. On 2nd down, Suntken rolled left and found a wide open Ridge Schweinhagen for a touchdown. The kick was good and Wauseon found themselves up 28-7 on the home team Locomotives with 6:06 to go in the third quarter.

The ensuing Montpelier possession began at their own 29 yard line after a good return on a deep Wauseon kick. Benner kept the ball up the middle for a short gain on 1st down, and handed the ball off for no gain on 2nd down. Benner dropped back to pass on 3rd down, but was cornered in the backfield bringing up 4th down and 9 and forcing a Montpelier punt.

The Indians called for a fair catch and the Wauseon offense took the field, starting at their own 37. Suntken’s first pass of the drive fell incomplete, and he kept it on 2nd down for a short gain. On 3rd down, Suntken found Castle for a gain of 10 and a Wauseon 1st down into Loco territory. Suntken ran through tackles on the 1st down keeper for a gain of 4. On 2nd down, Suntken dropped back again with great protection, and found Cales to the left. Cales caught the ball and stiff-armed the Montpelier defensive back to the ground on his way to the end zone. McClarren’s kick sailed through the uprights again and the score was 35-7, Wauseon, with 2:31 to go in the third quarter.

The next Montpelier possession started on their own 29 with Benner handing the ball to Royer for a short gain on 1st down followed by a sweep to Moreno for a gain of 3. On 3rd down, Benner took the offense in his own hands as he broke loose for a 66 yard jaunt, weaving through the Tribe’s defense. The extra point was no good, leaving the score 35-13 with 51 seconds to go in the third quarter and new life in the Locos offense.

Montpelier opted to go with a squib on the ensuing kickoff which Schweinhagen returned to midfield. Suntken, on 1st down, rolled out right and, feeling pressure, lofted the ball out of bounds. Deciding to keep the short clock rolling, the Indians called a keeper up the middle for Suntken on 2nd down. They let the clock expire and entering the fourth quarter, the Indians still held a commanding lead over Montpelier, 35-13. Wauseon wasted no time putting the game totally out of reach as they opened the fourth quarter with a 47 yard keeper to Suntken for the score. The extra point, as always, was good and the Wauseon offense went to the sidelines with 42-13 up on the scoreboard and only 11:50 to go in the game.

The Wauseon kickoff was returned to the Montpelier 23 yard line and Tyler Benner and the Montpelier offense took the field. The first Locos play was a sweep to Moreno who got outside for a solid gain of 7. Benner gave the ball to Royer on the next play which resulted in a short gain and brought up 3rd down and 1 for the Locos. Needing 1, Benner kept the ball himself, toting it much further than was needed. He was eventually brought down in Wauseon territory. Like a mirror of the first three plays, the Locos went with a sweep for a good gain, and a handoff up the middle, this time the two combined for another 1st down.

Montpelier called Royer’s number a second time in a row, netting yet another short gain. On 2nd down, Benner dropped back, but a host of Indians set upon him and he could not escape the backfield which set up a 3rd down and 10 for the Locos. A sweep to Moreno didn’t quite make it to the edge but still carved out a short gain which brought up a Montpelier 4th down and 8. The Locos lined up to go for it, but must not have liked what they saw as a timeout came in from the sidelines. Benner was back in the shotgun, the snap came back and Benner quickly let the pass fly, but it came up short of the first down and the Indians took over with 6:41 left in the game.

The Tribe’s first play went to Robinson around the outside, good for 3. Wauseon’s next snap was flagged for illegal procedure, bringing up 2nd and 12. Suntken handed the ball off for 6 on 2nd down, which brought up 3rd and 6. Suntken dropped back to pass looking for the conversion and let the pass fly too high, right over Robinson’s head. This brought up 4th down and 6, leading to a Wauseon punt.

Cales sent this punt soaring over the head of the Montpelier returner and the ball was eventually downed at the Montpelier 27 yard line. Benner handed the ball to Royer but the ball carrier was met in the backfield and brought down for a short loss as the clock continued to wind down the final 5:00 of the game. The next call was a pitch to Moreno for another sweep. Moreno was hit in the backfield and the ball popped loose, but the Locomotives recovered. Royer got the call on 3rd down up the middle again but was again hit in the backfield. This brought up a 4th down and 13 leading to a Montpelier punt.

The punt was dropped initially, but recovered by Wauseon who took over at their own 45 with 2:39 left in the game. With a healthy lead, Suntken was kept off and Robinson took over at QB. The first play was a Robinson keeper up the middle of the Locos defense for a gain of 4. The next play was a handoff up the middle for a gain of 2, bringing up 3rd and 4 as the clock began running off the last minute of the game. On 3rd down, Robinson kept the ball again and gained enough yardage for the 1st down. Wauseon went on to run out the clock. The final score was Wauseon, 42, Montpelier, 13.

On paper, the game didn’t look quite as one-sided as it turned out with Wauseon gaining only 2 more 1st downs than the Locos (14-12), only outrushing Montpelier by 25 yards (208-183), and the Locos actually ran more plays than the visiting Indians (47-52), but Wauseon had a hefty advantage in the passing game, outgaining the Locos through the air 107-45. This was probably due to the fact that the Wauseon defense managed 5 sacks on Tyler Benner for a total of -25 yards but the Locos didn’t sack Suntken at all. The Indians also controlled the ball and tempo, possessing the ball for 29:18 compared to Montpelier’s 18:36.

The quarterbacks of both teams led the rushing attack with Tyler Benner racking up 113 yards on 24 attempts for 2 touchdowns and Ty Suntken leading all rushers with 145 yards on 19 attempts for 2 touchdowns as well. Dallas Royer and Ray Moreno of Montpelier each toted the ball for 46 and 20 yards respectively while Ridge Schweinhagen and Zac Robinson rushed for 36 and 23.

In the passing game, Ty Suntken threw the ball 14 times, completing 8 of them for 107 yards and a whopping 4 touchdowns. Tyler Benner of Montpelier dropped back just 9 times, completing 2 of them for 45 yards. Benner clearly had the rougher go of it, being sacked 5 times and feeling the pressure for a backfield interception.

Josh Cales had a monster night with 4 receptions for 74 yards and 2 touchdowns for the Indians while Collin Mercer led the Locos receiving corps by grabbing both of Benner’s two completions on the night for all of the 45 yards. Noah Castle also had a big receiving night for the Indians snagging 2 catches for 21 yards and 1 touchdown. Ridge Schwienhagen had 1 reception in the contest for 5 yards; it accounts for Suntken’s fourth passing touchdown.

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