DELTA – October 10, 2014 “The NWOAL game of the year”, “Fulton County’s ONLY game of the night”, whatever a fan wanted to call it, certainly lived up to its billing.
In the end, the battle of the league’s two unbeaten teams finished with Wauseon defeating Delta 24-7.
With both teams fired up, the Panthers took the opening possession after Wauseon deferred to the second half. Delta needed just over three minutes to put up six points.
On the seventh play of their 77-yard drive, quarterback Noah Parson’s 43 yard strike to Bailey Storeholder at the 8:56 mark got the Panthers off to a fast start as the potent offense seemed to be off to the races.
The Indians needed to strike back and strike back is what they did.
Taking the ball at their own 35, Zac Robinson came out throwing, his first attempt of the night was a completion to Noah Castle. The play covered nine yards and put the ball at the Wauseon 44. The second pass fell incomplete. The Indians gained two first downs on the drive. The big play of the march was a 20-yard run by Robinson. The ball laid to rest on the Panther 35. After a three-yard run by Mason Creager, Robinson found his 6’6″ tight end in the end zone. Castle climaxed a 65-yard drive on nine plays. Josh Whitcomb was good on the extra point and the game was deadlocked at 7-7 with 5:25 left in the opening quarter.
Enter Wauseon, the top defense in the league allowing just 55 points through seven games. Delta, who has the top rusher in the league (Storeholder), the fourth top rusher in the league (Dylan Nostrant) and seventh best rusher in the league (Jesse Beverly), were held to 131 yards on the ground. Because of this defensive dominance, Delta was forced into a passing game, which with one touchdown throw, was stymied the rest of the game. It was obvious that Delta was not a strong passing team. Through six games Parsons had only thrown the ball 25 times. It was the front line play of Anthony Werder, Noah Castle, Jacob Rabbe along with Nate Suntken and Peyten Shadbolt that forced the Panthers out of their rushing game.
After a three-and-out for Delta, the Indians put together a six and a half minute drive. Wauseon started to move down the field as they took advantage of Castle’s mismatch with Robinson finding him for three catches for 26 yards. However some defensive stops by Ryan Patchin, Storeholder and Mark Francis made it a fourth and 11 from the Panthers 11. Coach Cooper called on Whitcomb to try a 28 yard field goal. The sophomore split the uprights and with 1:37 left in the half the Indians were up 10-7.
“Our goal as a team is to always score on our first possessions of each half,” coach Cooper said. Wauseon made good on that goal to start the second half. Robinson ran for 25 yards, Suntken ran for 14 yards. After two short gains, Robinson found Jacob Newlove in the end zone with a 20-yard pass. Whitcomb added another point to his four, and the Indians were up 10 at 17-7 to open the third quarter.
The Panther’s offense seemed to be defeated with the Indians quick score.
Delta, turning to their passing game, were intercepted by Mason Creager on their first drive. The Delta running game had gained 24 yards before Creager brought the drive to a halt.
Wauseon had one offensive drive and Delta had two offensive drives that stalled to end the third quarter.
After Wauseon went three-and-out, Delta put together an eight-play drive. With a third and 17 at the Wauseon 18 yard line, the Indians’ Danny Hench step in front of a Parsons’ pass and galloped 82 yards to seal the win for the Tribe.
Statistically for the Indians (5-0, 7-0) Robinson connected on 10 of 17 passes covering 121 yards and two touchdowns. His leading target was Castle who hauled in five catches for 63 yards and a touchdown. Nate Suntken carried the ball nine times for 58 yards.
The Indians return to Harmon Field Friday night to try to try to avenge their only regular season loss from a year ago when the Bryan Golden Bears (4-1, 5-2) come to town.