By: Nate Calvin
WAUSEON – Delta’s missed scoring opportunities came back to haunt the Panthers in Friday night’s clash with Wauseon at Harmon Field.
Controlling the ball on offense to keep the high-powered Wauseon offense on the sidelines the Panthers had two empty trips inside the Wauseon five-yard line as Delta clung to a 3-0 lead with 4:03 left in the game.
After converting a fourth down to stay alive, Wauseon quarterback Trey Parsons hit Tyson Rodriguez over the middle and after breaking a couple tackles, Rodriguez took it 61 yards to the house for the game-winning touchdown with 1:28 remaining.
“We like that play and Tyson runs it really well”, said head coach Shawn Moore. “We knew we could hit a big play but just needed to break a tackle and we finally did.”
It was clear from the start what the run heavy Panthers planned to do to slow down the Indians.
Delta took the opening kick-off and drove to the Wauseon four-yard line in 12 plays (11 runs) absorbing almost seven minutes of the clock.
Facing a fourth-and-two, Wauseon stuffed a quarterback keeper by James Ruple to turn the Panthers away and take over on downs at their own three-yard line.
The Indians would pick up a couple first downs to escape the poor field position before Delta’s defense stopped running back Ryan Friend for a nine-yard loss and then sacked Parsons to eventually force an Indian punt.
Another time-consuming drive by Delta saw the Panthers move to the Wauseon 17 before the drive stalled, leading to a 34-yard field goal by Phil Smithers to give Delta a 3-0 lead at the 6:17 mark of the second quarter.
Wauseon’s found some offensive rhythm on their second possession of game, which turned out to be their last of the first half, behind completions to Sam Smith (19 yards) and Jude Armstrong (13 yards).
Also aiding the Indians drive was a pair of facemask penalties against the Panthers as Wauseon would move to the Delta 6 with a first-and-goal.
The Delta defense would rise up and keep Wauseon out of the end zone as Caleb Lantz picked off Parsons first down pass near the goal line to keep the score 3-0.
Wauseon’s opening second half possession ended in a punt and Delta went back to work with their methodical offense.
Delta chewed up nearly eight minutes of the third quarter clock with 14 running plays to move the Wauseon one-yard line where they would face another fourth down.
The final play of the drive was a Jeremiah Wolford run up the middle where he was stopped short of the end zone to come up empty again.
For the night, Delta ran seven plays inside the Wauseon five-yard line resulting in zero points.
Once again facing poor field position, Wauseon moved out to their own nine yard-line where they faced a fourth down.
Moore would roll the dice and go for it on fourth down and Parsons would hit Smith on a short five-yard pass to keep the drive going.
“We sent the punt team out there at first but just felt like we might not get the ball back if we ending up punting”, said Moore when explaining the decision to go for it.
Parsons found Armstrong down the right sideline for a 33-yard hook up on the final play of the third quarter to keep the momentum going for the Indians.
Four more completions by Parsons moved Wauseon to the Delta 20 before the Panthers defense would record another sack and eventually stopped Wauseon on downs with 7:35 to go.
After giving up a first down on a run by Wolford, the Indians defense would stop Delta on their next three runs forcing a Panther punt.
Wauseon’s game-winning drive started with Parsons being sacked before the Wauseon junior completed three passes to Armstrong to give Wauseon a second down at their own 39.
That’s when Parsons would find Rodriguez over the middle, and he was able to break away from a Delta tackler and raced 61 yards to the end zone.
Wauseon defense turned in one more big play on Delta’s ensuing possession by sacking Ruple and forcing a fumble on fourth down that was covered by defensive lineman Chance Snow to seal the win.
Parsons went 18/29 passing for 248 yards with Armstrong hauling in eight receptions for 96 yards.
Wolford paced the ground game for Delta with 93 yards on 19 carriers.
UP NEXT: October 14-Wauseon (6-2, 4-1 NWOAL) at Archbold (7-1, 4-1 NWOAL); Patrick Henry (4-4, 2-3 NWOAL) at Delta (5-3, 3-2 NWOAL).
First Downs 11 13
Rushing Yards 42-162 14-(-14)
Passing Yards 18 248
Total Yards 180 234
Passing 1-4-0 18-29-1
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties 4-40 4-30
Delta 0 3 0 0 — 3
Wauseon 0 0 0 7 — 7
D – Smithers 34-yd field goal
W – Rodriguez 61-yd pass from Parsons (Rodriguez kick)
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICAL LEADERS
RUSHING: Delta-Wolford 19-93, Knapp 15-56; Wauseon- Parsons 10 (-3); PASSING: Delta-Ja. Ruple 1-4-18-0; Wauseon-Parsons 18-29-248-0; RECEIVING: Delta- Knapp 1-18; Wauseon-Armstrong 8-96, Rodriguez 5-92, Smith 4-48
Nate can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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