TOUCHDOWN BOMB … Wauseon junior receiver Tyson Rodriguez looks in a 56-yard touchdown pass from Trey Parsons on the second play of the second quarter. (PHOTO BY RICH HARDING, STAFF)
By: Nate Calvin
VAN WERT – Cougar standout quarterback Aidan Pratt passed for 138 yards and ran for 63 yards and two scores as Van Wert knocked Wauseon out of the playoffs for the second straight season.
After being stopped on their first two possessions, the Cougars third possession was setup with good field position after a 35-yard punt return by Maddix Crutchfield.
With the drive starting at the Wauseon 31, Van Wert hit pay dirt in seven plays ending with Pratt scoring untouched on a seven-yard run to make it 7-0.
Wauseon would mishandle the ensuing kickoff and following a false start on the first play of their possession they were backed up to their own two-yard line.
It was a Tyson Rodriguez punt from his own end zone after going three and out as the Cougars were back in business at the Wauseon 16-yard line.
Just three plays later Pratt scored again, this time from five yards out, for a 14-0 Van Wert lead with 1:30 remaining in the first quarter.
The Indians cracked the scoreboard on the second play of the second quarter as quarterback Trey Parsons found Rodriguez streaking down the sideline on a 56-yard hookup to make it 14-7.
The Wauseon defense would make a play by forcing a fumble at the Van Wert 28-yard line that Justin Duncan recovered to give the Indians a golden opportunity to tie the game.
Van Wert’s defense would force the first Wauseon turnover of the night by intercepting a Parsons pass on third down in the end zone to keep the score at 14-7.
Van Wert capitalized on the turnover with a 12-play, 65-yard march culminating in a Pratt to Crutchfield four-yard touchdown toss to make it 21-7 with just 0:57 seconds left in the half.
Van Wert went back to work on their first possession of the second half after the Indians punted.
It was six plays to cover 69 yards this time for the Cougars, aided by a late hit penalty against the Indians, as Pratt found a wide-open Phillips over the middle for a 30-yard TD strike to put the score at 28-7.
With Wauseon finding little success on offense, Van Wert continued to pull away with Pratt throwing to Brylen Parker for an eight-yard touchdown in the closing seconds of the third quarter.
Van Wert added one more touchdown early in the final quarter to initiate the running clock per the OHSAA point differential rule starting at the Wauseon 26-yard line a 30-yard punt return by Parker.
Parker would score on the second play of drive by punching it in from two yards out after a 25-yard gain on his previous carry to make the final score 40-7.
Parsons fronted the Wauseon (6-5) offense with 165 yards passing while Rodriguez was the top receiver with four catches for 78 yards and a touchdown.
First Downs 8 24
Rushing Yards 15-43 35-182
Passing Yards 165 138
Total Yards 208 320
Passing 19-33-2 16-26-0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties 5-45 3-25
Wauseon 0 7 0 0 – 7
Van Wert 14 7 13 6 – 40
VW – Pratt 8-yd run (McCracken kick)
VW – Pratt 5-yd run (McCracken kick)
W – Rodriguez 56-yd pass from Parsons (Rodriguez kick)
VW – Crutchfield 4-yd pass from Pratt (McCracken kick)
VW – Phillips 30-yd pass from Pratt (McCracken kick)
VW – Parker 8-yd pass from Pratt (McCracken kick no good)
VW – Parker 2-yd run (McCracken kick)
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICAL LEADERS
RUSHING: Wauseon-Friend 8-28; Van Wert-Parker 14-91, Pratt 15-63; PASSING: Wauseon-Parsons 19-33-165-2; Van Wert-Pratt 16-26-138-0; RECEIVING: Wauseon-Rodriguez 4-78, Smith 5-41; Van Wert-Phillips 4-67
Nate can be reached at email@example.com