By: Nate Calvin
WAUSEON – The Indians scored on their first possession and last possession of the first half and the defense was able to force two turnovers in a 21-6 win over Patrick Henry.
Wauseon made it look easy on their first drive going 65 yards in six plays ending with an Elijah McCleod to Jude Armstrong seven-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead with 9:28 still left in the first quarter.
Wauseon gained a chunk of the yardage on their first possession when McLeod rolled out and found Sam Smith on a short pass and he went 47 yards to get Wauseon in the redzone.
After an exchange of punts, the Indians committed the first turnover of the night as McLeod’s pass into traffic was intercepted by Braden Hall and returned to the Wauseon 22-yard line.
The Patriots though, after being backed up by a chop block penalty, couldn’t take advantage of the turnover as a fourth down and five pass at the Wauseon 17 fell incomplete at the goal line.
Wauseon’s next possession was hampered by a pair of 15-yard penalties and ended with their second turnover of the game as Jonas Tester fumbled after hauling in a McLeod pass.
Following the turnover, the Patriots struggled to move the ball and tried a fake punt on fourth down, but the pass was incomplete giving the Indians the ball at the PH 42-yard line.
Wauseon quickly worked their way into scoring position as a McLeod screen pass to Tester covered 38 yards to put the Indians at the Patrick Henry four-yard line.
The Wauseon drive stalled at that point and a Tyson Rodriguez field goal attempt was blocked to keep the score at 7-0 with 7:02 left in the half.
The teams once again traded punts before Patrick Henry would get their initial first down of the opening half on their next drive when Meyer threw a short pass to Gavin Jackson.
The Indians defense would again rise to the occasion as a deep pass down the left sideline by Meyer was intercepted by Armstrong and he returned it all the way to the Patriots 26.
After nearly having a pass on third down intercepted, McLeod took advantage with a 13-yard pass to Tester on fourth down to keep the drive going for the Indians.
Wauseon found paydirt a few plays later with McLeod going over the middle to Tester on a 12-yard TD pass giving the Indians a 14-0 lead heading to halftime.
The Patriots started the third quarter with ball and used the ground game to move the ball. PH ran the ball ten times, converted a fourth down and were helped by two 15-yard penalties against the Indians to get the ball to the Indians three-yard line.
Meyer capped off the drive, that saw the Patriots run a total of 14 plays to cover 66 yards and burn 6:00 off the clock, with a three-yard quarterback keeper to make it 14-6 after an unsuccessful two-point conversion.
Wauseon responded with their longest drive of the game featuring a 15-yard by Bryson Stump and a 13-yard screen pass to Tester to put the Indians at the doorstep.
Logan Carroll finished off the 10-play, 67-yard march by the Indians with a three-yard TD run to push the lead to 21-6 with :33 remaining in the third quarter.
The Patriots mounted one more threat by converting three consecutive third downs to move the ball to the Wauseon 28-yard line.
The Indians defense would turn in one more big play with the Patriots facing another third down as Meyer’s pass was picked off by Ethan Borton with 6:52 left in the game and sealing the win for Wauseon.
McLeod ended the night 20/29 passing for 249 yards and two TDs and Stump led the running attack with 52 yards on 12 attempts. Tester led the Indian receivers with eight catches for 112 yards and Armstrong hauled in seven passes for 66 yards.
Meyer accounted for 188 yards of total offense for PH as he was 20/31 thru the air for 143 and ran for 45 yards on 15 carries.
The win vaults Wauseon into a three-way tie for second place in the NWOAL with Liberty Center and the Patriots at 3-1, one game behind Archbold (4-0)
UP NEXT: Wauseon (5-2, 3-1 in NWOAL) will make the trip down Airport Highway to face the Delta Panthers (4-3, 2-2 in NWOAL).
SCORE BY QUARTERS
P. Henry 0 0 6 0 – 6
Wauseon 7 7 7 0 – 21
Nate can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org