ARCHBOLD – Although they controlled the battle of time of possession by a sizeable margin and collected more first downs, the Montpelier Locomotives hopes of spoiling Homecoming for the Archbold Bluestreaks was short lived. The hosts were able take advantage of big plays and capitalize on four Montpelier turnovers to down the Locos by a final of 76-13.
Archbold had the ball for less than 2:30 in the first half, and only ran a total of 10 plays, yet amassed a commanding 49-7 lead at halftime.
The Locos won the toss and elected to receive. After a nice return by Keegan Hitzeman, Montpelier’s offense had the ball on the Archbold 45 yard line. Behind the running of quarterback Tyler Benner, the Locos picked up two first downs and advanced the ball to the Archbold 30. However the drive stalled there when on 4th and 8 Benner was able to scramble for just 5 yards.
Archbold need just one play, a 75 yard run by Levi Wyse, to go up 7-0 as just 13 seconds ticked off the clock. Stymied by the score, Montpelier was quick to respond. Benner used both his legs and his strong right arm to move the Locos from their own 24 yard line to the end zone. All told the quarterback picked up 22 yards on the ground and another 61 yards through the air by completing his first three passing attempts to three different receivers. Included were a 42 yard strike to Jonuh Ramos on 3rd and 12 and a touchdown toss to Raymon Moreno on 4th and goal from the 5 yard line. After the successful extra point attempt by Cody Caudill, the game was deadlocked 7-7 with 2:59 remaining in the opening stanza.
However, the excitement on the Montpelier side of the field was short lived. On the ensuing kickoff Jase Grosjean fielded the ball at his 16 yard line and sprinted untouched 84 yards to daylight for another touchdown and a 14-7 lead after the successful PAT.
After being unable to collect a first down on their possession, Montpelier’s Dan Hand punted to ball back to Archbold. This time the “Streaks” needed three plays to find paydirt to go up 21-7.
The “Never say die” Locos went back on the offensive starting at their 23 yard line as the quarter ended following a seven yard gain by Benner. The second quarter began with two more runs by the quarterback leaving Montpelier faced with a 4th down and 1 from the Montpelier 32 yard line. Coach Steven Brancheau rolled the dice deciding to go for it. The fake punt gamble paid off as the snap went directly to Benner in the up back position who picked up 2 yards for the first down. The joy soon turned to sadness however as three plays later a throwback attempt landed right in the hands of Archbold’s Tyson Dietrich who ran 36 yard for the score putting the Bluestreaks up 28-7.
Following a 14 yard kick return by Caudill, Montpelier began their next drive at their 28 yard line. The series lasted just one play however as Colin Mercer coughed up the pigskin. After the pile was uncovered Archbold had possession once again. This time it took just one pass play for the Bluestreaks to take advantage of the turnover making the score 35-7 in favor of the home team.
Montpelier was unable to mount any charge the rest of the half and Archbold added two more scores to compile a 49-7 lead at the intermission.
The Locos’ fortune got no better to start the second half as Archbold returned the kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown moving the margin to 56-7. Hitzeman returned the kickoff 15 yards to the Montpelier 28, then Benner gained 12 yards for a first down. However a short gain by Benner followed by two incomplete passes left the Locos facing fourth and nine and Hand punted the ball 35 yards to the Archbold 24 yard line. Once again the Bluestreaks responded with a 3 play, 76 yard drive upping the advantage to 63-7 with 8:46 remaining in the third quarter.
The reserves received some valuable playing time the remainder of the contest for both teams. The Locos were able to add another score as Benner was reinserted into the game after Hitzeman needed a short break when his ankle rolled on by an Archbold defensive lineman. Benner took advantage of the opportunity calling his own number on the read option rambling 40 yards before being tackled at the Archbold 2 yard line. Benner added six points to the Loco total after covering the final two yards into the end zone. Caudill’s kick sailed wide right and Montpelier trailed 63-13.
In the fourth quarter Archbold tacked on two additional scores to provide the final margin of victory.
Once again Benner was the workhorse for the Loco. The senior signal caller had 25 carries for 125 yards and one touchdown. Mercer’s number was called 12 times for 25 yards. After completing his first three attempts, Benner finished 4-15 for 71 yards on the night including one scoring strike to Moreno and three interceptions.
The Locos, who now stand 2-4 overall on the season and 1-3 in the NWOAL, welcome Wauseon to town next week for Homecoming. Wauseon all has a 2-4 overall record and is 2-2 in the league. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 pm.