FIGHTING FOR YARDS … Wauseon receiver Sam Smith stiff arms a defender after a first quarter reception. (PHOTO BY LINDSAY PHILLIPS, STAFF)
By: Nate Calvin
WAUSEON – Sometimes final stats don’t always tell the whole story and that could be said about Friday night’s Napoleon-Wauseon game at Harmon Field.
Napoleon (0-3) topped Wauseon in first downs (19-11), rushing yards (130-68), total yards (242-218), and time of possession (29:04-18:47).
All of that was offset by six Napoleon turnovers that led to 14 Wauseon points as the Indians finished the nonconference portion with a 28-12 win over their State Route 108 rival.
The defenses controlled the action in the first half, at one point the teams combined for turnovers on five straight possessions ending with a muffed punt by the Wildcats at their own 12-yard line.
Wauseon scored on the next play as Elijah McLeod hit Jude Armstrong for the first of his three touchdown receptions to put Wauseon in front 7-0 with 2:56 left in the first half.
Wauseon’s first drive of the second half started at midfield after a Napoleon punt and they quickly moved the ball to the Wildcat 12-yard line keyed by a McLeod to Sam Smith 26-yard completion.
The next play was another 12-yard pass by McLeod to Armstrong over the middle for a touchdown to push the lead to 14-0.
Napoleon would then engineer their best drive of the night behind the running of Andrew Williams.
After six carries by Williams, Napoleon faced a fourth-and-4 at the Wauseon 39 when quarterback Blake Wolf found a wide-open Williams for a 33-yard hookup to give Napoleon a first-and-goal.
Williams capped off the drive on the following play by breaking tackles when he appeared to be stopped at the line scrimmage to scamper six yards for Napoleon’s first TD of the night at the 1:09 mark.
Momentum stayed with Napoleon as Wauseon fumbled the ensuing kickoff and after an unsportsman like conduct penalty against the Indians the ball was on the Wauseon 13-yard line.
Napoleon again rode Williams as he carried the ball three straight times, the last one covering two yards as he found the end zone to make it 14-12 as the third quarter clock expired.
Wauseon opened the final quarter with a five-play 55-yard march ending with a McLeod to Armstrong 35-yard pass play down the right sideline to give the Indians a two-possession lead at 21-12.
The rest of the final quarter belonged to the Wauseon defense as they would intercept Wolf three times, two by Armstrong, one of which he returned 13 yards for the final score of the night with 4:30 to go.
“It was a nice performance by the defense, the guys up front were physical and the linebackers were flying around”, commented head coach Shawn Moore. “We told them at halftime we needed to make some plays, and obviously Jude was making plays for us all night and Sam had some big catches.”
Armstrong ended the night with four touchdowns (3 receiving, 1 int. return for TD) and two interceptions while Tyson Rodriguez also had two picks. McLeod was 12/23 thru the air for 150 yard and three scores while also rushing for 48 yards.
Williams carried the offensive load for Napoleon with 126 yards rushing on 23 carries and two touchdowns and had 43 yards receiving.
UP NEXT: September 9th– Liberty Center (3-0) at Wauseon (2-1) 7pm
First downs 19 11
Rushing Yards 40-130 18-68
Passing Yards 112 150
Total Yards 242 218
Passing 11-21-4 13-24-1
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 2-2
Penalties 7-60 3-25
Napoleon 0 0 12 0 – 12
Wauseon 0 7 7 14 – 28
W – Armstrong 12-yd pass from McLeod (Rodriguez kick)
W – Armstrong 12-yd pass McLeod (Rodriguez kick)
N – Williams 6-yd run (kick blocked)
N – Williams 2-run (2-pt conversion failed)
W – Armstrong 35-yd pass from McLeod (Rodriguez kick)
W – Armstrong 13-yd interception return (Rodriguez kick)
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICAL LEADERS
RUSHING: Napoleon-Williams 23-126; Wolf 11-(-10); Speaks 5-14; Seibel 1-0; Wauseon-McLeod 11-48; Friend 4-20; PASSING: Napoleon – Wolf 11-21-4-112; Wauseon-McLeod 12-23-1-150; Parsons 1-1-0-0; RECEIVING: Napoleon – Williams 4-43; Dietrich 3-33; Wauseon – Armstrong 6-72; Smith 4-41; Rodriguez 2-36
Nate can be reached at email@example.com