The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, May. 16, 2022

Cougars edged by Elida in WBL shootout

DAVE MOSIER/independent sports

ELIDA – The Van Wert Cougars gave it all they had, but still came up a touchdown short as they fell to the Elida Bulldogs 41-34 in a Western Buckeye League game played Friday at Elida.

Van Wert outplayed the Bulldogs everywhere but on the scoreboard, generating 462 yards to offense, 372 of that through the air, versus 417 for Elida, and had 25 first downs, to 17 for Elida.

Justice Tussing evades an Elida tackler during last night's Western Buckeye League contest against the Bulldogs. (Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent)
Justice Tussing evades an Elida tackler during last night’s Western Buckeye League contest against the Bulldogs. (Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent)

Unfortunately, Cougar quarterback Colin Smith also had three picks in the game, with one of those interceptions costing Van Wert a touchdown — and, arguably, a chance for a tie with the Bulldogs at the end of regulation.

Elida began the scoring with a 7-yard run to paydirt by Seanquez Frye. Clark Etzler kicked the point-after and it was 7-0, Bulldogs.

Van Wert answered with a 19-yard pass from Smith to Terrance Branson. Gavin Gardner kicked the PAT and the game was tied at 7-all with 2:28 left in the first quarter.

Elida scored three times in the second quarter on a 14-yard run by Etzler and passes from Etzler to Avery Sumpter and Christian Moran. Van Wert scored twice in the quarter, the first TD on a 1-yard run by Smith and the second on a 28-yard pass from Smith to Branson to make the score 27-21 in favor of the Bulldogs at the half.

Elida added two scores in the third quarter, with Frye scoring both on runs of 4- and 7 yards. The Cougars added a TD on a 25-yard pass from Smith to Branson and the score was 41-27 heading into the final quarter.

Van Wert scored its final touchdown of the night when Branson ran it in from the Elida 6-yard-line. Gardner kicked the PAT for the final Cougar score at the 7:38 mark of the third quarter. Both teams had opportunities to score after that, but neither could put points on the board. Thanks to an interception by Michael Smelser, the Cougars had the final chance to score, but Smith was intercepted with Van Wert in Elida territory and less than a minute remaining in the game.

Smelser was the game’s top receiver with nine catches for 166 yards, while Branson caught 10 passes for 149 yards and three touchdowns. Smith was 22 of 44 for 372 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions, while Etzler connected on 10 of 20 passes for 177 yards, two TDs and two picks.

Justice Tussing was Van Wert’s top rusher, with 16 carries for 49 yards. Branson had 31 yards and a touchdown on six carries.

Neither team lost a fumble, while Etzler led the Bulldog ground attack with 154 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

Top receivers for Elida were Sumpter, with four catches for 89 yards and a touchdown, and Moran, who also had four catches for 73 yards and a TD.

With the win, the Bulldogs are now 3-2 overall and 2-2 in the WBL, while Vann Wert is 0-5 overall and 0-4 in league play.

Van Wert will be at home next week against Lima Bath for the school’s homecoming celebration. Homecoming activities will begin at 7 that evening, with the game to start at 7:30 p.m.

VW vs Elida football stats 2013

POSTED: 09/28/13 at 9:25 am. FILED UNDER: Sports