The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022

Bryan downs Cougars on last-minute TD

DAVE MOSIER/independent sports

It wasn’t just the uniforms that were new this year. The Van Wert Cougars also brought a new attitude to Eggerss Stadium for its grid opener against the Bryan Golden Bears. For 47 minutes and 43 seconds, the Cougars played Bryan tough, and it looked as if Van Wert might escape with a 14-12 win over the Golden Bears after being outscored 125-31 the last two years, including a 56-0 drubbing in 2012.

Unfortunately, Bryan was able to score one more time as quarterback Brandon Dean bulled his way into the end zone with 17 seconds left in the game for an 18-14 non-conference victory for the Golden Bears.

Van Wert's Nate Krugh (25) goes up for a catch that resulted in Van Wert's first touchdown Friday against the Bryan Golden Bears. Bryan edged the Cougars 18-14 in both team's grid opener. (Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent)
Van Wert’s Nate Krugh (25) goes up for a catch that resulted in Van Wert’s first touchdown Friday against the Bryan Golden Bears. Bryan edged the Cougars 18-14 in both team’s grid opener. (Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent)

Bryan also scored first in the game on a 20-yard pass from Dean to Nate Rau with 10:01 remaining on the first-quarter clock. The point-after pass attempt failed and it was 6-0, Golden Bears.

Van Wert returned the favor when junior quarterback Colin Smith found Nate Krugh for a 38-yard touchdown at the 2:29 mark of the first quarter. Gavin Gardner kicked the extra point and the Cougars led 7-6.

It was Van Wert who scored first in the second quarter as Smith found Ryan Stoller for a 17-yard scoring strike with 8:55 left to play in the period. Gardner again kicked the PAT and the Cougars were up by eight, 14-6.

Bryan scored on its next possession when Dean found Derek Knisely on a 22-yard touchdown pass with 3:57 left in the first half. The two-point pass attempt again failed and the Golden Bears trailed 14-12 at the half.

Unfortunately, a weary Cougar defense couldn’t get a stop on Bryan when it needed one in the final stanza and Dean scored the final TD of the game.

Van Wert had 223 yards of total offense, most of those through the air. The Cougars ran for just 52 yards on 28 carries, but the passing game garnered 171 yards and two touchdowns on 15 of 25. Smith threw one interception.

Van Wert Coach Keith Recker will likely concentrate on conditioning this week, since cramping and other exhaustion-related problems kept several of his key players on the bench in the second half. As a result, Van Wert compiled just 11 yards rushing and 39 yards passing in the final two quarters of play.

Bryan had 310 yards of total offense, including 167 yards on the ground on 43 carries and 143 yards through the air on 14 of 31 passing. The Golden Bears also had one pick in the game.

The Cougars will travel to Ottawa-Glandorf next week for their Western Buckeye League opener against the Titans, who defeated Oak Harbor 34-17 last night.

VW vs. Bryan football 8-2014

POSTED: 08/30/14 at 6:53 am. FILED UNDER: Sports