The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, Jul. 23, 2024

Cougs pound Bryan in season opener

DAVE MOSIER/independent sports

BRYAN — The Van Wert defense scored as many points as the offense as the Cougars downed Bryan 42-14 in the first game of the season. Van Wert’s win was the first over the Golden Bears in five years.

The Cougar defense picked off three of Golden Bear quarterback Bleus Creek’s passes, all of which were run back for touchdowns. After a scoreless first quarter, Van Wert got its first score early in the second quarter when Colin Smith intercepted a Creek pass and went 85 yards for the score. Gavin Gardner, who was 6-for-6 on extra-point tries in the game, booted the first one for a 7-0 lead.

Van Wert's Justice Tussing (44) evades a Bryan defender for a gainer during the Cougars' 42-14 win over the Golden Bears. Tossing had 111 yards and three TDs in the game. (Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent)
Van Wert’s Justice Tussing (44) evades a Bryan defender for a gainer during the Cougars’ 42-14 win over the Golden Bears. Tossing had 111 yards and three TDs in the game. (Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent)

Bryan didn’t waste any time in evening up the score, with an 81-yard pass from Creek to Colt Arthur with 8:19 remaining in the first quarter. Joshua Jones kicked the first of two extra-point tries to make it a 7-7 tie.

After the Cougars had to punt the ball away, the Golden Bears took their only lead of the game on their next possession when David Rummel ran 24 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-7. But that was the last score of the game for Bryan, as Van Wert rattled off 35 unanswered points.

The Cougars next score came on a 2-yard run by Justice Tussing with 3:19 remaining in the half to tie the game at 14-all at halftime. Tussing compiled 111 yards rushing on 23 carries for the night and three touchdowns.

Van Wert’s next score came early in the third quarter when Tussing scampered 27 yards for a TD with 10:15 remaining in the period. Gardner kicked the point after and it was 21-14, Cougars.

Van Wert’s next two scores came on interceptions. Evan Williams got the first one when he grabbed a Creek pass and ran 32 yards for the score and a 28-14 Cougar lead.

Keagan Hardmon got the next interception and took the ball 46 yards to paydirt and a 35-14 Van Wert advantage.

The final score of the game came at the 3:20 mark of the fourth quarter, with Tussing running 21 yards for a touchdown. Gardner kicked the extra point for the 42-14 final score.

The Cougars had 245 yards of total offense, including 167 yards on the ground. Smith completed 8 of 13 passes for 78 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. Bryan compiled 221 yards of offense, most of that through the air, with Creek completing 8 of 20 passes for 189 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

Arthur was the Golden Bears’ top receiver with his 85-yard touchdown catch. Nick Gutierrez caught two passes for 29 yards for Van Wert.

For the first time, Van Wert Coach Keith Recker is 1-0 on the season and will try to make it 2-0 when the Western Buckeye League season opens next Friday as Van Wert travels to St. Marys to play the Roughriders, who defeated Sidney 40-28 in its non-league season opener.

VW vs. Bryan football stats 8-2015

POSTED: 08/29/15 at 9:06 am. FILED UNDER: Sports