The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022

Cougars ready for WBL opener

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

The second week of the high school football season will bring a different set of challenges for the Van Wert Cougars.

Defending Western Buckeye League tri-champion Wapakoneta (0-1) will visit Eggerss Stadium, in the WBL opener for both teams. It’s also the home opener for Van Wert (1-0).

The Cougars snapped an 11-game losing streak, with last Friday’s 27-7 win over the Bryan Golden Bears. Nate Place threw for 127 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for 61 yards. Jacoby Kelly finished with 162 all purpose yards, including an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

While reviewing film of the victory, head coach Keith Recker and his staff saw some positives and some areas that need improvement.

“The biggest positive was our coverage on defense,” Recker said. “We had coverage issues in our scrimmages and it made us concerned, but our defensive backs played very sound and did a good job of not giving up any big plays through the air.”

“Our offensive line still needs to continue to improve,” Recker added. “Technique and assignment were not where they need to be for when we play Wapakoneta. We had too many missed assignments that will really hurt us if we don’t get that fixed.”

Despite a 19-7 season opening loss to Bellefontaine, Recker believes Wapakoneta is a solid team.

“There is no one specific player that stands out as being head and shoulders above others, but they have good players at every position,” Recker said. “They are very sound defensively and really get to the ball well.”

“Offensively they present challenges because they are so multiple in their formations with the same personnel. They can go from a Wing-T team to a spread team without changing personnel, which makes it a little difficult.”

Recker added the key to victory is as much mental as it is physical.

“We have to believe that we can beat them,” Recker explained, “Next, we have to be better up front so we can control the ball on offense, and we must cut down on our penalties.

Tomorrow’s game will air live on WERT 1220 AM and 104.3 FM, and will stream live at


POSTED: 08/31/17 at 7:36 am. FILED UNDER: Sports