The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Aug. 19, 2022

VW Cougars fall to the Kenton Wildcats

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

Two junior quarterbacks put on quite a show during Friday’s homecoming game at Eggerss Stadium.

Van Wert’s Nate Place completed 29-of-40 passes for 286 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions, and rushed 21 times for 125 yards.

Kenton’s Jaron Sharp countered by going 16-of-42 for 314 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions, and rushed 27 times for 198 yards and two more scores, as the Wildcats defeated the Cougars 35-27.

“We were struggling so much defending some of the deep passes that we couldn’t commit too many more guys to the run,” Van Wert head coach Keith Recker said. “We were in a tough situation.”

“ (Offensively) We tried to establish the run, they are one of the worst rush defenses in the league, but we couldn’t get it going for whatever reason,” Recker added.

Nate Place throws a pass against Kenton. Jerry Mason for the Van Wert independent

The two teams traded interceptions during a scoreless first quarter, then Jake Hilleary gave the Cougars a 7-0 lead with a one-yard run with 11:25 left in the second quarter. Jake Lautzenheiser added the first of three extra points.

Kenton (2-4, 2-3 WBL) responded on the following drive, going 65 yards in seven plays and scoring on a 45-yard touchdown pass from Sharp to Hunter Moore with 9:40 left in the second quarter.

Van Wert moved the ball on the ensuing drive, but missed a 33-yard field goal attempt, and the Wildcats were forced to punt on their next possession, but a fumble by the Cougars allowed Kenton to score one play later on a 16-yard pass from Sharp to Landon Rush.

After trading punts, the Cougars took over at the Kenton 41 with 3:41, and marched 59 yards in seven plays and tied the score at 14, when Nate Place hit Drew Bagley with an 11-yard touchdown pass. Bagley finished the game with 10 receptions for 86 yards.

Kenton began the third quarter with a 10-play, 68-yard scoring drive that ended with a four-yard touchdown run by Sharp. The Cougars jumped offside during the PAT attempt, leading the Wildcats to successfully score a two-point conversion on a run by Sharp.

Once again, the Cougars responded, and scored on a 47-yard touchdown pass from Place to Jacoby Kelly. The two-point conversion attempt failed, and Kenton trailed 22-20 with 6:16 left in the third quarter. Kelly finished the game with nine catches for 119 yards.

Sharp highlighted Kenton’s next drive with three runs for 28 yards and three passes for 59 yards, including a 47-yard scoring strike to Cory Ludwig that gave the Wildcats a 29-20 advantage.

After an interception by Place, Kenton struck again early in the fourth quarter, when Sharp rambled in from 13 yards out to give the Wildcats 35-20 lead.

The Cougars weren’t done though. Place led Van Wert on a 15-play, 77-yard drive that was capped off with a four-yard touchdown pass to Tanner Barnhart. Place completed 9-of-11 passes on the drive for 57 yards, including four to Bagley for 33 yards.

After a failed onside kick, Van Wert forced Kenton to punt, and the Cougars took over at their own 49 with one second left. Place threw a short pass to Kelly, who tossed it to a teammate. After a short series of laterals, the game ended when James Acquaviva was forced out of bounds at the 22 yard line.

Van Wert (3-3, 2-3 WBL) will travel to Elida Friday night.

Scoring summary:

VW 11:25 2 qtr: Jake Hilleary 1 yard run (Jake Lautzenheiser kick) 7-0
KEN 9:40 2 qtr: Jaron Sharp 45 yard pass to Hunter Moore (Bryce Ellis kick) 7-7
KEN 5:52 2 qtr: Jaron Sharp 16 yard pass to Landon Rush (Bryce Ellis kick) 14-7
VW 4:43 2 qtr: Nate Place 11 yard pass to Drew Bagley (Jake Lautzenheiser kick) 14-14
KEN 8:53 3 qtr: Jaron Sharp 4 yard run (Sharp run) 22-14
VW 6:16 3 qtr: Nate Place 47 yard pass to Jacoby Kelly (run failed) 22-20
KEN 4:12 3 qtr: Jaron Sharp 41 yard pass to Cory Ludwig (Bryce Ellis kick) 29-20
KEN 11:12 4 qtr: Jaron Sharp 13 yard run (Bryce Ellis kick) 35-20
VW 1:53 4 qtr: Nate Place 4 yard pass to Tanner Barnhart (Jake Lautzenheiser kick) 35-27

POSTED: 09/30/17 at 7:30 am. FILED UNDER: Sports