The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020

Cougars rally to defeat Keystone 38-27

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

LAGRANGE — Owen Treece fired three touchdown passes and ran for two more scores to lead No. 5 seed Van Wert to a come-from-behind 38-27 Division IV Region 14 quarterfinal win over fourth-seeded Keystone on Saturday night.

It was Keystone’s first loss of the year (7-1), while the Cougars improved to 7-1 to advance to the regional semifinals against Bellevue.

Owen Treece accounted for five touchdowns against Keyestone. Bob Barnes/file photo

Two of Treece’s touchdown passes went to Maddix Crutchfield, but a third quarter scramble by the senior quarterback likely saved the season for the Cougars. Trailing 21-19 and facing fourth and sixth at the Keystone 14, Treece was unable to find an open receiver and took off for 13 yards and a first down. One play later, he scored on a one-yard run to put Van Wert ahead 25-21.

“To convert that fourth and sixth and take the lead…I can’t say enough about how much fight he showed on a lot of plays like that,” Van Wert head coach Keith Recker said. “When we needed a play he was able to break some tackles, get loose and make it happen.”

Treece tossed a 24-yard touchdown pass to Crutchfield later in the quarter, then added a four yard touchdown run in the final quarter to seal the victory for the Cougars (7-1). Treece finished with 139 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries and was 20-of-28 passing for 198 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

Nate Jackson, who rushed for 106 yards on seven carries and caught six passes for 29 yards, put Van Wert on the board with a 76-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, but the extra point attempt was no good. Later in the quarter, Treece connected with Crutchfield for a 27-yard score, giving the Cougars a 12-0 lead. Crutchfield went on to finish with three receptions for 61 yards.

“I’m so happy for him,” Recker said of Crutchfield. “He was frustrated in pregame with the footing, the ball was slippery, he was struggling catching the ball, so for him to come through (was big). That position (H-back) is one of the hardest positions on our team because he has to know every blocking scheme in the run game, the pass protection and then he has to know every route. He’s done a wonderful job with it all year.”

Keystone came roaring back with a big second quarter.

Gideon Lampron scored on a 15-yard run with 9:41 left in the period, then after a five yard touchdown pass from Treece to Jackson, the Wildcats put up two scores to take a 21-19 lead. Konner Rodick hooked up with highly touted Ryne Schackelford for a 60-yard touchdown, then Schackelford ended a promising Van Wert drive by intercepting Treece at the Keystone one-yard line. Rodick and Schackelford then capped an eight-play drive with a 28-yard touchdown pass and a two point conversion run by Jack Sivec to take the lead. Rodick completed 14-of-30 passes for 199 yards, two touchdowns and one interception by Jacob Place late in the game.

Schackelford scored Keystone’s only touchdown of the second half on a 31-yard run with six seconds left in the third quarter. The University of Kentucky recruit finished the game with eight receptions for 133 yards and two touchdowns and four carries for 28 yards.

After rushing for 300 yards and five touchdowns against Edison last week, Lampron was held to 94 yards on 20 carries by Van Wert’s defense. 77 of those yards came in the first half.

“Our defensive line did a very good job of what we call squeezing blocks,” Recker explained. “We don’t have the biggest defensive line but I thought they did a much better job in the second half of squeezing all of that inside and trying to make it difficult for him to run between the tackles.

Van Wert will travel to Bellevue to face the top-seeded Redmen on Saturday night. Bellevue defeated Kenton 56-15. The two teams met in Findlay during the 2000 playoffs, and the Cougars won 35-21.

Scoring summary

Keystone 0 21 6 0 – 27
Van Wert 12 7 13 6 – 38

First quarter

VW – Nate Jackson 76-yard run (kick failed)
VW – Owen Treece 27-yard pass to Maddix Crutchfield (kick failed)

Second quarter

KHS – Gideon Lampron 15-yard run (Jakob Rich kick)
VW – Owen Treece 5-yard pass to Nate Jackson (Damon McCracken kick)
KHS – Konner Rodick 60-yard pass to Ryne Schackelford (kick blocked)
KHS – Konner Rodick 28-yard pass to Ryne Schackelford (Jack Sivec run)

Third quarter

VW – Owen Treece 1-yard run (run failed)
VW – Owen Treece 24-yard pass to Maddix Crutchfield (Damon McCracken kick)
KHS – Ryne Schackelford 31-yard run (kick blocked)

Fourth quarter

VW – Owen Treece 4-yard run (kick failed)

POSTED: 10/25/20 at 12:56 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports