The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022

Cougars score early and often, win 55-18

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

DEFIANCE — The Van Wert Cougar Express rolled on at Fred Brown Stadium on Friday night.

The Cougars (3-0, 2-0 WBL) set the tone early by grabbing a 14-0 lead with 9:37 left in the first quarter and from there Van Wert cruised to 55-18 win over Defiance.

Aidan Pratt threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more scores during Friday’s 55-18 win over Defiance. Photo courtesy of Jerry Mason

Along the way, Aidan Pratt passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more, Nate Jackson scored twice on the ground and once on a pass reception and Brylen Parker found the end zone twice on short runs.

“Before the game we didn’t have great energy and the week of practice was kind of chaotic because we switched up the schedule so I was very anxious to see how the guys would respond to that,” Van Wert head coach Keith Recker said. “It was such a mature attitude to come in and take care of Defiance the way they did and not look ahead because we have three big games coming up.”

After receiving the opening kickoff, the Cougars moved 59 yards in just four plays and scored on a four yard touchdown run by Pratt. The drive featured a 32-yard run by Pratt and the first seven PATs by Connor Pratt.

Defiance muffed the ensuing kickoff and Luke Wessell jumped on the loose ball at the Bulldog 37 and four plays later, Parker scored on one-yard run, then after forcing a Defiance punt, the Cougars scored on a 33-yard pass from Pratt to Jackson.

Defiance’s only touchdown came on a 71-yard pass from Gavin Miller to Drew Kellermyer, but Van Wert answered by marching 79 yards in nine plays and scoring on Parker’s three yard touchdown run, putting the Cougars ahead 28-6.

The Bulldogs (1-2, 0-2 WBL) again fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Van Wert capitalized on a one-yard run by Jackson that put the Cougars ahead 35-6 at the end of the opening quarter.

“It was good for him (Jackson) to get going and we have so many guys we can get the ball to and it was Nate’s turn tonight,” Recker said. “He’s so athletic and so strong and we needed to run the ball well so I was happy with that. It was good for our offensive line and for him.”

The rest of Van Wert’s scoring came in the second quarter, with Pratt racing 64 yards for a touchdown, Jackson sprinting 39 yards for a score and a 35-yard touchdown pass from Pratt to Garett Gunter. By halftime, the Cougars had amassed 451 yards of total offense, compared to just 92 by Defiance.

Pratt completed 19-of-22 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 122 yards and two scores on just seven carries. Jackson had six carries for 60 yards, plus two receptions for 36 yards Kaiden Bates had seven carries for 44 yards. The Cougars ended the game with 539 yards of offense.

The second half featured a continuous clock and reserves by both teams.

Defiance added two scores, a seven-yard run by Kellermyer in the third quarter and a touchdown run by Garret Rodenberger in the final period.

Van Wert will host Wapakoneta (2-1, 2-0 WBL) on Friday. The Redskins defeated rival St. Marys Memorial 10-7 on Friday night.

“Their quarterback (Braeden Goulet) didn’t play against us last year and he’s back and he looks very good on film,” Recker said. “He’s running the ball very well so they’ll be a handful.

Scoring summary

First quarter

VW – Aidan Pratt 4-yard run (Connor Pratt kick)
VW – Brylen Parker 1-yard run (Connor Pratt kick)
VW – Aidan Pratt 33-yard pass to Nate Jackson (Connor Pratt kick)
D – Gavin Miller 71-yard pass to Drew Kellermyer (2 point try failed)
VW – Brylen Parker 3-yard run (Connor Pratt kick)
VW – Nate Jackson 1-yard run (Connor Pratt kick)

Second quarter

VW – Aidan Pratt 64-yard run (Connor Pratt kick)
VW – Nate Jackson 39-yard run (Connor Pratt kick)
VW – Aidan Pratt 35-yard pass to Garett Gunter (kick failed)

Third quarter

D – Drew Kellermyer 7-yard run (kick failed)

Fourth quarter

D – Garett Rodenberger touchdown run (kick failed)

POSTED: 09/03/21 at 11:34 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports