The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Jan. 24, 2022

Crutchfield, Jackson lead VW to victory

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

Van Wert needed someone to step up and make a defensive play and that someone turned out to be Maddix Crutchfield, who made his first ever start at linebacker during Friday night’s game against Ottawa-Glandorf..

With time winding down in the fourth quarter, the Titans had driven deep into Cougar territory but on 3rd and 1, the 6-1, 210 pound junior charged in and dumped quarterback Landen Jordan for a three-yard loss. One play later, a fourth down pass fell incomplete in the end zone, preserving a 32-27 victory for No. 7 Van Wert on Senior Night.

Van Wert’s Nate Jackson (20) scored four rushing touchdowns against Ottawa-Glandorf on Friday. His scoring runs came from 1, 1, 23 and 1 yard out. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

The win kept the Cougars (5-1, 4-1 WBL) in a first place tie with Wapakoneta while Ottawa-Glandorf dropped to 3-3 (3-2 WBL).

“This was his first week playing the position with Jake Fuerst and Xavier Oukley out with injuries and we knew he’d be good just because he’s such a good football player,” Van Wert head coach Keith Recker said. “He really competed tonight and he picked up so quickly at linebacker.”

Along with Crutchfield’s stop and a touchdown catch on offense, Nate Jackson had four rushing touchdowns, plus 18 carries for 100 yards and four receptions for 35 yards.

“With how they played their defense we knew throwing the ball over the top would be difficult so we needed run the ball this week and we knew Nate was going to be a huge part of that,” Recker said. “He was able to stick it in there inside the tackles on the short yardage stuff and then he has the speed to be a dangerous running back (on the outside).”

Jackson capped Van Wert’s opening drive of the game with a one-yard touchdown run at the 10:06 mark of the first quarter. After a defensive holding call and a face mask penalty on the Cougars, Jordan tied the game with an 11-yard run at the 1:37 mark.

It appeared Van Wert was in control in the second quarter after scoring three unanswered touchdowns to take a 26-7 lead. Jackson scored on a one-yard run on the first play of the quarter, then Aidan Pratt found a wide open Crutchfield for a 46-yard touchdown. After Carson Smith intercepted a Jordan pass and after a face mask penalty on the Titans, Jackson sprinted 23 yards to put the Cougars up by 19 with 1:45 left until halftime.

However, aided by a late hit penalty on Van Wert, Ottawa-Glandorf scored on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Jordan to Caleb Kuhlman with just 29 seconds left until halftime.

Trailing 26-14, the Titans scored twice in the third quarter, both on one yard touchdown runs by Ian Fenbert, to take a 27-26 lead.

Along with a key tackle late in the game, Maddix Crutchfield (11) caught a 46-yard touchdown catch against the Titans. Bob Barnes photo

Van Wert answered with a 10-play, 77-yard drive that ended with Jackson’s fourth touchdown of the night, a one-yarder with 9:56 left in the game.

The Cougars finished with 380 yards of total offense, including 241 through the air on a 13-of-17 passing performance by Aidan Pratt. Crutchfield finished with six receptions for 101 yards while Connor Pratt had three catches for 88 yards.

Jordan rushed for 105 yards on 19 carries and completed 15-of-27 passes for 164 yards, with Caleb Kuhlman finishing with six receptions for 73 yards. As a team, the Titans had 294 yards of total offense.

Van Wert will travel to Shawnee on Friday.

“They’re to be good and coach Cooper has them playing really well, so we’re going to have to be ready to go battle,” Recker said of Shawnee.

Scoring summary

First quarter

VW – Nate Jackson 1-yard run (Damon McCracken kick)
OG – Landen Jordan 11-yard run (Dylan Birkemeier kick)

Second quarter

VW – Nate Jackson 1-yard run (kick failed)
VW – Aidan Pratt 46-yard pass to Maddix Crutchfield (Damon McCracken kick)
VW – Nate Jackson 23-yard run (kick failed)
OG – Landen Jorden 22-yard pass to Caleb Kuhlman (Dylan Berkemeier kick)

Third quarter

OG – Ian Fenbert 1-yard run (kick failed)
OG – Ian Fenbert 1-yard run (Dylan Berkemeier kick)

Fourth quarter

VW – Nate Jackson 1-yard run (pass failed)

POSTED: 09/24/21 at 11:42 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports