The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022

Cougars roll to 63-20 homecoming win

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

Nate Jackson scored three touchdowns and Van Wert celebrated homecoming by cruising to a 63-20 win over Kenton, keeping the Cougars (7-1, 6-1 WBL) in a first place tie with Wapakoneta with two games left to go.

“I think our guys really approached this game very well and made sure they came and took care of business,” Van Wert head coach Keith Recker said.

Van Wert defensive tackle Turner Witten makes a diving interception during the first quarter of Friday’s game against Kenton. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

Jackson’s 42-yard run and the first of seven Damon McCracken extra points put Van Wert on top 7-0 with 9:45 left to go in the first quarter, then after a interception by Connor Pratt, Aidan Pratt capped off a six-play, 61-yard drive with a two yard run. Turner Witten intercepted Korbin Johnston on the ensuing drive and two plays later, Bryan Parker scored on an 18-yard run to put the Cougars ahead 21-0.

“We have not done a great job of creating turnovers this year so to get those was huge for our defense,” Recker said. “It was a great play by Connor then watching a fabulous play by Turner – he just made a great play by diving for the ball.”

“I thought our defensive line did a nice job of knocking down balls tonight,” Recker added.

Jackson scored again on a one-yard run at the 3:12 mark and Van Wert held a commanding 28-0 lead at the end of the period, then the senior running back added his third score on a 15-yard pass from Pratt with 9:15 left in the second quarter. Jackson finished with 10 carries for 78 yards and two receptions for 25 yards.

Garrett Campbell put the Wildcats (0-8, 0-7 WBL) on the board with a 42-yard scoring sprint on the next drive but Van Wert answered with two more touchdowns before halftime – a one yard run by Parker and a two yard run by Aidan Pratt.

The entire second half was played with a continuous clock and each team added a pair of touchdowns. Campbell scored on a 62-yard run in the third quarter and Johnston tossed a 10-yard pass to Tyson Lawrence in the fourth quarter. Campbell had 12 carries for 162 yards.

Both of Van Wert’s remaining touchdowns came in the fourth quarter – a 30-yard pass from Carson Smith to Luke Wessell and a 61-yard run by Keldyn Bill.

The Cougars finished with 594 yards of total offense, including 294 through the air and 245 on the ground. Pratt was 16-of-26 for 199 yards, with Connor Pratt pulling in eight passes for 72 yards. Carson Smith completed all seven of his pass attempts for 91 yards.

The Wildcats finished with 120 yards on the ground and 81 through the air.

Van Wert will play at Elida on Friday.

“They’ll get into some empty and different formations with motion, similar to what Wapak did that caused us some problems, so that’s our biggest worry,” Recker said. “Offensively we just need to continue what we’re doing. We’re playing real well offensively and I’m really pleased with that side of the ball.”

Scoring summary

First quarter

Nate Jackson 42-yard run (Damon McCracken kick)
Aidan Pratt 2-yard run (Damon McCracken kick)
Brylen Parker 18-yard run (Damon McCracken kick)
Nate Jackson 1-yard run (Damon McCracken kick)

Second quarter

Aidan Pratt 15-yard pass to Nate Jackson (Damon McCracken kick)
Garrett Campbell 42-yard run (kick blocked)
Brylen Parker 1-yard run (Damon McCracken kick)
Aidan Pratt 2-yard run (Damon McCracken kick)

Third quarter

Garrett Campbell 62-yard run (Parker Rarey kick)

Fourth quarter

Carson Smith 30-yard pass to Luke Wessell (run failed)
Korbin Johnson 10-yard pass to Tyson Lawrence (Parker Rarey kick)
Keldyn Bill 61-yard run (Keldyn Bill run)

POSTED: 10/09/21 at 12:05 am. FILED UNDER: Sports