The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Jan. 17, 2022

Friday Flashback: VW falls in shootout

Note: This week’s Friday Flashback goes back to Week No. 6 of the 2015 high school football weason, when Van Wert and Elida traded scores in a high-scoring shootout. Below is the story as it appeared on the VW independent Sports page.

DAVE MOSIER/independent sports

ELIDA — As it has most of the reason, Van Wert showed it has the ability to score points, but penalties and the inability of the Cougar defense to stop Elida’s run game led to a 38-34 Western Buckeye League victory for the Bulldogs. Both teams are now 3-3 overall and 2-3 in the WBL.

Van Wert quarterback Colin Smith (8) goes high up over the defense in Friday's game against Elida. The Bulldogs won 38-34. (Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent)
Van Wert quarterback Colin Smith (8) goes high up over the defense in Friday’s game against Elida. The Bulldogs won 38-34. (Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent)

The Bulldogs scored first when Cole Harmon led Elida down the field and then ran the ball into the end zone from the Van Wert 16-yard-line for a score. Nathan Stewart kicked the point-after — the first of five PATs — and the Bulldogs were up 7-0.

The Cougars returned the favor in the second quarter, when quarterback Colin Smith scored from the Bulldog 8-yard-line with 8 minutes left in the first half. The PAT kick failed, though, and Elida led 7-6.

The Bulldogs scored next on a 45-yard run by Harmon with 6:20 remaining in the second quarter. Stewart kicked the PAT and Elida was up 14-6.

The Cougars took less than half a minute to respond, as Smith broke away from the Elida “D” and scampered 94 yards for Van Wert’s next TD with 5:55 remaining in the half. Gavin Gardner kicked the point-after and the Cougars trailed by a point, 14-13.

Elida had the last two scores of the first quarter when Logan Alexander ran 8 yards for the final score of the first half and then added a 3-yard rushing TD with 15 seconds left on the first-half clock. Stewart kicked the PAT for both scores and the Bulldogs took a 15-point lead, 28-13, into the locker room.

The Cougars came out motivated in the second half, scoring twice in the third quarter to tie the game up, while holding Elida scoreless.

The first TD came on an 82-yard kick-off return by Jacoby Kelly with just 16 seconds gone in the third quarter. Smith then hit Justice Tussing for the two-point conversion and the Cougars were down by a touchdown, 28-21.

After a failed Elida drive, Van Wert scored again five minutes later when Smith hit Ryan Stoller for a five-yard scoring strike with 6:43 remaining in the third quarter. Gardner again kicked the PAT and it was all tied up at 28-all heading into the fourth quarter.

Elida wasn’t done yet, though. Harmon led a drive that culminated in a 26-yard scoring run with 9:45 remaining in the fourth quarter. Stewart kicked the PAT and the Bulldogs were again up by a touchdown, 35-28.

After the next Cougar drive stalled, Elida again took over and drove down the field to the Van Wert 40, where Stewart again proved his worth with a field goal with 1:38 remaining to give the Bulldogs a 10-point lead, 38-28.

The Cougars scored one more time when Smith hit Stoller on a 30-yard touchdown play, but the PAT was no good and that’s how it ended at 38-34.

Van Wert had 288 yards of total offense, while the Bulldogs compiled 428 yards, 305 of those on the ground. Alexander was effective through the air, hitting 6 of 8 passes for 123 yards, while Smith was 3 of 9 for 39 yards, a touchdown and one interception.

As usual, Smith was Van Wert’s leading rusher, with 123 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries. Tussing carried 13 times for 106 yards.

Alexander and Harmon both had 147 yards, Alexander on 31 carries and Harmon on 29. The Bulldog quarterback scored four rushing touchdowns, while Harmon had two TDs.

Ryan Upshaw was Elida’s top receiver with 68 yards on two catches, while Stoller caught two passes for the Cougars for 39 yards and a TD.

Holding penalties were the bane of Van Wert, which was penalized 10 times for 94 yards in the game. Elida had six penalties for 65 yards. The Cougars also fumbled once and lost it.

Van Wert will celebrate Homecoming this week with a game against Lima Bath on Friday. Bath showed its mettle on Friday when it upset previously unbeaten St. Marys 28-7. The Wildcats are also 3-3 overall and 2-3 in the WBL. Wapakoneta (6-0, 5-0 WBL) now leads the league after defeating the other 4-0 team, Celina, on Friday.

POSTED: 10/15/21 at 3:53 am. FILED UNDER: Sports