The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Jan. 17, 2022

Pratt puts on a show in win over Elida

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

ELIDA — Aidan Pratt accounted for five touchdowns and No. 7 Van Wert rolled by Elida 41-7 on Friday night, putting the Cougars in a position to clinch at least a share of the Western Buckeye League championship next week.

The junior quarterback completed 22-of-28 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns, including 5-of-7 for 199 yards and all three scores in the second half. He also ran 11 times for 92 yards and a touchdown.

Aidan Pratt threw three touchdown passes, ran for a score and returned an interception for a touchdown during Friday’s win over Elida. Photo courtesy of Jerry Mason

Van Wert wasted no time getting on the board. After Elida deferred the opening kickoff, the Cougars drove 64 yards in 10 plays and scored on a seven yard run by Nate Jackson, followed by the first of five Damon McCracken PATs.

Elida’s first possession ended when Pratt intercepted Jackson Covault and raced 55 yards for a touchdown, giving Van Wert a 14-0 lead with 7:53 left in the first quarter.

Elida’s next possession ended on downs and after the two teams traded punts, Pratt ran nine yards for a touchdown with 11:42 left until halftime. Van Wert’s next drive ended with a missed 30-yard field goal attempt and neither team threatened for the remainder of the quarter.

Big plays were the name of the game for the Cougars in the second half.

Pratt tossed touchdown passes of 35 yards to Connor Pratt and 28 yards to Brylen Parker in the third quarter, which triggered the continuous clock rule for the remainder of the game. He also flipped a short fourth quarter pass to Garett Gunter who outraced the Elida secondary for a 72 yard score in the fourth quarter.

“We were just taking what they gave us,” Van Wert head coach Keith Recker said. “In the first half we were really happy with how our running game got going and I was happy with how we blocked our screens. That opened the deep stuff for us in the second half.”

Connor Pratt finished with seven receptions for 128 yards while Garett Gunter had three catches for 104 yards.

As a team, the Cougars finished the game with 467 yards of total offense, compared to 275 for the Bulldogs (4-5, 3-5 WBL). Elida’s only touchdown came on an 18-yard touchdown run by Jayden Jones with 4:40 left in the game. Jones finished with five carries for 43 yards, while Brady Kirk had 17 carries for 47 yards.

Covault completed 17-of-24 passes for 176 yards, including nine to Jayden Irons for 95 yards.

Recker lauded the play of his defensive line, especially defensive tackle Turner Witten.

“Tonight felt like the first time we really got good pressure on the quarterback and Turner’s just so good that,” Recker said. “He’s able to get off blocks and beat blocks and he has the athleticism to get where he needs to go.”

Van Wert will host Bath in the regular season finale on Friday and a Cougar win would mean at least a share of the WBL championship. If Wapakoneta defeats Defiance, the Redskins would also claim a title share.

Scoring summary

First quarter

9:15 – Nate Jackson 7-yard run (Damon McCracken kick) 7-0 VW
7:53 – Aidan Pratt 55-yard INT return (McCracken kick) 14-0 VW

Second quarter

11:42 – Aidan Pratt 9-yard run (kick blocked) 20-0 VW

Third quarter

8:28 – Aidan Pratt 35-yard pass to Connor Pratt (McCracken kick) 27-0 VW
5:07 – Aidan Pratt 28-yard pass to Brylen Parker (McCracken kick) 34-0 VW

Fourth quarter

8:07 – Aidan Pratt 72-yard pass to Garett Gunter (McCracken kick) 41-0 VW
4:40 – Jaylen Jones 18-yard run (Grant Hardeman kick) 41-7

POSTED: 10/15/21 at 11:38 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports