The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022

Friday Flashback: VW edged by Bath

Note: This week’s installment of the Friday Flashback dates back to Week No. 7 of the high school football season when Van Wert and Bath squared off at Eggerss Stadium. Below is the story as it appeared on the VW independent Sports page.

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Bath pounded it out on the ground and its vaunted rushing defense — best in the Western Buckeye League — kept the Cougars from establishing much of a running game as the Wildcats downed Van Wert 21-14 to spoil the Cougars’ Homecoming.

Van Wert's Josh Braun (18) finds a hole through the Bath defense during Friday's Homecoming contest won by the Wildcats, 21-14. (Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent)
Van Wert’s Josh Braun (18) finds a hole through the Bath defense during Friday’s Homecoming contest won by the Wildcats, 21-14. (Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent)

The loss also increased the frustration of a good Van Wert team, whose four losses this year have all been by a touchdown or less, with two losses by just a point.

The Cougars had trouble stopping Bath’s running attack, which led to all but seven of the Wildcats’ 267 total yards of offense. On the other side of the ball, the Bath defense held Van Wert to just 78 rushing yards, although the Cougars had 148 yards through the air, but quarterback Colin Smith also threw three picks, with the final interception ending a Cougar drive that was 14 yards away from the Wildcat end zone with time running out.

Bath scored first when Bo Gross bulled his way in from the Cougar 1-yard line with 2:50 remaining in the first quarter. Garrett Norton kicked the point-after and the Wildcats led 7-0.

Van Wert evened the score with 2:14 remaining in the first half when Justice Tussing also scored from a yard out for the Cougars. Gavin Gardner kicked the PAT for a 7-7 tie.

Both teams scored in the third quarter, with Bath’s TD coming on a 3-yard run by Gross. The PAT attempt failed and the Wildcats were up by six, 13-7, with 3:44 left in the third quarter.

The Cougar took little time responding, as quarterback Colin Smith broke a couple of tackles en route to a 37-yard TD run with 2:54 left in the third quarter. Gardner kicked the point-after and Van Wert took its only lead of the night, 14-13.

The Wildcats scored the winning touchdown with 5:53 remaining in the game when Kaden Sullivan ran 6-yard to paydirt. Tre Terry ran for the two-point PAT to make the score 21-14.

The Cougars had their scoring chances, with Gardner narrowly missing a 34-yard field goal earlier in the game, while Smith’s interception ended Van Wert’s last chance to even things late in the fourth quarter.

Sullivan was the big offensive gun for the Wildcats, running for 124 yards and a touchdown on 34 carries. Tussing was the Cougars’ rushing leader with 38 yards and a TD on 12 carries, while Smith ran for 37 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Ryan Stoller caught six passes for 74 yards for Van Wert.

With the loss, the Cougars are now 3-4 overall and 2-4 in the WBL. Bath is now 3-3 in league play and 4-3 overall.

Van Wert will travel to Celina this coming Friday to see whether a very capable Cougar team can overcome its late-game jitters and beat a WBL squad with a winning record. The Bulldogs are 5-1 in league play and 5-2 overall.

POSTED: 10/22/21 at 5:03 am. FILED UNDER: Sports