The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022

Jackson scores four times, VW wins big

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

Facing a dangerous and explosive Wauseon team, Van Wert excelled in all three phases of the game on Friday night.

The offensive line paved the way for four Nate Jackson touchdowns. Aidan Pratt tossed three touchdown passes, two to Maddix Crutchfield. The defense forced four Wauseon turnovers and special teams held Wauseon’s return teams at bay. When it was all over, the third-seeded Cougars pulled away for a 53-20 win over the No. 11 seed Indians in the Division IV Region 14 quarterfinals.

With Turner Witten (76) serving as an escort, Van Wert’s Nate Jackson takes off on a long run against Wauseon on Friday night. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

Jackson scored twice in the first quarter, both on three yard runs to give Van Wert a 14-0 lead, with the second score coming after a Ty Jackson fumble recovery.

After Wauseon’s Jonas Tester scored on a 17-yard run out of the wildcat formation to make it 14-7, Pratt connected with Crutchfield for two second quarter scores, a eight-yarder and a 34-yarder, both on shovel passes. The latter put the Cougars ahead 28-7.

“That was big,” Van Wert head coach Keith Recker said. “It was nice getting him going on those shovel passes. Any way we can get him the ball is a good way with the way he can break tackles. To get up 28-7 on these guys and make them play from behind was huge.”

Wauseon (8-4) trimmed it to 28-13 on a five yard run by Logan Carroll and the Indians had driven deep into Cougar territory again, only to be stopped by Trey Laudick’s interception in the end zone.

“That was a big stop,” Recker said. “They were getting the ball after halftime too so to get that stop – it really gave us momentum going into halftime even though it was still a 15-point game.”

After the defense forced Wauseon into a three-and-out to start the second half, the Cougars moved 65 yards in seven plays and scored on a 32-yard run by Jackson, who broke three tackles and sprinted away from defenders to make it 34-13.

Wauseson answered with a three-yard touchdown run by Tester but it was the final score of the night by the Indians.

Pratt fired a 22-yard touchdown pass to Connor Pratt with 2:49 left in the third period, then the Cougars iced the game with fourth quarter interceptions by Brylen Parker and Carson Smith and two scores – a 13-yard run by Jackson and a 50-yard sprint by Parker.

Jackson finished with 25 carries for 138 yards and four touchdowns, while Pratt ran for 61 yards on seven carries and completed 21-of-29 passes for 226 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Garett Gunter had six receptions for 71 yards, followed by Connor Pratt (6-65, touchdown) and Crutchfield (5-65, two touchdowns). As a team, the Cougars finished with 481 yards of total offense.

By comparison, Wauseon finished with 362 total yards. McLeod, who threw six touchdown passes in the win over Triway, had none against Van Wert. He completed 22-of-38 passes for 214 yards and three interceptions. Sam Smith had five receptions for 67 yards while Tester had five catches for 60 yards. Carroll led the ground game with 92 yards on just four carries, including a 68-yard run.

Maddix Crutchfield heads to the end zone after catching a 34-yard pass from Aidan Pratt. Crutchfield scored twice against Wauseson. Bob Barnes photo

Van Wert (11-1) will face Clyde in Friday’s regional semifinals at a site to be announced on Sunday. The Fliers (10-2) advanced with a 42-35 double overtime win over Shelby.

Scoring summary

First quarter

VW 10:12 – Nate Jackson 3-yard run (Damon McCracken kick) 7-0 VW
VW 5:08 – Nate Jackson 3-yard run (Damon McCracken kick) 14-0 VW
W 1:57 – Jonas Tester 17-yard run (Tyson Rodriguez kick) 14-7 VW

Second quarter

VW 9:55 – Aidan Pratt 8-yard pass to Maddix Crutchfield (Damon McCracken kick) 21-7 VW
VW 5:01 – Aidan Pratt 34-yard pass to Maddix Crutchfield (Damon McCracken kick) 28-7 VW
W 3:12 – Logan Carroll 5-yard run (kick failed) 28-13 VW

Third quarter

VW 8:28 – Nate Jackson 32-yard run (kick failed) 34-13 VW
W 4:39 – Jonas Tester 3-yard run (Tyson Rodriguez kick) 34-20 VW
VW 2:49 – Aidan Pratt 22-yard pass to Connor Pratt (kick failed) 40-20 VW

Fourth quarter

VW 7:04 – Nate Jackson 13-yard run (Damon McCracken kick) 47-20 VW
VW 1:56 – Brylen Parker 50-yard run (kick failed) 53-20 VW

POSTED: 11/05/21 at 11:14 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports