The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022

Cougars start fast, hammer Clyde 48-14

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

NAPOLEON — As they’ve done so often this season, the Van Wert Cougars set the tone early in the game.

No. 3 seed Van Wert took a 14-0 lead by scoring twice in the opening quarter and the Cougars went on to enjoy a 48-14 win over second-seeded Clyde in the Division IV Region 14 semifinals at Napoleon’s Buckenmeyer Stadium on Friday night.

Van Wert’s Nate Jackson runs through Clyde defenders during Friday night’s Divison IV Region 14 semifinal game. Photo courtesy of Jerry Mason

The win means Van Wert (12-1) will play No. 4 seed Port Clinton (12-1) in Friday’s regional championship game. The site will be announced on Sunday.

Clyde (10-3) deferred the opening kickoff and Van Wert drove 63 yards in seven plays and scored on a seven yard run by Aidan Pratt, followed by the first of six Damon McCracken extra points.

Later in the quarter, after stopping Clyde on downs at the Van Wert 22, the Cougars went 78 yards in eight plays and scored on Nate Jackson’s one-yard touchdown run to make it 14-0. The short plunge was set up by a 26-yard completion from Pratt to Trey Laudick on the previous play.

“Getting that lead was big just because of the success they had running the ball last week and when you have a lead like we did it makes it difficult to try to be patient and run the ball,” Van Wert head coach Keith Recker said. “We done a nice job all year of getting some scores early and I think it was a big factor tonight.”

“We didn’t make enough of our own breaks,” Clyde head coach Ryan Carter said. “We didn’t make enough of our own plays.”

Laudick ended Clyde’s next drive, 14 plays, by intercepting Jaden Cook’s pass in the end zone and racing back to the 48 yard line, then the Cougars put together a 13-play drive that was capped off by Pratt’s two-yard dart to Connor Pratt on fourth down, making it 21-0, a score that stood at halftime.

“Trey has continued to get better from midseason on,” Recker said. “He’s been doing a great job and had a big play with that interception and then he played really well offensively. All around he’s becoming a big part of what we’re doing.”

The Fliers were forced to punt on their first possession of the second half and the Cougars turned it over on downs before forcing another Clyde punt. From there, Pratt led Van Wert led a 63-yard drive that culminated with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Maddix Crutchfield.

“Aidan knew exactly where he wanted to go with it and put it right on the money,” Recker said.

Clyde answered with a four-yard touchdown run by Mike Daniels with 57 seconds left in the third quarter, but Van Wert scored on the first play of the fourth quarter when Pratt sprinted 42 yards for a touchdown and a 34-7 lead.

The Fliers followed up with a six-yard scoring run by Daniels less than a minute later but the Cougars scored the final two touchdowns of the game – a three-yard run by Jackson and a 39-yard run by Brylen Parker that led to the final 4:20 being played with a continuous clock.

Pratt led Van Wert with 28 carries for 140 yards and two scores while completing 25-of-33 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns. Nate Jackson added 49 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries and Maddix Crutchfield finished with 11 receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown. As a team, the Cougars rolled up 418 yards of offense.

Cook completed 22-of-46 passes for 218 yards and one interception. 10 of his completions went to Brady Wilson for 103 yards. Daniels logged 16 carries for 76 yards and two touchdowns and the Fliers finished with 312 yards of total offense.

Meanwhile, Port Clinton held off Perkins 19-14 to advance to Friday’s regional championship game against the Cougars.

“After the game with them last year we knew they were a pretty good team,” Recker said of the Redskins. “They were playing a lot of juniors and sophomores last year so we’re not surprised at all that they’re back and I’m sure they’re going to be hungry to get one back on us.”

Scoring summary

First quarter

10:14 VW – Aidan Pratt 7-yard run (Damon McCracken kick) 7-0
1:40 VW – Nate Jackson 1-yard run (Damon McCracken kick) 14-0

Second quarter

5:10 VW – Aidan Pratt 2-yard pass to Connor Pratt (Damon McCracken kick) 21-0

Third quarter

2:49 VW – Aidan Pratt 9-yard pass to Maddix Crutchfield (Damon McCracken kick) 28-0
:57 C – Mike Daniels 4-yard run (Macoy Dickman kick) 28-7

Fourth quarter

11:51 VW – Aidan Pratt 42-yard run (kick failed) 34-7
10:57 C – Mike Daniels 6-yard run (Macoy Dickman kick) 34-14
6:10 VW – Nate Jackson 3-yard run (Damon McCracken kick) 41-14
4:20 VW – Brylen Parker 39-yard run (Damon McCracken kick) 48-14

POSTED: 11/13/21 at 1:57 am. FILED UNDER: Sports