The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Dec. 5, 2022

No. 1 Glenville ends Van Wert’s season

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

TIFFIN — No. 6 Van Wert traded blows with No. 1 Glenville all night but came up short in the Division IV Region 14 championship game on Saturday.

Behind 284 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 31 carries by D’Shawntae Jones, the Tarblooders shook off five turnovers and defeated the Cougars 42-33 on snow covered turf at Frost-Kalnow Stadium. However, the final score doesn’t show just how close the game really was.

Trailing 34-27 with 5:55 left in the fourth quarter, Van Wert recovered a Glenville fumble at the Cougar five yard line, then drove 95 yards in 19 plays and scored on a three yard touchdown pass from Aidan Pratt to Nate Phillips with 2:01 left in the game. The drive featured a 15-yard run by Pratt on fourth and one, a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct call on Glenville and an offside call on the Tarblooders at the Glenville five.

Aidan Pratt launches one of 40 passes thrown against Glenville. Bob Barnes photos

“For them to put together that type of drive vs. a defense with that caliber of players I think says a lot about all the intangibles that our guys have,” Van Wert head coach Keith Recker said.

After the touchdown, the Cougars lined up for the two-point conversion and the lead, but the pass was incomplete.

“We talked to every guy on the staff and they were all in agreement, let’s win it now, let’s not get into a 20-yard battle with them especially with the way they had been running the ball,” Recker said. “When you have Aidan throwing to Maddix (Crutchfield) more times than not it’s going to work out in our favor…those guys have made so many plays for us over the years and they’ll be remembered for much more than just that (two-point attempt). They’re two great guys that gave us a chance to be in that position.”

Van Wert attempted an onside kick but Glenville recovered, then iced the game with a 35-yard touchdown run by Jones and a two-point conversion pass from Deonte Rucker to Damarion Witten.

Shortly before game time, a snow squall hit the stadium and coated the field with snow and ice, which at times made footing treacherous and made it nearly difficult to see exactly where the ball was on the field.

“I think it played into our hands,” Recker said. “We’ve been out there all week in that and it added excited to our guys and really gave them some more adrenaline. I think it helped us overall.”

Glenville struck first when Shawn Williams raced into the end zone on a five-yard reverse with 5:09 left in the first quarter, giving the Tarblooders a 6-0 lead.

The Cougars answered with a 31-yard touchdown pass from Pratt to Conner Campbell on the very next drive and Damon McCracken added the extra point. Glenville responded with a 12-yard touchdown burst up the middle by Jones but the Cougars answered again, this time with a 1-yard touchdown run by Pratt on a drive that featured a 32-yard pass to Garett Gunter. After a Glenville fumble, Pratt hit Phillips for a 35-yard gain then Pratt scored again on a 1-yard run, giving Van Wert a 21-12 lead with 7:44 left in the second quarter.

“This team was fundamentally sound,” Glenville head coach Ted Ginn Sr. said of the Cougars. “They were strong, coached well and probably the toughest team we’ve played.”

On Glenville’s next drive, Carson Smith intercepted Rucker in the end zone but the Tarblooders forced a punt and from there, the Associated Press poll champions capped off a drive with a 22-yard run by Jones, a 6-0, 240 pound junior, who also added a two-point conversion to make it 21-20 at halftime.

After receiving the second half kickoff, the Tarblooders took the lead on a 62-yard touchdown sprint by Jones. Later in the quarter, after Glenville lost another fumble, Pratt found Brylen Parker for a 27-yard touchdown pass, but the PAT was no good. The two teams traded turnovers after that, then Jones scored on a 6-yard run with 29 seconds left in the third quarter, but the two-point conversion failed, leaving Van Wert down 34-27 entering the fourth quarter.

Rucker completed 14-of-18 passes for 145 yards, while Pratt connected on 21-of-40 passes for 255 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He also rushed for 62 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. Phillips had five receptions for 85 yards and a score, and Crutchfield finished with nine catches for 47 yards.

The Cougars, who played in their third straight regional finals game, finished 12-2. Glenville (13-0) will face Beloit West Branch in the state semifinals.

Damon McCracken (23) stops the Tarblooders on this play.

Scoring summary

Glenville 6 14 14 8 – 42
Van Wert 7 14 6 6 – 33

First quarter

5:09 (G): Shawn Williams 5-yard run (kick failed)
2:05 (VW): Aidan Pratt 31-yard pass to Conner Campbell (Damon McCracken kick)

Second quarter

11:30 (G): D’Shawntae Jones 12-yard run (run failed)
8:33 (VW): Aidan Pratt 1-yard run (Damon McCracken kick)
7:44 (VW): Aidan Pratt 1-yard run (Damon McCracken kick)
1:24 (G): D’Shawntae Jones 22-yard run (Deonte Rucker to Damarion Witten pass)

Third quarter

10:46 (G): D’Shawntae Jones 62-yard run (Deonte Rucker to Damarion Witten pass)
8:27 (VW): Aidan Pratt 27-yard pass to Brylen Parker (kick failed)
0:29 (G): D’Shawntae Jones 6-yard run (run failed)

Fourth quarter

2:01 (VW) Aidan Pratt 3-yard pass to Nate Phillips (pass failed)
1:26 (G): D’Shawntae Jones 35-yard run (Deonte Rucker to Damarion Witten pass)

POSTED: 11/20/22 at 1:36 am. FILED UNDER: Sports