COLUMBUS GROVE – After bumping off Crestview last week to garner a big victory, Columbus Grove coach Andy Schafer was hoping his team did not have a letdown against Ada this week.
The opposite happened, when the hometown Bulldogs unloaded on the visiting Bulldogs, 56-7, to pick up a big Northwest Conference win Friday night.
Columbus Grove improves to 4-2 overall and remains unbeaten in the NWC with a 3-0 mark. Ada falls to 2-4 and 1-2 in conference play.
“I don’t think we played our best at the beginning of the game, but the nice thing is we woke up,” Schafer said. “We did some things a little different tonight. We wanted to stretch Ada out a little bit, and we thought we could do that.”
Schafer added that it really is not their game to pass as much, but it proved to be effective. Big plays highlighted Columbus Grove’s impressive offensive output.
Columbus Grove signal caller Blake Reynolds provided the arm and the legs to produce a number of those big plays. The quarterback was 8 of 19 for 250 yards with two touchdown passes, and he ran for three scores on runs of 37, 27 and 26 yards. For the night, Reynolds rushed six times for 106 yards.
Schafer was encouraged by the fact that Reynolds spread the ball around to a number of receivers. Trevor Taylor had the biggest night, catching three balls for 129 yards and three touchdowns. Caleb Barrientes hauled in two catches for 59 yards, and Gabe Clement had a 50-yard touchdown grab and finished with two catches for 69 yards.
“That was huge for us to be able to throw the deep ball and complete it and get some yards,” Schafer said. “I thought our receivers did a heck of a job after they caught the ball.”
Not to be overlooked was the defense that nearly pitched the shutout. The hometown Bulldogs applied constant pressure to Ada quarterback Phillip Coulson and recorded five sacks and three turnovers.
“He (Coulson) is a heck of an athlete, so we wanted to force him to look at our guys and not his,” Schafer said. “I saw some guys open on their side, but because of our pressure he wasn’t really able to see them.”
Columbus Grove held Ada to 133 total yards.
Ada coach Shawn Christopher said he was disappointed with his team’s effort after Columbus Grove racked up the quick scores at the end of the first quarter and throughout the second quarter.
“We battled with them and played hard the first eight minutes, and it was a good game. Then they made a play, and our guys did not respond very well,” Christopher said. “The effort went down, and that was all she wrote.”
The hometown Bulldogs went from zero to 21 points in a little more than five minutes to spark a Columbus Grove offense that had gotten off to a slow start.
With the scoreless first quarter winding down, Columbus Grove’s Reynolds hooked up with Taylor on a 73-yard strike for the team’s first score. After the successful extra point, Columbus Grove led 7-0 with 1:18 left in the game.
It would be less than two minutes later that Columbus Grove was celebrating its second touchdown, when Garrett Nemire scampered in from 9 yards for paydirt to cap off a swift two-play drive. Nemire’s touchdown was set up when Reynolds and Barrientes combined for a 52-yard completion. After the successful extra point, Columbus Grove led 14-0 at the 11:52 mark of the second quarter.
After a pick-off by Columbus Grove, it took one play for the hometown Bulldogs to score their third score, when Reynolds heaved a pass to Clement, who outjumped the Ada defender and then raced in to complete the 50-yard play. With 9:13 left in the first half, Columbus Grove led 21-0 after the successful extra point.
The big plays did not stop there. A little more than two minutes later, Reynolds, who had already thrown two touchdowns, did it on the ground when he went on a 37-yard jaunt for six points.
Reynolds added another running score prior to the end of the half, when he ran one in from 27 yards out.
Ada avoided the shutout when quarterback Coulson found Zac Swaney in the end zone on a 27-yard passing play.