PIQUA — It may be week 12 of the high school season but Wapakoneta’s Evan Kaeck was running in midseason form after the Redskins’ burly back bulled his way to 220 yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries to help Wapakoneta beat Columbus Bishop Fenwick 27-17 in a Division III, Region 12 semifinal Friday night.
Wapakoneta improves to 11-1 on the season and will face Kettering Alter on Friday night at a yet to be announced site. Alter beat Badin, 13-0. Fenwick ends its year at 9-3.
“We knew it was going to be a tough, physical football game,” Redskin head coach Travis Moyer said. “Credit those guys up front all night long. I thought we made things happen and made big plays when we needed to tonight.”,
It was a see-saw game in the first half as both teams traded touchdowns and at halftime the Redskins held a 17-14 advantage.
But in the second half, thanks to the legs of a Kaeck and some defensive adjustment’s Wapakoneta outscored the Falcons 10-3 in the final two periods.
By feeding Kaeck a steady dose of handoffs, Wapakoneta manufactured three big clock-chewing sustained drives in the second half that kept Fenwick’s potent offense off the field and helped wear down the Falcon defenders.
In the second half, Wapakoneta put two clock-chewing sustained drives of 76 and 48 yards that led to scores. The first drive was capped off by a 5-yard run by Kaeck and the second was finished off when Luke Beach, fast becoming a playoff favorite, hit a 20-yard field goal with 3:16 left in the game to pretty much secure the win.
“He (Kaeck) is a physical football player and a physical runner and I can’t say enough about his effort tonight,” Moyer said. “They really took our outside game away and it open things up for him.”
Moyer added that Kaeck was instrumental in the win but it was a total offensive effort but gave credit his team for coming up with clutch plays to keep drives going.
One of the most important came on the go-ahead touchdown drive. After marching down to the Fenwick 24, Wapakoneta faced a fourth and nine. Not panicking, Redskin signal caller Brady Erb found a kneeling Reed Merricle at the 10-yard line for the crucial first down. Two plays later Wapakoneta was celebrating what would turn out to be the winning touchdown with 23 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Defensively, Wapakoneta had trouble stopping Fenwick in the first half but in the second half, the Redskins, who switched to three-down lineman, effectively stopped the Falcons from soaring like they did in the first half.
Like last week, the opportunistic Wapakoneta defense forced two interceptions that led to points.
“It was kind of back and forth there for a while and we knew coming in their offense was extremely talented and they have the ability to run and pass the ball and put you in a tough position and credit our coaches for making adjustments and our kids for stepping up and making those plays when they needed to,” Moyer said.
Falcon quarterback Sully Janeck was 7 of 12 for 92 yards with one interception in the first half and in the second half was 1 of 6 with one interception.
Falcon running back Jack Fessler was the consistent bright spot after the talented tailback rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.