ELIDA — Heading into Friday night’s Western Buckeye League football opener with visiting Ottawa-Glandorf, Elida was hoping to generate enough offense to keep O-G’s offensive unit off the field.
Elida starting quarterback, sophomore Evan Unruh, was forced to sit out with an injury Friday night. Senior Keshawn Spivey, who normally lines up as a wide receiver, took over the signal-calling duties for Elida.
Last season, Unruh was second in the WBL in total offense (2,749 yards). At this point, it is uncertain when Unruh will return for the Bulldogs.
Friday night, O-G’s defense swarmed the Elida offense and its offense ran right past Elida’s defenders as O-G rolled to a lopsided 51-7 victory at Kraft Stadium.
O-G (1-1, 1-0 WBL) jumped all over the Bulldogs (0-2, 0-1 WBL), scoring four times in the opening quarter to set the tone for the rest of the way.
By the halftime break, O-G had claimed a commanding 45-7 lead.
“Last week (21-14 loss to Eastwood) was such a disappointment for everybody involved,” longtime O-G head coach Ken Schriner said. “We came out (Friday) and proved ourselves. We realize they (Elida) have a lot of injuries and a tough situation over there.
“But I like the way our kids came out. Their attitude was great and we were physical and we did things that we wanted to do.”
The Titans made a statement right from the start as they scored on the opening drive.
The Titans covered 72 yards on four plays, capped off with a 36-yard TD pass from quarterback Jacob Balbaugh to Brennan Blevins. With the point after by Ethan Alt, O-G led 7-0, just a little more than a minute into the contest.
On Elida’s first drive of the game, O-G linebacker Jarrod Beach picked off a Spivey pass behind the line of scrimmage and returned it to O-G’s 9-yard line.
Four plays later, Alt kicked a 20-yard field goal to give the Titans a quick 10-0 lead.
The spiral was just beginning for Elida.
After a muffed punt on Elida’s ensuing possession, O-G got the ball back on its 25-yard line.
With 5:08 left to play in the first quarter, Balbaugh found Jarrod Beach open in the left corner of the end zone for a TD pass to extend the O-G lead to 17-0.
After a blocked Elida punt on the Bulldogs’ next possession, O-G got the ball back on its 37-yard line. Balbaugh wasted no time in finding Blevins down the left
sideline for a 37-yard scoring strike to extend the O-G advantage to 24-0, which held up until the end of the first quarter.
Elida finally got on the scoreboard, seconds into the second quarter, on a 2-yard run by Marcel Poe (14 carries, 33 yards). With the point after by Alec Ewing, the Titans’ lead was 24-7. The Elida scoring drive was set up by a 39-yard run by Spivey.
Spivey ended the night completing 6 of 15 passes for 33 yards and had three interceptions. He rushed for 48 yards on 13 carries.
However, that scoring drive proved to be the only bright spot for Elida for the rest of the night.
O-G came back strong after the Elida TD.
Balbaugh threw another TD pass, with 7:44 left in the second quarter. This time, Balbaugh connected with Recker for an 8-yard scoring strike. With the extra point, O-G’s lead ballooned to 31-7.
A little later, Balbaugh found Blevins open for a 36-yard TD pass, which pushed the O-G lead to 38-7, with a little more than three minutes left to play in the first half.
The Titans put the exclamation point on a dominating first half, when Balbaugh connected with Beach for a 21-yard scoring strike, that pushed the lead to 38 points by the break.
In the first half, Balbaugh was 9-of-10 passing for 210 yards and six TD passes.
For the game, Balbaugh was 10-of-11 passing for 231 yards.
In the second half, the game was played with a running clock. The Ohio High School Athletic Association’s rules state that when a team leads by at least 30 points in the second half, there will be a continuous clock.
That rule did slow the O-G offense down, but did not totally stop it.
With 1:26 left in the third quarter, Balbaugh scored a different way – this time, a 13-yard scamper to the end zone. That TD run was the final time O-G made it into the end zone the rest of the night.
The Titans ran the football well Friday night, amassing 179 yards on the ground. Clayton Recker led O-G with 76 rushing yards.
“It was an awful week of practice,” Elida head coach Bill Speller said. “We have so many injured players right now. We were practicing with 30 players, basically all week. … We just couldn’t get a good look. We’re really fighting the injury bug right now.”
Schriner was pleased at the way his team came out and played after losing its opening game last Friday.
“That’s what we expect,” Schriner said. “It’s a growth in progress. We want to see the biggest improvement between game one and game two. I think anyone who
saw it, would think this was a big improvement between game one and game two.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.