OTTAWA — With the Western Buckeye League title on the line Friday night between Ottawa-Glandorf and Wapakoneta, the atmosphere was electric.
However, for most of the game, the two offensive units were far from being electric.
It wasn’t until the third quarter that the two teams finally got on the scoreboard.
Each team had one touchdown run as Wapakoneta came away with a 7-6 victory.
With the win, Wapakoneta (9-1, 8-1 WBL) shares the Western Buckeye League title with Kenton. Kenton (8-2, 8-1 WBL) defeated Elida 35-14 Friday night to grab its piece of the WBL crown.
O-G ends the regular season 7-3 overall and 7-2 in league play. The Titans will wait to see if they make it into the postseason. Wapakoneta has already punched its ticket for the playoffs.
“We knew, coming in, that it was going to be extremely tough for us to move the football,” Wapakoneta head football coach Travis Moyer said. “They’re very stout up front. They’re very good, defensively. And give credit to our kids. We continued to fight through it for the entire course of the game.
“I can’t say enough about the effort of our defense, tonight. They did a very good job. They (O-G) are very good, offensively, and very well-coached. We have the utmost respect for their program.”
Coming out of the locker room for the second half, Wapakoneta was ready to get it going, offensively.
Wapakoneta’s Evan Kaeck broke loose on the very first play of the second half and rambled 73 yards for pay dirt. With the extra point by Payne Harshbarger, the Redskins led 7-0.
For the game, Kaeck rushed for 179 yards on 21 carries.
O-G was able to answer Wapakoneta’s touchdown with a sustained drive on the ensuing possession.
Jarrod Beach capped off a 10-play, 68-yard O-G scoring drive with a 1-yard run. However, the extra point was no good; and that proved to be the difference in the game.
“(There were) big plays and missed opportunities,” longtime O-G head football coach Ken Schriner said. “You can’t miss an extra point. … We had a guy wide open in the end zone. … We missed a guy open on the sideline. But, what a great high school football game. … Two teams that laid it on the line. They smashed each other all night. To come away one point short is disappointing. But the way this season has been — it’s been one point here and there for us, either way. What a great battle. There’s nothing to hang our heads about. I thought our kids played their butts off.”
Both teams struggled to sustain drives in the first half.
However, the Redskins had an opportunity to get on the scoreboard in the first half as Harshbarger attempted a 35-yard field goal. However, Harshbarger’s kick went wide right.
In the first half, O-G quarterback Jacob Balbaugh was 6-of-8 passing for 53 yards. For the game, Balbaugh was 13-of-17, passing for 91 yards.
For the first half, O-G recorded 86 yards total offense. The Titans ended the night with 188 total yards.
The Redskins managed to roll up just 107 total yards in the first half. Kaeck accounted for 67 of those yards.
Moyer reflected on his team’s successful regular season.
“It’s been such a grind for us this year. We have suffered some ups and downs and our kids have continued to fight through them. I’m so proud of our entire football program,” he said.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.