OTTAWA — Ottawa-Glandorf’s Jeramy Hermiller didn’t score the Titans’ lone goal. No that honor went to Blaize Heuerman. But the junior gets a lot of credit for setting it up and that helped propel O-G past Putnam County rival Kalida, 1-0, in the season opener for both teams Friday night.
The Titans, who had been applying pressure on the Wildcat defense throughout the first half, finally broke through with over a little more than a minute left before halftime.
The score came when a ball that seemingly appeared to be going out of bounds in the right corner was salvaged by Hermiller who put it back in play and passed it towards the center where an awaiting Heuerman flicked it past Kalida keeper E.J. Miller for the score.
The Titans’ lone goal would stand even though Kalida, which slowly began to find its flow, could not break through the Ottawa-Glandorf defense.
“Hermie really worked hard for that ball and he went after it,” O-G head coach Kyle Metzger said. “He has been a very crafty player and is really smart with the ball. He found the opportunity and got that cross in.”
Metzger added he was happy to get the win and wanted to be on the attack with the more experienced squad.
“We wanted to be the aggressor as the older team, and we had lot more experience coming back than they did so we wanted to force our press on them,” Metzger said.
Metzger admitted his players got a little winded in the second half as the Wildcats began to find their footing.
“We got stretched out and they found some vulnerabilities in the gap in the middle,” Metzger said. “We didn’t take care of the ball as well as we would have liked to and that led to more of their shots and presses of us and that led to some miscues but that is a thing that we would have cleaned up in scrimmages and the preseason but we didn’t have that and held strong.”
Kalida head coach Mark Czubik said he has a young squad and was proud of the team’s effort.
“I thought we played a little better in the second half,” Czubik said. “We had some chances actually in both halves. We have a young and inexperienced team, and we are hoping that we will grow from this experience.”
The Wildcats had several scoring opportunities and two big ones in the second half. The closest the Wildcats came to scoring came with just over 24 minutes remaining in the game when Drew Fersch blasted a shot that got past O-G goalie Dylan Birkemeier but unfortunately for Kalida the shot bounced off the post to prevent the score.
With under 10 minutes remaining the Wildcats made another charge and it appeared Evan Stechschulte was poised for a score when he came hard towards Birkemeier who quickly pounced on the ball but the ball came loose for a second but Stetchschulte could not pry it from the Titan keeper.
“You hate to lose and I’m sure the kids are disappointed but I am not disappointed in their effort,” Czubik said. “We played hard and are limited in our numbers a little but the kids fought and battled the whole night and that is all I ask for on the first night.”
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.