WAYNESFIELD – Waynesfield-Goshen’s quarterback Cooper Roberts and receiver Layton Campbell hooked up for three big second half touchdowns to help propel the Tigers past Hardin Northern, 35-7, in the Northwest Central Conference opener Friday night.
“We felt good about the match up we had out there tonight,” Tiger head coach Shane Wireman said. “Some times we forced the ball to him (Campbell) but we are going to do that because we believe he is one of our best guys out there.
The first of those big passes came in the third quarter on a flea-flicker play that saw Roberts find a wide open Campbell in the middle of the field and the crafty senior receiver raced in for the six points to give the Tigers a 20-7 lead with 2:39 left in the third quarter.
What made the touchdown more important was that it answered a Hardin Northern score. The Polar Bears looked to gain some momentum when they who had gotten with six points, 13-7 with 3:01 left in the third quarter. The Polar Bears capitalized on a Roberts’ interception and punched the ball in after getting the turnover at the Tiger 22 yard line.
The second Roberts to Campbell connection provided some breathing room for the Tigers in the final stanza when this dynamic duo hooked up for a 32 yard touchdown. This put Waynesfield-Goshen up 27-7 with 11:52 left in the game.
To put the exclamation point on the game, the third score came when Roberts found a leaping Campbell in the left corner of the end zone with 5:26 left in the game.
For the game, Roberts was 14 for 18 for 333 yards and three touchdowns and one interception. The Tiger signal caller also capped off the Tigers first two scoring drives by running in touchdowns of 10 and 7 yards in the first half.
“Cooper did a nice job tonight and he had a couple of nice ready plays and we tried to get him involved in the run game so that was a big plus for us,” Wireman said.
Campbell ended the night with seven catches for 190 yards and three touchdowns.
Not to be overshadowed was the Tigers’ defensive performance that held the Polar Bears in check all night and never allowed the Hardin Northern offense find a rhythm. More importantly they neutralized the versatile Owen Wetherall by double covering him when he was a receiver and keying on him when he was in the backfield.
Wireman said that was part of the game plan.
“I told him when he went through the line that he was one of the best players in the league and our game plan was trying to stop you so keep your head up you have a lot football ahead of you,” Wireman said. “Our scouring report was to know where he was and minimize his impact.”
The Tigers defense produced two turnovers including an interception and a fumble.
Wireman said it was his young players up front that proved to be the difference and added that the fact that the Polar Bears did not have one of their top players Lance Good in the game.
“They didn’t him up front so that helped us,” Wireman said. “We had a lot of young guys so we didn’t know what to expect with only one scrimmage and the heat.”
The Tigers broke out to a 13-0 advantage on its first drive in the second half. After stopping the Polar Bears, Waynesfield-Goshen took over at the 27 yard line and it took just four plays to move the ball 73 yards. The big play on the drive came when on third and 14, Roberts hit Hunter Craig on a screen pass and the fullback rumbled 62 yards. A face mask penalty tacked on 15 yards and moved the ball to the Polar Bear 7-yard line.
One play later Roberts, on a fake, raced into the end zone for his second touchdown of the night. A missed extra point gave the Tigers a 13-0 lead with 8:23 left in the third quarter.
Waynesfield-Goshen owned a 7-0 lead over Hardin Northern going into halftime Friday night.
Waynesfield-Goshen got its first touchdown of the season when Cooper Roberts kept the ball on a sneak and scooted into the end zone from 10 yards out. After the successful extra point the Tigers led 7-0 with 6:13 left in the first half.
Roberts’ score capped off a 10-play, 93 yard drive that took a little more than four and a half minutes to compete. Beginning at their own seven, the Tigers got out of their own territory in a big sort of way when on the second play Roberts connected with Layton Campbell for 44 yards. From there the Tigers mixed the pass and the run to set up Roberts’ dash to the end zone.
In the first half, Roberts was an efficient 10-11 for 180 yards. Campbell proved to be the Tiger signal callers’ main target as he hauled in four catches for 83 yards. Receiver Jayden Elliott grabbed three balls for 52 yards.
The Tigers’ defense pitched the first half shutout by limiting the Polar Bears to 53 total yards.
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.