OTTAWA — Friday’s Western Buckeye League football clash between Van Wert and Ottawa-Glandorf was filled with momentum swings.
In the end, it was Ottawa-Glandorf that got the final swing, as the Titans slipped out with a hard fought 35-34 Western Buckeye League victory over Van Wert at Titan Stadium.
The game came down to the final drive as Van Wert quarterback Owen Treece threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Dru Johnson, cutting the O-G lead to one point.
The Cougars (4-1) elected to go for the two-point conversion.
However, a pass by Treece was picked off, to give O-G (4-1) the victory.
“Two great teams just laid it on the line,” O-G head coach Ken Schriner said. “It went back and forth throughout the whole evening. … They make plays, we make plays. To be able to squeak out with a win is outstanding. I’m really proud of our kids.”
Van Wert cashed in on the opening drive of the contest.
The Cougars traveled 72 yards on 11 plays to find pay dirt. Treece found Nate Jackson open for a 3-yard touchdown pass. With the point after by Damon McCracken, the Cougars quickly led, 7-0.
O-G’s first drive of the night was cut short when quarterback Jacob Balbaugh was intercepted by Van Wert defensive back Dru Johnson near the end zone. O-G was on the move and had the ball on Van Wert’s 35-yard line, before turning the football over.
The Cougars’ seven-point advantage held up to the end of the first quarter.
O-G got on the scoreboard, early in the second quarter.
Balbaugh found Will Kaufman open for a 9-yard TD pass, which capped off a 10-play, 59-yard scoring drive. With the point after by Alex Macke, the game was knotted at 7.
Van Wert added another score before the halftime break. Treece capped off a 5-play, 54-yard scoring drive with a 6-yard TD run. With the extra point, the Cougars led by seven.
In the first half, Van Wert amassed 185 total yards. Treece was 8 of 11 passing for 93 yards in the first two quarters.
O-G rolled up 132 total yards in the first half. Balbaugh was 9 of 16 passing for 113 yards.
O-G‘s offensive unit came out strong to open the second half.
The Titans marched 64 yards on eight plays to score. An 18-yard TD pass from Balbaugh to Caleb Kuhlman knotted the game at 14 apiece. A 43-yard reception by Brennen Blevins helped set up the scoring drive for O-G.
The senior Blevins ended the night with six catches for 117 yards.
O-G finally claimed the lead.
At the 7:01 mark of the third quarter, Parker Schnipke ran it in from 1 yard out to cap off a quick 5-play, 24-yard scoring drive for the Titans. With the extra point, O-G led 21-14.
Van Wert responded.
The Cougars scored on their next possession, on a 33-yard TD pass from Treece to Dru Johnson. However, McCracken’s extra point was blocked by O-G’s Tyler Leopold, making the score 21-20, O-G, with 4:23 left to play in the third.
O-G had an answer of its own.
The Titans drove 75 yards in 9 plays for another score.
Balbaugh ran it in from 5 yards out for the score. With the extra point by Macke, the Titans now led 28-20, with 17 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Cougars came roaring back.
Van Wert marched 70 yards on 7 plays to reach the end zone. Treece ran it in from 25 yards out to cap off the scoring drive. Van Wert went for the 2-point conversion. Treece ran it in to knot the score at 28 each.
The Titans would not be denied.
O-G drove right down the field for the go-ahead TD.
Balbaugh capped off a 6-play, 48-yard scoring drive to put his team ahead, 35-28.
“It comes down to a stop at the goal line for a two-point conversion,” Schriner said. “I’m proud of our kids for rising up. Both teams laid it on the field tonight. It was a great win.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.