BATH TOWNSHIP — The defensive units stepped up in Friday’s Western Buckeye League football opener at Bath Stadium.
For Shawnee, the defense could not have stepped up at any better time, as the Indians turned away Bath in the final minute of the contest to come away with a hard-fought 14-7 victory.
Shawnee improves to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the WBL. Bath slips to 1-1 and 0-1 in league play.
“They (Bath) had the ball a lot in the second half,” Shawnee head coach Jerry Cooper said. “But we kept them in front of us the whole game. Give our defense credit.”
For the game, Bath rolled up 212 offensive yards.
However, Shawnee seemed to come up with a key defensive play whenever it needed one.
Shawnee’s defense came up big, early on.
Shawnee linebacker Keaton Cooper intercepted a pass from Bath quarterback Ian Armentrout, and ran it back to the Bath 35-yard line.
The Indians then quickly marched 35 yards on six plays to get on the scoreboard. Senior running back Tommy Spyker ran it in from six yards for the score. The extra point by Tyler Kimmet made it 7-0 with 6:31 left to play in the opening quarter.
For the game, Spyker rushed for 80 yards on 17 carries.
Spyker led Shawnee in last week’s victory over Lima Central Catholic with 83 rushing yards on 13 carries and a touchdown.
Shawnee’s first-quarter touchdown held up to the end of the first half, as the Indians went into the halftime break with a 7-0 lead.
There were three turnovers in the first half (Shawnee 2, Bath 1).
For the game, Shawnee committed four turnovers, while Bath had two miscues.
In the first half, Shawnee rushed for 70 yards, while recording just 33 more in the air.
For the game, Shawnee recorded 202 yards of total offense against Bath.
Bath mustered just 49 total yards and recorded three first downs in the first half. But the Wildcats moved the football in the final two quarters.
Bath got the football to begin the second half.
The Wildcats marched down the field and eventually attempted a field goal. The 27-yard attempt by Keaton Liles was no good, which kept the Indians’ seven-point advantage intact.
However, on the very next possession for Shawnee, Wyatt Maley intercepted a pass from quarterback Tyler Windau (7 for 11 passing, 57 yards).
The Wildcats now had the ball at Shawnee’s 29-yard line.
However, Bath could not capitalize on Shawnee’s turnover, as the Indians got the football back on downs.
On the next possession for Shawnee, Bath forced a fumble and got the ball back on Shawnee’s 24-yard line.
However, Shawnee turned away Bath’s offense once again.
The Indians eventually marched 76 yards on seven plays to round out their scoring.
Derek Lyons capped off the Shawnee scoring drive with a 19-yard TD run. With the PAT by Kimmet, the Indians led 14-0.
Bath finally got on the board.
With 2:45 left in the game, Armentrout connected with Blaine Albright for a 38-yard TD pass. With the PAT, the Shawnee lead was 7.
Armentrout ended the game, 15 of 26 passing for 194 yards.
Bath was not done.
On the ensuing kickoff, Bath recovered the onside kick, and now had the football at Shawnee’s 32-yard line with 2:43 left to play.
Shawnee’s defense came up big, once again, as it denied Bath the end zone on its final drive of the night.
“(If we get) a little better blocking, a little better execution, a little better decision-making – it will come together,” Cooper said. “We’re just happy to get out of here with a win and get ready for next week.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.