COLUMBUS GROVE – Not many teams have stopped Allen East’s offense this year but Columbus Grove shut down the explosive Mustang attack en route to a 34-7 victory in a Northwest Conference clash Friday night.
With the win, Columbus Grove remains unbeaten at 5-0 and 2-0 in the NWC. Allen East falls to 3-2 on the year and 1-1 in conference play.
Coming into the game, Allen East was averaging a little more than 41 points a game but the Bulldogs found a way to corral the usually potent Mustang by smothering their running game and limiting the big pass play.
Columbus Grove’s defense came into the game limiting opponents to 8.1 points a contest.
“Our defense is light’s out,” Columbus Grove head coach Andy Schafer said. “They are playing tough. They are playing hungry and they are playing physical. I know Allen East has been averaging all those points and they do have a good offense but I don’t think they have seen a defense like ours. Our guys played physical and physical defense gets you to this point.
The Bulldogs held the Mustangs to 51 yards on the ground. Allen East’s lone touchdown did not come until late in the third quarter with a little over two minutes remaining.
The Mustangs did most of their damage through the air as Jacob Hershberger was 18 of 27 for 146 yards with two interceptions. The Bulldogs recorded four sacks.
Allen East receiver Chase Miller had eight catches for 89 yards.
Offensively, the Bulldogs relied on a balanced attack to move the ball against the Mustang defense that also put in a solid performance in the first half, limiting Columbus Grove to 13 points at halftime but the Bulldogs wore them down in the second half.
Going into the second half, Columbus Grove owned a 13-0 lead but scored on its first two possessions of the second half to grab a 27-0 lead.
“Good teams have a solid defense and a good special teams and if an offense cannot make mistakes you are going to win some games,” Schafer said.
Columbus Grove’s Colin Metzger finished with 81 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries to lead the way. Sixty of those yards came in the second half when the Bulldogs were playing ball control.
Bulldog field general Brenton Renner was an efficient 8 of 13 for 122 yards and made some key throws throughout the game.
Schafer pointed out that Allen East’s defense was geared to stop the run and said the play-action proved to be effective.
A new wrinkle that was added to the Columbus Grove offense was putting Jacksen Schroeder as the quarterback in the Wildcat formation and he was instrumental in the opening drive where he rushed for some big yards and kept the Mustangs off balanced.
“Any time Colin took a step in each direction the safety was smoking it up there,” Schafer said. “We had to rely on some play-action pass and that actually worked tonight and that was huge to see Brent Renner throw it tonight.
“A mix or kind of a change up there was putting Jacksen Schroeder at quarterback and that really sparked our offense and we went no huddle and that had the defense kind of guessing a little bit.”
Schroeder also made two catches for 61 yards and one touchdown.
Columbus Grove kicker Rece Verhoff had field goals of 26 and 35 yards and had a 62 yard attempt come up short.