High school football: Blocked field goal seals win for Ottawa-Glandorf


By David Trinko - dtrinko@limanews.com



ONLY ON LIMAOHIO.COM

See past coverage of Ottawa-Glandorf at LimaOhio.com/tag/ottawaglandorf.

NAPOLEON – When Ottawa-Glandorf called a time out just before Otsego attempted a potential game-winning field goal with 19 seconds left in the regional semifinals, it wasn’t just to ice the kicker.

The Titans hatched a plan from the sideline at Charles Buckenheimer Stadium in Napoleon.

“When we took the time out to ice him, I came over to coach (Brian) Heebsh and I said, ‘I don’t usually block kicks,’” O-G’s Colin White said. “I said, ‘Coach, let me go after that one.’”

The Titans loaded up a side with three of their most athletic players, White, Caleb Kuhlman and Tyler Leopold. As Otsego’s kicker stepped forward to attempt the 36-yard field goal, White took over.

“I hopped over the guy and went straight through and got home on it,” White said.

The ball flew backwards, securing a 24-22 win for the Titans against the Knights (11-1), the No. 1 seed in Division V, Region 18. It all seemed so unlikely for a team that had four turnovers and 75 yards in costly penalties.

“It’s just the resilience of this team,” O-G coach Ken Schriner said. “We’re a senior-laden team; there’s no doubt about that. To be able to make plays at the end, find a way to pull it out? Somebody is helping us upstairs; that’s all I’ve got to say.”

The Titans face Elyria Catholic, a 51-21 winner against Bloomdale Elmwood, in the regional finals at 7 p.m. Saturday. The location of the matchup will be announced Sunday afternoon.

It was an improbable comeback for a Titans, who dominated most of the first two quarters but gave up a pair of late first-half touchdowns. They had little offense in the second half either, until it really mattered.

The Titans looked like they had the go-ahead touchdown with 2:16 remaining, when Landen Jordan scrambled and found Walker Buddelmeyer for an apparent 31-yard touchdown pass. A holding call negated that play.

“I was really excited, and I turn around and saw that the flag came out,” Jordan said. “We all came together, and we were like, ‘We either give up now, or we just keep on going.’”

Jordan got another shot to play hero, though. On fourth-and-7 from the 29, he scrambled to his right and heaved a cross-body pass to Cy Rump on the left side, who caught the ball at the 1 and got tackled immediately. Jordan took it in himself two plays later for the lead.

“It’s fourth-and-7, and nobody was open,” Jordan said. “Again, I trusted my brothers. I threw it up, and he caught it. We trusted each other, and we trusted God.”

Just to add to the drama, the extra point hit the left upright and back to the field, leaving it a two-point game with 1:32 remaining for the Knights.

Last year, Otsego booted Ottawa-Glandorf from the playoffs with a 21-6 win in a game O-G led 6-0 at the half. The Titans got their revenge this year, despite Otsego’s Trent Leiter tallying 180 yards on the ground.

Jordan led the Titans by completing 14 of 25 passes for 277 yards. Caleb Kuhlman had eight catches for 170 yards. Ian Fenbert led the rushing attack with 12 carries for 48 yards.

The Titans had looked ready to dominate in the first half. They had an 11-point lead. They had the edge on offensive yards. They had the momentum.

Seconds later, it slipped away. Otsego rallied for 15 points in 43 seconds before halftime to take the lead and the Titans’ enthusiasm away from them.

Ottawa-Glandorf had pulled ahead 18-7 on Fenbert’s touchdown reception on a screen pass, his second score of the day. On the kickoff, the Titans were flagged for a 15-yard penalty.

After a 52-yard completion, quarterback Joseph Dzierwa, who has signed to play baseball at Michigan State, snuck in from 1 yard out. After a two-point conversion, the Titans still led, 22-15.

Disaster hit Ottawa-Glandorf on the ensuing kickoff, when O-G fumbled the ball at its own 36. On the first play after that, the Knights’ Dzierwa completed a 36-yard pass to a streaking Chase Helberg for the touchdown. The extra point put Otsego up, 22-18. Dzierwa, the back of the year in the Northern Buckeye Conference, completed 12 of 25 passes for 198 yards and one interception.

“We talked to them at halftime about, you know, forget about that cluster that we played at the end of the second quarter, and just go out and lay it on the line,” Schriner said.

It was a surprising turn of events, as the Titans had dominated most of the first half up to that point.

Kuhlman, a first team all-Western Buckeye League wide receiver, put the Titans on the scoreboard first with 38.9 seconds left in the first quarter. He took a direct snap and sprinted up the middle for a 5-yard touchdown run. It was a fitting finish to the drive, which included Kuhlman’s 53-yard completion from Jordan up the left side. Two plays after that, they paired up for a 22-yard reception to put the Titans inside the 10.

The defense set up the Titans’ second score. A long kickoff rolled near the end zone, starting Otsego’s drive at the 5. The Knights thought they’d gotten something going on a 16-yard pass play before fumbling the ball.

One play later, Jordan completed a 32-yard pass play to Colin White. Two plays later, Ian Fenbert punched it in from a yard out.

Fenbert added another touchdown with 1:11 remaining in the half, when he caught a screen pass, followed his blocking and broke free on a touchdown play.

“We just trusted each other,” Jordan said. “We’re brothers. We’ve been working hard since the first grade. We could have laid down after that second quarter, but we didn’t. We came out. The odds were against us. All week everybody thought Otsego was going to win. We use that as motivation. We came out, and we got the job done.”

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By David Trinko

dtrinko@limanews.com

ONLY ON LIMAOHIO.COM

See past coverage of Ottawa-Glandorf at LimaOhio.com/tag/ottawaglandorf.

Reach David Trinko at 567-242-0467 or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.

Reach David Trinko at 567-242-0467 or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.

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