High school football: Wapakoneta stymies Elida

ELIDA — Wapakoneta jumped out to an early 14-0 lead over Elida.

However, it was Wapakoneta’s defense that stepped up the rest of the way Friday night, as it held Elida’s offensive unit to 106 total yards, en route to a 21-7 victory over Elida in a Western Buckeye League homecoming football game at Kraft Stadium.

With the win, Wapakoneta improves to 6-1 overall and 6-0 in the WBL. Elida slips to 4-3 overall and 3-3 in league play.

Offensively, Wapakoneta rolled up 302 yards on the night. However, Elida managed to stymie a few of Wapakoneta’s offensive possessions.

Penalties hurt Wapakoneta as well, as the Redskins were whistled six times for 75 yards.

“Obviously, too many penalties and too many missed scoring opportunities, hurt us tonight,” Wapakoneta head coach Travis Moyer said. “We’ve got to clean those up. … With those mistakes, it wasn’t pretty tonight. But like I told our kids, ‘We stayed together and found a way to win’.”

On Wapakoneta’s first possession of the game, the Redskins were forced to settle for a long field goal attempt. Kyle Beach attempted a 50-yard field goal, but his kick went a little to the right.

Late in the first quarter, Wapakoneta mounted an eight-play, 65-yard scoring drive. Freshman quarterback Caleb Moyer (6 of 9 passing, 69 yards), the head coach’s son, connected with Grant Jolly for a 39-yard touchdown pass. With the extra point by Preston Meyer, the Redskins led 7-0, with eight seconds remaining in the opening quarter.

In the second quarter, the Redskins struck once again.

Wapakoneta traveled 48 yards in eight plays to get its second score of the first half. Jace Knous broke loose for a 26-yard run to the end zone. With the extra point by Meyer, Wapakoneta led 14-0 with 6:53 left in the half.

In the first half, Knous rushed for 82 yards on 14 carries. Knous ended the night with 172 yards on 31 carries.

Elida finally got on the scoreboard, late in the second quarter.

Quarterback Ryan McGue (7 of 17 passing, 74 yards) connected with Jackson Covault (2 catches, 37 yards) for an 18-yard TD pass. With the extra point by Grant Hardeman, the Bulldogs pulled within 7, 14-7, with 3:41 left in the first half.

With seven seconds remaining in the half, Kyle Beach attempted a 41-yard field goal, but came up just a little short.

Wapakoneta led 14-7 at the halftime break.

In the first half, Wapakoneta’s offense rolled up 163 total yards.

Elida’s offensive unit recorded 76 total offensive yards in the first 24 minutes of action.

Late in the third quarter, Wapakoneta went on a 10-play drive, which gave Beach another field goal attempt. This time, Beach missed from 25 yards out.

The score remained 14-7 Wapakoneta at the end of the third quarter.

Wapakoneta put the game out of reach midway through the fourth quarter, when it put together a 16-play, 67-yard scoring drive. Knous capped it off with a 2-yard TD run with 3:15 left to play.

Wapakoneta’s defense came up big when it needed to. The Redskins sacked McGue three times on the night.

“I thought, except for the one series (when Elida scored), our defense played pretty well tonight,” Moyer said. “It was a hard-fought game. Give (Elida) Coach (Kyle) Harmon a lot of credit. They put together a great game plan.”

On the night, Wapakoneta recorded 13 first downs. Elida moved the first-down chains eight times.

“I’m really proud of our program,” Moyer said. “We took another step forward tonight. Our No. 1 goal is a WBL championship. … That’s our main objective. We came out and found a way to win.”

Mark Altstaetter wrote this story for The Lima News. Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.