OTTAWA — Given another opportunity, Ottawa-Glandorf was able to take advantage of it.
After Elida had dominated its Western Buckeye League contest against the Titans, O-G took advantage of a short field after a failed Bulldog punt. And when the Titans converted a 2-point conversion with 42 seconds left, O-G found themselves on the plus side of a 14-13 win against the Bulldogs on a very wet and sloppy night at Titan Stadium.
The win moves fourth-ranked O-G (Division IV) to 6-0 in the league and 7-0 overall, while the Bulldogs slipped to 4-2 in the league and 5-2 overall.
Elida’s defense grounded the Titans’ high-scoring, ground-oriented attack, holding them in check for all but one drive. And when the Bulldogs’ Jesse Wheeler came up with an interception to halt an O-G drive with just over two minutes left, it appeared Elida had the game pretty much in its pocket.
The Bulldogs started their final drive on the O-G 22 and appeared to have disaster strike right away when O-G recovered a fumble. However, the Titans were called for offsides, giving the Bulldogs a 1st-and-5 at the 27. Three running plays netted just one yard and the Bulldogs were forced to punt with 52 seconds left. On the punt, Elida’s Nickoli Sackinger dropped the snap and was forced to run with the O-G defense bearing down on him. Cody Alt brought him down at the 16, giving the Titans a short field to work with as they tried one more time to rally.
After an incompletion on first down, O-G senior quarterback Matt Siefker fired a pass in the direction of 6-6 senior Alex Westrick over the middle. Westrick came down with the ball in the end zone, pulling the Titans within 13-12 with 42 seconds left. Instead of kicking an extra point on a wet and sloppy field, the Titans decided to go for the win. Lining up in their power running formation, Josh Buckland slipped out into the flat; although he had to come back to grab Siefker’s pass, he caught it, then slipped into the end zone for the 2-point conversion and a 14-13 lead.
“We had a gut check and found a way to win,” O-G coach Ken Schriner said. “I was proud of our kids being there when it counted. We talked about going for two at the beginning of the second half. We were playing bad enough, we were at home, so we were going for two. We knew exactly the play we were going to run. It wasn’t pretty but it got the job done.”
After a short kickoff, Elida at the ball at its own 36 and immediately freshman quarterback Logan Alexander hit Nick Pauff with a 12-yard pass. With no timeouts, the Bulldogs ran a hurry-up offense and the Titan defense responded as senior nose guard Wyatt Karhoff sacked Alexander on second down. With time for one more play, Alexander completed a pass and after a series of laterals, O-G’s defense got a stop and ended the game.
“You have to finish the game; there’s no ifs, ands or buts about it,” Elida coach Jason Carpenter said. “If you don’t finish, good teams like O-G will beat you in the end. We had an interception there that I thought sealed it, then we drop a punt snap and gave them a second chance. When you give good teams a second chance, they will find a way to beat you and that’s what happened.”
Elida opened the game with a bang; on the second play of the night, Alexander found an opening up the middle and went 94 yards for a touchdown to stun the Titans’ Homecoming crowd. After the Clark Etzler extra point, it was 7-0, Elida.
The Bulldog defense set up the offense with a couple of short fields in the first half, recovering fumbles on back-to-back O-G possessions. However, the Bulldogs couldn’t take advantage of the turnovers, keeping them in front 7-0.
That changed late in the second quarter as the Bulldogs put together a scoring drive that ended with a 2-yard run by Anthony Sumpter with 1:30 left. The extra point was blocked, making the score 13-0.
The big play of the drive was a 29-yard pass to Brandon Stinson to the O-G 4. Two plays later, Sumpter found a seam over the left side of the line to get into the end zone.
O-G’s offense finally broke through to start the third quarter as they went 70 yards in three plays. After two Tristan Parker runs for 19 yards, Siefker stepped back and faked a handoff to Parker. He then threw a short pass over the middle to Alt, who did the rest for a 51-yard scoring play. The extra point was wide, leaving Elida up 13-6.
Elida came right back with an 11-play drive that had them at the Titan 30. A 4th-down pass fell incomplete, turning the ball back over to O-G.
The two teams exchanged punts but on Elida’s punt, the Titan deep man fumbled the ball, with the Bulldogs recovering. The Bulldogs drove to the O-G 34 before a holding penalty had them facing a 1st-and-17. Elida couldn’t overcome the penalty.
O-G took over at their own 20 and drove to the Elida 25 with the help of a pass interference call on a 4th-and-long. That’s where Wheeler came up with his interception, setting up the final two possessions of the night.
Alexander paced the Elida offense with 106 rushing yards and he was 11-of-20 passing for 104 yards. Stinson had three catches for 36 yards and Pauff three for 25. Etzler and Quentin Poling both had two catches for the Bulldogs.
O-G finished with 191 yards of offense as Parker finished with 75 yards rushing on the night. Siefker was 6-of-14 passing with two touchdowns and one pick.
* * *
Elida 7 6 0 0 - 13
Ottawa-Glandorf 0 0 6 8 - 14
E - Alexander 94 run (Etzler kick)
E - Sumpter two run (kick failed)
OG - Alt 51 pass from Siefker (kick failed)
OG - Westrick 16 pass from Siefker (Buckland pass from Siefker)