Columbus Grove comeback falls short
Friday, October 11, 2013 7:34 PM
By Charlie Warnimont
Sentinel Sports Editor
COLUMBUS GROVE - Delphos Jefferson remained undefeated on the 2013 football season Friday night. But it wasn't easy.
The Wildcats were pushed to the limits by an improving Columbus Grove squad before Jefferson scored a late touchdown to help give the Wildcats a 42-28 win over the Bulldogs at Clymer Stadium in Northwest Conference action.
The Wildcats moved to 7-0 on the season and 5-0 in the NWC, while the Bulldogs slipped o-5 in the NWC and 1-6 overall.
"We escaped with a win tonight," Jefferson coach Bub Lindeman said. "When you get into these league games it's a week of matchups. Credit (Grove coach) Andy Schafer and his staff, I thought they put together a great game plan and executed. I felt we left some points on the field there early and that carried over. When you give a football team some life, it showed, because this was a battle to the fourth quarter."
While the Wildcats twice had 14 point leads in the game, the Bulldogs never gave up.
Jefferson had a 21-14 halftime lead and after their defense forced the Bulldogs to punt three plays after taking the second half kickoff, the Wildcats special teams contributed as Tyler Mox returned a punt 59 yards for a score making the score 28-14 with the extra point.
The Wildcats had a chance to put the Bulldogs away as they recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. Jefferson had a first and goal at the Bulldog nine, but a holding penalty set them back. After a Buzard run for four yards, the Wildcats mis-fired on two pass plays and settled for a 29 yard field goal attempt that missed.
Having left the door open, the Bulldogs took advantage as they went 80 yards in nine plays as Joey Warnecke bulldozed over from the three yard line on fourth and two from the three. The big play in the drive was a 50 yard pass play as Riley Brubaker hit Mason Smith with a pass over the middle. The extra point failed leaving the score at 28-20.
That's when the Wildcats went back to their bread and butter, the rushing attack. Behind the bruising running of Buzard the Wildcats used eight plays to cover 55 yards as Buzard stormed over from a yard out. Buzard carried seven straight times on the drive as a 19 yard run by the senior gave the Wildcats a first and goal at the one.
Buzard finished the game with 210 yards on 28 carries and scored four touchdowns. Overall the Wildcats rushed for 250 yards on 39 carries as they were just 4-of-12 passing (91 yards) as the Wildcats had several dropped passes.
"Zavier has been a workhorse for us all year long," Lindeman said. "I feel the guys up front do a good job opening the holes, but he gets a lot of yards after contact. He really does a nice job running hard and that's where he really excels the best. I think he just has another gear and when teams are tired he kicks it into that next gear and does a great job."
Still the Bulldogs didn't quit as they took the kickoff and drove 65 yards in 11 plays as David Bogart hauled in a 41 yard scoring pass from Brubaker. Mason Smith hauled in a two-point conversion pass making the score 35-28.
Grove's defense stepped up forcing a Wildcat punt. The Bulldogs took over at their own 22 and moved to midfield before the Wildcat defense stepped up and forced a Grove punt.
With the aid of a nice punt return and a personal foul penalty on the Bulldogs, the Wildcats took over at the Grove 38 and three plays into the drive sealed the win when Buzard got to the outside and went into the endzone from 35 yards out.
"Our biggest problem and it's the story of a young team, we can not put four quarters together on both sides of the ball and special teams at the same time," Grove's Schafer said. "I didn't think our defense really showed up the first half, then they played a great second half. I didn't think our special teams showed up the second half and they played well the first half. Offensively, there was times we had some losses. I was proud of our kids for the way they fought against a pretty good Jefferson team. We had a chance to win it there at the end and that's all you can ask for."
Jefferson never trailed in the game as it took them only two plays to get on the scoreboard as Buzard scored on a 41 yard run on the Wildcats second play after a 27 yard run by Jordan McCann on the first play of the game. The extra point had the Wildcats up 7-0 24 seconds into the game.
The Bulldogs answered back two and a half minutes later when Brubaker scored on a 50 yard run. The Wildcats came right back as Tyler Mox capped off a 12 play drive by hauling in a 12 yard touchdown pass from Austin Jettinghoff. Buzard added a one yard scoring run five seconds into the third quarter before the Bulldogs pulled within seven late in the half on a 39 yard pass from Brubaker to Bogart.
Brubaker was 9-of-19 passing for the Bulldogs for 178 yards and two scores and he rushed for 122 yards on 22 carries. Warnecke carried the ball 19 times for 72 yards. David Bogart caught four passes for 96 yards and Smith three catches for 68 yards.
* * *
Delphos Jefferson 14 7 7 14 - 42
Columbus Grove 7 7 6 8 - 28
DJ - Buzard 41 run (Wollenhaupt kick)
CG - Brubaker 50 run (Warnecke kick)
DJ - Mox 12 pass from Jettinghoff (Wollenhaupt kick)
DJ - Buzard one run (Wollenhaupt kick)
CG - Bogart 39 pass from Brubaker (Warnecke kick)
DJ - Mox 59 punt return (Wollenhaupt kick)
CG - Warnecke three run (pass failed)
DJ - Buzard one ru (Wollenhaupt kick)
CG - Bogart 41 pass from Brubaker (Smith pass from Brubaker)
DJ - Buzard 35 run (Wollenhaupt kick)