After a bit of a rocky start, Van Wert rebounded with a strong second half to take care of Shawnee 36-14 in their homecoming game on Friday night.
"A win is a win and we'll take any win," said Van Wert head coach Keith Recker. "That being said, we need to have little more concentration on our execution during practice so that we can carry that over into games. We've got to be great during the week so that it becomes second nature to us in games like this."
With the score at 19-14 in the third quarter, the Cougars were down to a 4th and 13 on the 27 yard-line.
Their fourth-down conversion play appeared to be broken until Aidan Pratt scrambled out of the pocket and found an opening with Conner Campbell who came down with the ball after a bit of a juggle in the endzone.
It was an answer to a 5-yard score from Shawnee's Chase Beery and after Campbell's endzone grab, the Indians wouldn't score again.
"We did a good job causing some confusion in the secondary on that play," said Recker. "Conner did a nice job of finding a way to get open after Aidan scrambled and made the catch even with a bobble. That was huge for us."
Van Wert's opening drive of the night ended after the first play when Carter Fay intercepted a tipped ball from Pratt. Shortly after the pick, Jordan Banks ran the ball in from three yards out to put the Indians up 7-0.
Things remained a little clunky even after the Cougars answered with a 10-yard rushing touchdown from Pratt on the ensuing drive. Following the score, Damon McCracken hit the upright on the extra point, leaving Shawnee in front 7-6.
The Cougars went on to score again five seconds into the second quarter on a three-yard run from Brylen Parker, and what followed was a botched two-point conversion attempt that left the score at 12-7.
However, with just under four minutes left in the half, Maddix Crutchfield connected with Pratt on a 62-yarder to make it a 19-7 game and somewhat "right the ship" offensively.
Pratt went 17 of 30 through the air for 281 yards, three touchdowns and an interception on the night. He added a team-high 87 rushing yards and a score on 19 carries.
Crutchfield caught four balls for 76 yards and a score in the game. Crutchfield, Campbell (2 catches, 50 yards) and Garett Gunter (7 catches for 95 yards) were Van Wert's top three receivers on the night. Nate Phillips added four catches for 33 yards.
Parker carried the ball 13 times for 37 yards, including his first quarter score.
After Campbell and Beery traded touchdowns, the Cougars closed things out with a pair of fourth quarter scores, one from Parker (14-yard catch) and a 22-yard field goal from McCracken.
For Shawnee, Chase Berry went 6 of 13 for 65 yards and ran the ball 34 times for 118 yards and one touchdown. Keegan Wilson caught four passes for 58 yards and Jordan Banks ran the ball nine times for 39 yards and a score.
As a team, Van Wert out-gained Shawnee 396-225.
Next up for the Cougars is a trip to Kenton on Friday. The Wildcats are coming off of a 55-0 shutout loss to St. Marys.
"I think our guys have learned from OG and Shawnee that records really don't matter, " said Recker. "Kenton is going to be ready to battle us because they want to try and knock us off."
"We've got to make sure that we go over there with that same attitude and sense of urgency," continued Recker. "We haven't played well in away games yet this year, so we have to make sure we come ready to go on Friday."
Shawnee 7 0 7 0 - 14
Van Wert 6 13 7 10 - 36
SH (7:17) Jordan Banks 3-yard rush (PAT good), 7-0.
VW (4:22) Aidan Pratt 10-yard rush (PAT no good), 7-6.
VW (11:55) Brylen Parker 3-yard rush (2pt conversion no good), 12-7.
VW (3:59) Maddix Crutchfield 62-yard reception from Aidan Pratt (PAT good), 19-7.
SH (6:54) Chase Beery 5-yard rush (PAT good), 19-14.
VW (3:39) Conner Campbell 27-yard reception from Aidan Pratt (PAT good), 26-14.
VW (6:26) Damon McCracken 22-yard field goal, 29-14.
VW (2:20) Brylen Parker 14-yard reception from Aidan Pratt (PAT good), 36-14.
Original Article Courtesy to Times Bulletin