|‘Cats corral Mustangs to remain perfect|
|Saturday, September 21, 2013 12:52 AM|
By TREY SMITH
HARROD — The weather radar for Friday night’s grid game between the Allen East Mustangs and the Jefferson Wildcats wasn’t favorable to those watching from the bleachers or those on the field.
The visiting Wildcats had the better of the proceedings as the game wore on behind their powerful running game, emerging with a 33-0 Northwest Conference shutout.
The torrential downpour had major effects on the contest as players and coaches had to overcome the poor field conditions. Both teams came out of the gate sluggishly with a pair of turnovers; Jefferson on a fumble on the opening kickoff and the Mustangs on a failed fourth down conversion attempt on their first possession.
The sloppy play continued for the majority of the first quarter, with each team gaining very little success on offense and each losing the ball on fumbles to end the period. The score was knotted at 0-0.
Delphos avoided losing the ball on yet another fumble to start the second stanza. Finally, they were able to capitalize on the Mustangs’ giveaway at the end of the first, scoring on a 4-yard touchdown burst by Zavier Buzard (26 carries, 164 yards) over left guard. After the failed extra-point attempt due to a botched snap, the ’Cats marked up the first points of the game and took the lead 6-0.
Following the Jefferson kickoff, Allen East began its ensuing offensive possession at the 17 yard line. The Wildcat defense held strong, causing the Mustangs to punt for the third time in the first half after a sack by linebacker Drew Wannemacher and multiple stops by the front line for no gain.
The Red and White continued their offensive attack, completing two pass plays of 13 and 20 yards from Austin Jettinghoff to Ross Thompson and setting up another touchdown run by Buzard, this one a 3-yard run around left end.
Allen East had extreme difficulty in finding any sort of success on either side of the ball. Jefferson ended the half on a strong note and carried their 12-0 lead into the break.
“Give Jefferson a lot of credit; they’re a real good team. Their versatility on offense and both their offensive and defensive lines play hard,” stated Allen East head coach Mike Abbey, “I feel like we played a solid half a game but for us to get to the next level and compete and beat the good teams, we need to learn how to put together a solid four quarters of football.”
The Mustangs seemed to have rejuvenated a little after the half, converting a first down on their opening drive. However, the success was short-lived as the ’Cats stopped them on the next set of downs. Allen East was forced to punt after a big hit by Dalton Hicks on Mustang quarterback Tanner Stippich, which resulted in an incomplete pass.
Although the first possession for the Mustangs was subpar, the defense stood tough as Logan Schick and Ross Stewart dropped the Jeffcats for a loss. Delphos was forced to punt but, due to a penalty on Allen East, they retained possession of the ball at their own 48. The Wildcats were unable to capitalize on the extra possession and resorted to punting once more. Jettinghoff’s punt was muffed inside the 15; the ball rolled inside the 5 and into the end zone, where Jefferson sophomore Hicks recovered the ball for the Wildcat touchdown. The 2-point conversion pass to Joe Gorman was completed, upping the Jeffcats’ lead to 20-0.
Allen East took over again and proceeded to fumble on the first play of the drive. The Red and White gained the possession and methodically made their way down the field. Buzard ended the drive with a score from 14 yards out, his third of the night. The Mustangs stuffed Jefferson’s 2-point conversion attempt but the Wildcats extended the lead to 26-0.
Allen East still had some fight left in them, returning the ensuing Delphos kickoff out to their own 47. They ended the quarter with control of the ball and a slow but successful drive unfolding.
The bright offensive possession for the Mustangs came to a screeching halt after a sack by Jordan McCann backed them up to the 46. Tyler Mox fielded the following punt at his own 8 yard line and sprinted up the right sideline. Due to excellent blocking by the Jefferson special teams players and a sharp cut across the field, he returned the punt all the way to the house. Place kicker Kurt Wollenhaupt added the extra point to increase the Wildcats’ advantage to 33-0 over Allen East and sealed the victory for Delphos.
The Red and White entered their second string to finish out the game. The Jefferson JVs kept the Mustangs out of the end zone, finalizing the margin of victory for the ’Cats 33-0.
“We pride ourselves in our defense. I give a great amount of credit to our defensive staff at getting our guys mentally focused and ready to play even in these conditions tonight,” said Jefferson coach Bub Lindeman, “Our defense is what is going to ultimately get us to where we need to be. Tonight, we met our pre-season goal of being 4-0 going into week five and we are going to enjoy it. We have a tough matchup next Friday against LCC and we are going to focus our attention on them come Monday.”
Allen East travels to Crestview next Friday night to take on the Knights. The Wildcats play host to LCC next week at Stadium Park.