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FOOTBALL: Kenton-Wapak pits top offense vs. top defense

October 27, 2011

When the 2011 Western Buckeye League football schedule was released, eyes were instantly drawn to Week 10.
Kenton vs. Wapakoneta.
The buzz was immediate.
All the two teams had to do was survive the toughest WBL gauntlet in recent memory.
Each had their too-close-for-comfort moment — the Redskins’ 14-13 win over Bath in Week 3 and the Wildcats’ 30-28 win over Elida in Week 6.
But they came out on top. And now, here it is, Week 10.
9-0 vs. 9-0.
Wapak is ranked seventh in Division II in the latest AP state poll. The Wildcats are No. 1 in Division IV.
On the line, a WBL title. It would be Kenton’s fourth in a row and the first for Wapak since 2006.
The percentage of high school football players who get a chance to play in a game of this magnitude is minute.
They write movie scripts about games like this.
The Wildcats bring in the No. 1 offense in the league. Wapak, the No. 1 defense.
“They’re the king of the Western Buckeye League until they’re dethroned,” Wapak coach Doug Frye said. “You’d have to call us the underdog going into this game.”
Kenton, behind Missouri-bound quarterback Maty Mauk, is averaging 524.3 yards — 406 of that passing — and 46.4 points per game.
The Wildcats have obliterated opponents, winning by more than three touchdowns on six different occasions.
Along the way, Mauk has rewritten the record books once penned by older brother Ben, who now serves as the quarterback coach under Kenton head coach Mike Mauk, their father.
The youngest Mauk has thrown for 3,403 yards and 43 touchdowns this season alone.
Those numbers are a career for most high school quarterbacks.
He has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes this season (246-of-361) with just eight picks.
“We’re going to have to take care of the football. That’s the No. 1 thing,” Frye said. “We’re going to have to make sure we don’t give them big plays. They’re going to get their yardage. They’re going to move the chains. ...
“We have to make sure that after their initial catch or once Maty breaks into the open, we don’t give them big, big runs. We have to make them earn their drives.”
Maty Mauk also leads the team in rushing — Kenton rarely lines up with a running back in the backfield. He is sixth in the WBL in rushing with 1,037 yards and 14 touchdowns. His 7.9 yards-per-carry average is the best in the league.
“His scrambling ability is the X-factor,” Frye said. “Obviously you know he has a great arm and he has very good receivers and they’re going to make plays.”
Kenton pulls out all the stops — going for the two-point conversion on every score and routinely employing the on-side kickoff.
Teams have used different game plans in trying to counter the Wildcats’ aggressive attack.
Elida put its faith in the ever-reliable leg of kicker Nathan Jenkins, only to lose by two points.
“You have to be able to match their points,” Frye said.
Defiance saw this and tried to go for two on every score, only to find the end zone just twice in a 54-15 defeat.
A year ago, Ottawa-Glandorf handed Kenton its only defeat by dropping virtually its entire defense back into pass coverage.
The Redskins defense comes in limiting opponents to a league-best 268.6 yards and 12.4 points per game.
Wapak has held opponents to two touchdowns or fewer six times this season.
Frye has something up his sleeve.
But he’s not talking.
“We’ll have multiple strategies on defense,” Frye said.
Off the record?
“We’ll have multiple strategies.”
Frye has faced Mike Mauk’s all-out spread attack 12 times in his head-coaching career, both at St. Marys and Wapak, and will draw on that experience Friday night.
“There are things we’ve done right and things we’ve done wrong,” Frye said. “And there are things we’ve done right and still haven’t been successful.”
Wapak is second in the league in scoring (39.3) and third in yardage (387.3).
The Wildcats, defensively, are third in yards allowed (294.4 per game) and fourth in scoring (20.2 per game).
“Every year their defense is scrappy, up-tempo, gets after you, tries to create turnovers,” Frye said. “It’s a very, very solid defense.”
If there is an area Kenton is vulnerable, it’s against the run.
Bath’s Aaron Smith bashed his way to 242 yards against the Wildcats. And Defiance’s Nick Lopez rushed for 187 yards last week.
“A lot of emphasis is put on defending Mauk and the spread offense,” Frye said. “The best way any team can defend that is to run time off the clock. ... The better we do at that, the better chance we have for success.”
This much is for sure, this game will be one for the ages.
“I don’t believe either team will keep anything in the barn for the playoffs,” Frye said.

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Comments

Wapakoneta football

October 29, 2011 by ChemarNikko (not verified), 2 years 47 weeks ago
Comment: 77

I realize that it is always easy to blame someone else when things don't go your way, but, it seems like this season there has been a target on the backs of our Wapak football team - by the refs. I am not a fan who can spot every little miscue of the game. In fact, half the time I'm not even sure where the ball is. I also don't expect the refs to be perfect and see everything. But, when someone like me can see an obvious violation of the rules, then I do expect the refs to catch it - no matter which team it is on. There were several fouls on Kenton that the refs didn't catch (at least one was noticed and mentioned on the replay of the game by the person doing the commentary). Now you can say that it is just sour grapes, but it has happened in all the games this season (and we won in spite of them). Kenton is a good team. There is no doubt about that. I'll even admit that it was fascinating watching the moves of Mr. Mauk. Why do the refs think that they have to favor one team or another. These are young adults who have to learn that life isn't always fair and doesn't always go their way. So they (the refs) need to play it like an unbiased adult. As an aside, I'd like to know how these refs are chosen and is there background checked to see if they might have an obvious bias to one team or another.

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