Wapakoneta Redskins junior Keaton Metz (6) returns the opening kickoff for a touchdown Friday in a Western Buckeye League varsity football game against the Ottawa-Glandorf Titans in Ottawa. (Staff photo/Nina Laney)
OTTAWA — When the Wapakoneta Redskins were cruising on offense, Keaton Metz was involved Friday, as the junior not only returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown but also accounted for a passing, rushing and receiving touchdown.
Metz and the Redskins powered past a 45-13 win Friday over the Ottawa-Glandorf Titans in a Western Buckeye League varsity football contest at Titan Stadium in Ottawa.
After the hot start to Friday’s game, ignited by Metz’s 92-yard kickoff return, the Redskins cooled slightly before halftime but emerged in the second half and closed the door on the Titans.
With a 17-0 lead 18 minutes into the game, the Titans scored their first TD of the game and forced Wapak into three straight punts before halftime.
The Redskins, however, settled in after halftime and scored touchdowns on four of their first five possessions to pull away from O-G.
“I thought they played well in the first half,” Wapak varsity coach Doug Frye said. “We were worried about their quarterback. We didn’t play up to our capabilities.”
Wapak converted 6-of-6 fourth-down attempts Friday, some of them on the help of trick plays.
The first trick play came on Wapak’s first scoring drive, as a fake punt snapped to senior Zach Schmerge extended the drive which concluded with a 20-yard Bailey Hinegardner field goal, putting Wapak up 10-0.
Redskins junior quarterback Kodi Morgan scored Wapak’s next TD on a 1-yard rush. That scoring play was set up by a hook-and-lateral totaling 36 yards, with sophomore receiver Aaron Huffman catching a pass from Morgan before pitching the ball back to Metz.
The Titans found the scoreboard on the next series, as junior quarterback Logan Rieman broke a 45-yard TD run, cutting the deficit to 10 at 17-7, Wapak.
The Redskins punted three straight times to end the second quarter, while the Titans committed two turnovers on their final possessions before halftime.
An interception thrown by Rieman on the Titans’ second play from scrimmage after halftime set up of Wapak’s first TD of the second half.
On a 4th-and-6 from the O-G 20-yard line, Metz found a wide open Nate Posada in the end zone on another trick play.
Metz received a handoff from the play’s initial ball carrier, Logan Martin, who took a handoff from Morgan.
O-G answered on the next series, however, as Shane Schroeder ran it in from 2 yards out to make the score 24-13, Wapak.
That ended the Titans’ scoring while Wapak pulled away with three more second half touchdowns.
Metz scored on a 12-yard run on the next possession.
Schmerge added a 3-yard TD run two series later.
On a 4th-and-19, Metz scored his fourth TD of the game on a 31-yard pass from Morgan.
The Titans then turned the ball over on their final three possessions of the game and committed six turnovers in the loss.
Metz saw returning kicks against O-G as a challenge Friday.
“Coach told me the whole week that no team has ran the ball past the 31 against them on a kick return,” Metz said. “That got me ready to go. I caught the kick and I was ready to run. I wanted to break that record and possibly take it to the house.”
Metz had 120 yards receiving on four catches and contributed four TDs.
“I’ve got to see how he blocked,” Frye said sarcastically. “That’s how I evaluate him each week. He had a good night. We’ll see if he blocked anybody, and if he did, I’ll pat him on the back.”
Morgan totaled 150 passing yards and went 10-of-14.
Rieman countered with 202 passing yards and was O-G’s leading rusher at 94 yards.
“He’s a very good athlete,” Frye said. “We were concerned about him. He throws a good ball. When we had to, we played pretty good defense but we need to be more consistent on that side of the ball.”
Frye praised O-G’s effort Friday and commended his team for its second half performance.
“Let me give Ken Schriner and the Ottawa-Glandorf Titans a great deal of credit,” Frye said. “Their kids really scrapped tonight. They did a good job, and Ken should be proud of his kids’ effort.
“I’m proud of the our kids and how they handled things in the second half. It was a 17-7 ball game, and we started to get after it. We haven’t played third quarters real well all year, so that was good to see on the road.”
Frye commented on Wapak’s use of trick plays.
“We know that there are times that we’re going to have to pull some things out,” Frye said. “We have many more things to use if we want. Our kids executed them well. We practice them daily.
“They put a lot of people in the box, and it got people off of us,” he said.
Friday’s win was the Redskins’ fifth straight, as they moved to 6-1 overall and 5-1 in the WBL.
Wapak will play its final home game of the season next Friday against the St. Marys Roughriders (0-7, 0-6) in WBL action.
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Wapakoneta: Zach Schmerge 23-91; Keaton Metz 14-39; Logan Martin 7-30; Kodi Morgan 11-23; Dylan Kuehl 1-17; Cort Merricle 1-6; Jared Cockerell 2-(-1). Ottawa-Glandorf: Logan Rieman 14-94; Shane Schroeder 4-50; Brad Racer 3-22; Layton Donaldson 2-2; Zach Unterbrink 1-(-8).
Wapakoneta: Morgan 10-14 150; Metz 1-1 20. Ottawa-Glandorf: Rieman 14-37 202.
Wapakoneta: Metz 4-120; Nate Posada 2-26; Jon Eaton 1-10; Schmerge 2-9; Aaron Huffman 1-5. Ottawa-Glandorf: Blake Blevins 3-55; Tyler Zender 3-54; Zach Kuhlman 3-45; Sid Moening 3-25; #46 1-16; Racer 1-7.