By BRAD FRANK
The Wapakoneta Redskins overcame a rocky start to their scrimmage Saturday but settled down to show some positive outcomes, as Wapakoneta topped the Minster Wildcats, 21-14, in three quarters of football.
Quarterbacks were not subject to live tackling in Friday’s scrimmage, as officials’ whistles often blew with the QBs sitting in the pocket or scrambling for yardage.
Kicks and punts were allowed but blocking and tackling on returns were not.
The Redskins punted on their first two drives. After the second punt, Minster converted a 3rd and 7, as quarterback Josh Nixon found Eli Wolf over the middle for a 62-yard touchdown connection.
Wapakoneta responded appropriately.
The Redskins matched Minster’s TD with a 14-play, 80-yard scoring drive.
Wapakoneta picked up four first downs on the drive, which spilled into the second quarter.
The last play of the first quarter was a Kodi Morgan to Adam Henderson 14-yard completion for a first down at the Minster 12-yard line.
Three plays later, on a 4th and 2, the Redskins’ Keaton Metz plunged into the end zone on his sixth carry of the drive.
Tristan Meyer converted the PAT kick, tying the game at 7-7.
“Any time we give up a score, it’s important we answer that score,” Wapakoneta coach Travis Moyer said. “I thought we did a good job of that. We got off to an inconsistent start, offensively.
“It was a pretty long drive that we sustained, so, obviously, that was positive. That was key in terms of getting that score. To me, in this day and age, it shows we’re getting a little bit better at execution. We have to execute a high level.”
After the Redskins’ first scoring drive, Morgan was 5 for 5 with completions to four different receivers.
The two teams exchanged punts after Wapakoneta’s touchdown.
On its next drive, Minster punted again, setting up the Redskins’ next score.
Metz began the 5-play scoring drive with a 21-yard run.
Wapakoneta put it in the end zone when Morgan heaved a deep ball to Henderson, who bobbled it briefly, secured the catch and crossed the goal line — a 46-yard pass play.
The Wildcats answered right back, however.
A defensive pass interference penalty put Minster at its 45-yard line with 45 seconds left in the second quarter.
On the ensuing first down, Nixon hit Bryce Schmiesing along the sideline, and Schmiesing broke a couple tackles and raced into the end zone.
Jason Schultz’s PAT tied the game at 14-14.
Moyer commented on his team’s defense allowing two long pass plays for touchdowns.
“That’s something we’ve got to clean up,” the coach said. “We can’t allow that to happen, especially on the last one’s down and distance. We need to understand the time and the situation of the game.
“The two scores we gave up were long plays. We’ve got to eliminate those.”
Wapakoneta took possession with 35 seconds left before halftime, running the ball twice to end the half.
In the third quarter, the Redskins’ second unit took the field against Minster’s starters still in the game.
Wapakoneta sophomore Landon Hall broke off a 78-yard run in the third quarter.
The Redskins’ defense kept Minster off the scoreboard in the third as well.
Moyer was most impressed by his team’s performance in the third quarter.
“We played exceptional, defensively and offensively,” he said .”We tell our guys “you’re one play away from being a starter on Friday night.” I thought that was a great experience, getting that time underneath the lights.”
In one half of play, Metz led Wapakoneta in rushing with 53 yards on 7 carries, Morgan went 8 of 9 passing for 110 yards. Henderson was the top receiver with 3 catches for 70 yards.
“Our pass game is a work in progress right now,” Moyer said. “It’s nowhere near where we want it to be. We’ve got to continue to do a good job of throwing, catching and protecting. We have to be more consistent in that area. I throw around the word consistency. We have to be more consistent team. “We’ve got to expect, every time we step on the field, we need all 11 working as one. We have to continue to take steps getting better.”
Wapakoneta will begin its 2014 campaign in the first of three straight road games, starting with a visit to the newly turfed stadium and the Bellefontaine Chieftains.View more articles in: