Wildcat junior Derek Snep snags an Alex Stoddard pass over Wawasee's Camron Erb in the first half Friday for a large gain.
Photo by Phil Smith/www.htsphotographics.com
By MIKE KRAUSE
The Wildcats won the coin toss and chose to receive the ball in the season opening football game with the Wawasee High School Warriors, Friday, August 20.
Scott Skiles fielded the kick-off and returned the ball 15 yards. Dakota Harmon then rushed for 14 yards, followed by a 7-yard reception by Derek Snep and a first down on a keeper by quarterback Alex Stoddard. The game’s first penalty was a face mask call on the Warriors. On third and 14, Stoddard barely missed his target, Darek Snep deep in the end zone. On the following Warriors possession, No. 35, Treavor McKibbon, broke free for a 25-yard gain with Stoddard making a tackle, averting a sure touchdown. On the next several series, both teams sporadically moved the football, with Snep catching a 30 yarder only to see the drive stall, followed by another good gain of twenty yards by McKibben for the Warriors.
The momentum seemed to shift on a blocked punt and recovery by Austin Striggle. This drive was cut short by two penalites, a holding call and a “chop block” called on the Wildcats.
The Warriors went four and out and then the Wildcats took control of the line, controlled the ball for nearly five minutes with two more receptions by Derek Snep, a major face mask call on the Warriors and several tough yards and ultimate touchdown by Dakota Harmon. Benjamin Bryan kicked the extra point with 11 seconds to go in the half putting the ‘Cats on the board 7-0.
The second half was all Wildcats on both sides of the ball. Key tackles were made by Austin Letourneau, DJ Fouce, Stoddard and Striggle. On Offense, the next drive by the Wildcats consumed most of the second quarter with a diversified running attack by Fouce, Stoddard, Harmon, Scott Skiles and the drive’s only reception; a touchdown to Austin Mort. The extra point was good giving the Wildcats a 14-0 lead with 2:43 to go in the third quarter. The Wildcats defense dug in and the Warriors were four and out for the rest of the game. The Wildcats again consumed most of the fourth quarter with an effective ground game. Fouce, Harmon and Stoddard each had good gains, with Stoddard scoring on a slant with the aid of some good blocking. Wildcats 20 -Warriors 0.
With three minutes to go, the second string added additional yards with a nifty run by Ian Pherigo.
After the game, Coach Wayne Swender indicated there was room for improvement “especially by cutting down on mistakes.” The Wildcats had three funbles, and recovered them all, and six penalties for 63 yards. Coach Swender did seem cautiously optimistic looking forward.
The Warriors Coach, Tom Wogomon, summed up the game noting the Wildcats were faster and frankly, “beat us up pretty bad. “They played downhill,” he said. The coach did indicate that his experienced players on the line were not very sharp tonight. Offensively, Treavor McKibben rushed for 60 of the Warrior’s 85 yards.
The game’s stats were lopsided as the Wildcats consumed most of the clock, with 299 yards verses 85 for the Warriors. Defensively, the Wildcats had four sacks lead by two for Striggle and 41 tackles lead by Fouce, Striggle and Harmon. Perhaps equally impressive was 11 other players combined for nearly half of all tackles.
The next game will be Friday, August 27 at 7 pm at home against arch rival Columbia City.