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September 20, 2018

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Ada to host Paulding Fri

By Cort Reynolds

ADA - The Ada football team will try to bounce back from a disappointing loss at Crestview when they host last-place Paulding in a Northwest Conference must-win contest Friday.


Last weekend's 49-21 defeat at Crestview all but eliminated the Bulldogs from realistic NWC title contention. Ada trails league leader Spencerville (4-0) by two full games with three left, and is also a game behind Delphos Jefferson and Crestview (each 3-1).


"We didn't play very well," said Ada fifth-year head coach Bob Olwin (31-21) of the loss at Crestview. "Their kids made some plays, we didn't play fast and we looked tentative tackling."


Ada (4-3, 2-2 NWC) got outscored 29-7 over the last two-plus quarters at Crestview after seemingly getting back into the game. "We got within 20-14, and then they returned a kickoff," lamented Olwin.


"Our offensive line gave up too much pressure and our special teams didn't play well, we gave up two kickoff return touchdowns. We didn't go over there with the right attitude to play," he summed up.


On the verge of its first league win since 2010 last weekend, Paulding (1-6, 0-4 NWC) led 6-0 almost the entire game at home vs. Allen East. But the tough-luck Panthers ended up losing a 7-6 heartbreaker late to the Mustangs.


"They drive the ball pretty well against everybody I have seen on film," said Olwin of Paulding. "They put together some long drives but usually end up hurting themselves with a bad snap or some type of mistake (to keep from scoring). Offensively, they are not quite as talented as last year."


He said the Panthers run primarily a ground-oriented offense.


"They are a running team, their quarterback keeps it a lot and will run right at you. They have some athletes. They are not flashy - they will give you some different formations and unbalanced line looks, but they still run the same four or five basic plays."


The lone Panther win this season came in week three at non-league rival Antwerp, 46-23. Paulding has been outscored 127-34 in league play over the last four weeks, and has lost 48 straight conference games.


"Defensively, Paulding is improved from last year," said Olwin. "They show you about four different defensive fronts. They are playing and tackling better. They are pretty aggressive against the run and tackle in space better than in the past. They are starting to blitz more."


The Bulldogs whipped Paulding 49-20 last year and shut out the Panthers 44-0 in 2015, their last trip to War Memorial Stadium. In 2014 Ada crushed the Panthers 61-14. In 2013, Olwin's first season at the helm, the Bulldogs whipped Paulding 30-6.


The Bulldogs have won 12 in a row vs. the Panthers. Their last defeat to Paulding came in 2004 on the road by a 26-21 count. It was the last season Ada finished behind Paulding in the NWC standings.


Ada remained seventh in the Div. IV, region 22 computer rankings after its loss to the Knights. The Bulldogs are 1-1 at home and finished the regular season 3-2 on the road. Five of their first seven games were away, thus the last three upcoming games are all at home.


Their final three opponents are a combined 6-15, but Ada can't overlook any opponent at this point. The Bulldogs are tied for fourth with Bluffton at 2-2 in the NWC. The rival Pirates come to Ada for week nine, followed by Allen East.


"We have a three-game season left," Olwin summed up. "We have to get after it and compete longer. We will have to go 7-3 to make the playoffs."