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February 28, 2020

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Bearcats stymie injury-plagued Ada gridders

Two-time defending NWC champs offensive line won the battle up front

By Cort Reynolds
SPENCERVILLE - The injury-plagued Ada football team fell behind 21-0 early and lost 58-14 at two-time defending league champion Spencerville in a Northwest Conference contest on a chilly Friday night.

The purple and gold fell to 2-4 overall and 1-2 in NWC play with the defeat. Spencerville improved to 4-2 and 3-0 in league action after their Homecoming win.

"Spencerville's offensive line won the battle up front," said Ada head coach Shawn Christopher. "We gave up field position and they took advantage of that.

"I was very happy with our offensive line play and we continue to get better every week up there," he continued. "I am proud of those guys. We had to play a bunch of younger guys too that all jumped in, played very hard and got valuable experience."

Injuries took a toll on Ada as six Bulldogs went down, missing significant time. "That really hurt," said the coach. Seniors Landon Blankenship, Logan Conrad and Phil Coulson all were sidelined, as were sophomores Keagan Hull and Cayden Murphy. Ty Miller also injured his hand but finished the game.

With four games remaining, Christopher said Blankenship and Coulson could be out of action for at least a few weeks.

Spencerville took the opening kickoff and scored quickly in just two plays. Senior back Joel Lotz ripped off a long run on the initial play. Sophomore back Gunner Grigsby then scampered in to score from 35 yards out.

The extra point kick missed to keep the margin at 6-0.

After a three-and-out Ada possession, Ty Miller's punt rolled 54 yards to the Bearcat 29. Freshman back Braden Bowers chewed up two long runs to help the hosts reach the Bulldog 15.

Two Lotz runs netted 12 yards, and Bowers covered the final three yards on a TD run with 8:10 left in the first period. The two-point conversion run by Bowers made the score 14-0.

Ada took over at its own 30 and put together a solid drive. But on fourth and 11, a Brandon Hull keeper came up just short to turn it over on downs to the Bearcats near their own 30.

A long cutback run by Lotz run with a Bulldog penalty tacked on put the ball on the Bulldog 15. A facemask flag was offset later by a Bearcat penalty. On fourth and short at the four, Grigsby found paydirt on another run with 62 seconds to go in the first period.

The point after kick advanced the lead to 21-0.

Ada took possession at its own 38 and struck back quickly. On second down, Zac Swaney snagged a slant pass, broke a tackle and sprinted to the end zone for a 60-yard TD with 18 seconds still left in the opening stanza.

Spencerville took over near midfield and drove 52 yards to paydirt on seven runs. A 15-yard rush by Grigsby reached the Ada 23. Two plays later, Lotz rumbled in off the right side for a 21-yard scoring scamper.

The PAT kick made it 28-6 with 8:27 left in the half.

Ada started on it own 15 following the ensuing kickoff. A 30-yard run by Keagan Hull and an unsportsmanlike penalty added on gave Ada the ball at the Bearcat 43.

Brandon Hull converted a third and seven with his legs. Then on third and nine, he scrambled and found Daniel Mattson for a fine 10-yard grab to keep the chains moving.

On third and nine, Swaney made an eight-yard grab. On fourth and one Brandon Hull broke two tackles and muscled his way 11 yards into the end zone. He then ran in the two-point conversion to cut the deficit to 28-14.

However, Lotz took the ensuing kickoff and ran it all the way back to the Bulldog six. One play later Grigsby bowled past two defenders and crossed the goal line on a rugged six-yard run with 2:04 to go in the half.

The two-point conversion run gave the Bearcats a 36-14 cushion.

After a good kickoff return, Ada was soon faced with fourth and four. Hull's pass was deflected to turn it over on downs at the Bearcat 42.

Lotz quickly scurried 14 yards. A pass from freshman signal-caller Josh Henline to 6-3 sophomore Eli Harter gained 24 yards inside the Ada 20.

After an intetnionally spiked incompletion, Henline delivered an 18-yard aerial strike to an open Harter in the left corner of the end zone for a touchdown with just 10 ticks left in the half. The two-point conversion was good to extend the lead to 44-14.

Hull's last-ditch bomb to end the second period was deflected and intercepted by Tyler Koenig as time expired.

An underthrown pass very early in the third period was intercepted at the Spencerville 45. A five-yard Grigsby run was followed by a Lotz rush for seven yards. On fourth and three Grigsby converted to move the chains with a power run.

On fourth and two from the Ada 18, Grigsby plowed his way for five yards. Lotz then hit paydirt on a six-yard run and the extra point kick barely went through the uprights to provide a 51-14 bulge.

Ada drove downfield with freshman Colby Curtis pulling down a short pass. Bulldog QB Brandon Hull faked out a defender, then stiff-armed another to move the chains.

But a fourth down pass fell incomplete to turn the ball over on downs. The Bearcats scored one last TD to increase the lead to 58-14 with 5:25 left to play.

"Brandon Hull is continuing to grow in his leadership and we will rely on that as we go forward," said Christopher.

The loss also dealt Ada's slim playoff chances a severe blow. They would have to win their last four games to have a legitimate shot at making the post-season for the 12th time in the last 14 seasons.

    1    2    3    4    F
Ada    6    8    0    0    14    
Svl    21    23    7    7    58

Notes and stats
Ada turned the ball over two times while the Bearcats had no miscues.

Ada has been outscored by its opposition 289-216 this season, a 48.8 to 42.7 points per game average margin. The Bulldogs went scoreless in the second half at Spencerville after scoring 138 points over the previous 10 quarters.

It was the sixth straight win for the Bearcats over the Bulldogs. Ada has allowed 198 points in the last three games (66.0 ppg).

Unofficially, the Bulldogs slid to 21st in the Region 23 computer rankings for Div. VI with the loss. Spencerville is 10th.

Ada hosts Grove Friday
By Cort Reynolds

ADA - The high-powered Ada football team hosts fellow Bulldogs Columbus Grove Friday in a week seven Homecoming battle.

Grove edged visiting Crestview 24-20 to knock the Knights from a first-place tie in the NWC during week six. Two-time defending champion Spencerville sits alone atop the NWC standings at 3-0 after beating Ada in week six.

Ada lost at Spencerville 58-14 to drop to 2-4 overall and 1-2 in NWC play.

CG stands 3-3 overall and is tied for second place with Allen East and Crestview at 2-1 in the NWC race. Unofficially, Grove rates 11th in the Div. VI, Region 23 rankings while Ada is 21st.

Ada is 0-2 at home so far while CG is 2-1 on the road. After a season-opening 32-18 win at Pandora-Gilboa, Grove lost three in a row to Leipsic (28-14), Patrick Henry (33-21) and AE (14-11).

CG then whipped Paulding 47-9 to earn their first league win before knocking off Crestview.

Ada lost at Grove 56-7 last year. In 2017 at War Memorial Stadium, the purple and gold shut out CG 37-0.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Friday night at War Memorial Stadium.