You are here

Cardinals run past Bulldogs in opener

Ada travels to Arlington on Friday

By Cort Reynolds
ADA - Visiting New Bremen scored touchdowns on six of its eight first half possessions, and rolled to a 51-21 win at Ada in the non-conference season opener Friday night at War Memorial Stadium.

The Bulldogs fell to 0-1 play with the loss, while NB improved to 1-0 after winning the first meeting between the two schools.

"They dominated us up front, it is no secret that was the story of the game," said Bulldog second-year head coach Shawn Christopher. "With the two turnovers and a (near) pick six, it got away from us quickly.

"Without those plays it is still a game at halftime instead of 41-7," he added.

NB rolled up 420 yards rushing and scored six touchdowns on the ground. The Cardinals averaged nearly 11 yards per carry.

Ada had a chance to capitalize on an early turnover when a Cardinal player ran into a bouncing punt. Hustling Bulldog senior Dylan East recovered at the NB 45 to give Ada first down in Cardinal territory.

But on third and one the Bulldogs fumbled the ball back to NB.

Three runs by quick back Zach Bertke netted 24 yards. On third and 13 with the defense expecting a pass, quarterback Mitchell Hays dropped back, then sprinted up the middle on a designed run. The speedy Hays out-sprinted everyone 44 yards to paydirt.

The extra point kick by Owen Gabel put the visitors on top 7-0 with 6:43 left in the first period.

Ada took over at its 31 but after one first down was forced to punt. NB started on its own 29 and marched 71 yards to score in just 73 seconds. On the third play, junior Wyatt Dicke broke free off left tackle and scampered 61 yards to the end zone.

A two-point conversion pass failed, keeping the margin at 13-0 with 3:44 to go in the opening stanza.

Zac Swaney weaved his way 32 yards on the ensuing kickoff to give Ada good field position. A facemask penalty moved the Bulldogs into Cardinal territory. But a third down sack of Brandon Hull by Dan Homan stymied the drive, and Ty Miller punted 38 yards.

The Ada defense stuffed NB and took over at the Card 47 after a punt. On fourth and one the Bulldogs committed a costly false start penalty. Yet on fourth and six Hull kept the ball and ran for five yards, then swerved out of bounds just short of the first down.

NB gained possession at its own 33 and covered 67 yards in five plays to score quickly again. On third and four Bertke scurried 26 yards, and a facemask penalty tacked on 15 more yards to the Ada 20.

Patrick Wells made a sliding 18-yard grab of a Hays pass to the Ada two. Hays then kept it up the middle for a two-yard TD run and a 20-0 cushion with 10:06 left in the half.

Swaney gave the Bulldog fans something to cheer about when he received the ensuing kickoff and cut to the left sideline, where he out-ran the Cardinal defense for an 80-yard TD return.

Phillip Coulson's extra point kick cut the deficit to 20-7 with 9:53 to go in the half.

But just as quickly NB regained the momentum when Bertke snared the following kickoff and returned it 85 yards down the left side to paydirt himself.

The rare back-to-back kickoff return TDs stymied whatever positive flow Ada had generated just seconds before, and quieted the fans.

Christopher said he considered trying an on-sides kick after the Swaney return, but he had not seen NB return kicks live before and was thus wary of gambling at that point. "Their touchdown return deflated us a little bit," he admitted.

Just 20 seconds after the Swaney score, NB led 27-7 following the extra point kick. A 10-yard run by Keagan Hull gave Ada a first down on its next drive.

But then Cardinal cornerback Nick Alig anticipated a screen pass, picked it off and returned it all the way to the Bulldog one.

Two plays later, Bertke plunged in off right tackle for a 34-7 bulge with 7:12 to go in the second stanza.

Hull then fumbled while carrrying the ball one-handed on a fake option play, and Dicke recovered at the Ada 33. However, this time the Bulldog defense stopped NB a yard short of a first down when Hays scrambled out of bounds on fourth and five at the 14.

Will McBride snared two Hull aerials, and Swaney hauled in a 10-yard pass to move Ada out of bad field position. But NB eventually forced a punt and took over at its own 41 with 83 seconds left in the half.

Dicke then broke a couple of tackles and sped up the left sideline 52 yards to the Ada 10, with only a tackle by Coulson preventing a TD temporarily.

Hays kept the ball for six yards to the one. On the next play he leaped high over a pile in the middle of the line for a one-yard touchdown with 17 seconds left in the half. The extra point extended the lead to 41-7.

Coulson ran the kickoff back to the Ada 40. Swaney caught a 25-yard pass with one second left in the half, but time ran out before the purple and gold could go any further.

"Other than the turnovers, we had a couple plays that hurt us in the first half on offense," said Christopher. "The penalty on fourth and one was big. Coming up just short out of bounds on their 33 also hurt."

The fired-up Bulldog defense forced a three and out possession by NB to open the second half. Ada then drove 72 yards in just four plays to score. A 25-yard pass to Coulson sparked the march.

Hull then connected with Daniel Mattson on a pretty 26-yard spiral for a TD in the right corner of the end zone. Coulson's PAT try missed wide left to keep it at 41-13 with 6:22 left in the third period.

NB responded with a 74-yard, six-play drive to paydirt. A 20-yard run by Bertke around left end ignited the march. Dicke then broke some tackles on a 10-yard TD run at the 3:17 mark to make it 48-13.

"They really beat us up up front," summed up Christopher. "That and the turnovers essentially decided the outcome."

A sack thwarted the next Ada possession. A long Cardinal run by Colten Muether to the Bulldog 10 set up a 23-yard field goal by Gabel that built the margin to 51-13.

Hull led Ada on an 85-yard scoring march as time wound down with the running clock in effect. McBride caught two long passes for a total of 57 yards. Hull then scrambled 17 yards to paydirt with 49 seconds remaining.

Hull also ran untouched into the right side of the end zone for a two-point conversion that provided the final margin of 30 points.

Ada outscored NB 14-10 after intermission.

"I was really happy with how the kids came back and battled in the second half," offered Christopher. "We played hard and enthusiastically. We will use the second half as a springboard into week two. It is a long season, and we will continue to build."

    1    2    3    4    F
Ada    0    7    6    8    21
NB    13    28    7    3    51

Notes, quotes and stats
Both teams ran 46 plays but NB out-gained Ada in total yardage, 438-223. The Cards averaged 9.5 yards per play to 4.8 by the Bulldogs. They racked up 20 first downs to 10 by Ada.

NB rushed 39 times for 420 yards (10.8 per play). Dicke led a diverse rushing attack with 138 yards and two scores on just five carries. Bertke ruhed 11 times for 83 yards and one TD.

Hays ran seven times for 69 yards and three scores. Muether added 64 yards on just four runs. Hays completed just one of seven passes for 18 yards.  

Hull completed 19 of 25 passes for 193 yards and one TD with one interception. He also rushed for 13 yards. Keagan Hull led Ada with 17 yards on four rushes.

McBride topped the Bulldogs with five catches for 72 yards. Swaney pulled down five aerials for 51 yards. Coulson caught seven balls for 36 yards. Mattson had one reception for the 26-yard TD.
"Will McBride grew up tonight," said Christopher. "He led us in receiving yards in his first game as a freshman."

Swaney amassed 146 yards on five kickoff returns, a 29.2 average. Ada netted just 30 yards rushing on 21 tries, and added 193 yards in receptions.

Miller averaged 38.8 yards per kick on four punts.

NB was flagged six times for 55 yards while Ada committed four penalties for 40 yards. The Bulldogs committed three costly turnovers to one miscue by the Cards.

The visitors possessed the ball for 26:49 compared to 19:52 of time by Ada.

Ada visits non-league foe Arlington in week two. The Red Devils (1-0) crushed Riverdale 46-7 on the road in week one Friday night.

Arlngton beat the Bulldogs 37-6 last year in Ada but their standout quarterback and receiver graduated.

"Arlington will be a really tough game," said Christopher. "We just have to continue to get better and stay optimistic."

The NWC went 4-4 in non-league opening games with Allen East, Spencerville, Columbus Grove and Bluffon recording wins.


Stories Posted This Week