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September 28, 2021

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Ada falls to Vikings in NWC/home opener

By Cort Reynolds

Host Ada started off strongly but could not sustain against a talented Leipsic squad, losing 49-14 in the Northwest Conference and home grid opener on a warm Friday night.

A large and enthusiastic crowd helped the Bulldogs commemorate their first game on the new synthetic turf with a touchdown drive on the opening possession of play.

Ada drove 68 yards to paydirt in 10 plays to take a 7-0 lead.

But Leipsic answered with 21 unanswered points to end the first half ahead by 14. The Vikings then roared to 28 more second-half points in succession to build a 49-7 cushion.

Ada added a late TD for the final score.

The Bulldogs fell to 1-3 and 0-1 in the NWC with the defeat. Leipsic improved to 2-2 and 1-0 in the league with the win in their NWC debut.

"Our kids competed, that is what matters most," said first-year Ada head coach Toby Smith. "Leipsic physically outmatched us. They have good athletes who can make big plays. We can't overcome big mistakes." 

Ada senior quarterback Kadin Phipps connected with classmate wideout Cayden Murphy for a 33-yard reception on the first play from scrimmage of the game. 

Leipsic then appeared to stop Ada and Phipps on a fourth down scramble tackle for loss, but a facemask penalty kept the drive alive and advanced the ball to the Viking 13.

On third and 11, Phipps hit Murphy on a slant over the middle for a 14-yard TD strike.

Max Puerto's point after kick made it 7-0 Bulldogs with 7:24 left in the first period.

Leipsic answered with a 60-yard march of its own. But at the Bulldog one-yard line, they fumbled and Murphy recovered in the end zone for a touchback.

However, the momentum switched back on the very next play when Ada fumbled a pitchout to the Vikings at their own 15. A few plays later, Viking Fabian Pena scored on a three-yard TD run at the 2:34 mark. 

The extra point boot by Quin Schroeder tied it 7-7.

"We can't survive those types of mistakes," said Smith. "We don't have to be 100 percent perfect, but we have to play pretty darn clean to be able to compete."

Ada had to punt on its next drive and the Vikings took over at their own 25. On fourth and two, Pena converted a clutch five-yard run. 

Schroeder then got behind the Ada secondary, caught a Dillan Niese slant at the 40 and broke a lunging, desperation Ada tackle attempt. 

Schroeder then sped the rest of the way untouched for a 56-yard catch and carry TD with 9:01 left in the half. The PAT put the visitors ahead for good, 14-7.

The Bulldogs drove to the Leipsic 40 on their next possession with the aid of a targeting penalty. But the march stalled after a third down sack, and Ada had to punt.

Leipsic drove 78 yards on five plays to score its third straight touchdown. On fourth and two at their own 44, Niese fooled the defense with a good fake handoff, kept the ball and sprinted around right end 56 yards to the end zone.

The PAT with 2:25 to go in the half extended the lead to 21-7. Ada put together a few first downs on its next drive, but time ran out for intermission.

Leipsic scored quickly to start half two as they took complete command. Hayden Hiegel scampered 20 yards on the first play of the third period. 

Niese then launched a long pass that Trent Siefker made a nice finger-tip catch of, and he covered the rest of the 46 yards for another TD. 

Just 26 seconds into the second half the Vikings had advanced their lead to 28-7.

After a quick Ada three-and-out possession, Leipsic drove 79 yards to paydirt in 11 plays. A 14-yard Hiegel reception moved Leipsic to first and goal territory.

Pena then scurried into score from seven yards out to make it 35-7 with 4:47 to go in the third period. 

Just 91 seconds later, Phipps was hit for a loss and fumbled on a third down run to give the Vikings the ball at the Bulldog 32.

On the next play, Hiegel sprinted down the right sideline past a deflated Ada defense into the end zone untouched to balloon the margin to 42-7 with three minutes left.

The next Ada drive resulted in a punt that was blocked by Viking Seth Apple, and Leipic took over at the Ada 13 with 11:40 remaining.

Three plays later Mike Jimenez scored on a six-yard TD run at the 9:55 mark. The seventh PAT kick by Schroeder extended the lead to 49-7.

"We had a little lull there and had a chance to fold, but we didn't," Smith noted. "We could have quit but we kept playing. We were able to score a touchdown on our last drive, and that is a positive we can carry into next week."

Ada drove 62 yards to paydirt on its last drive. Phipps ran for seven yards to ignite the march, followed by a Casen Jones six-yard run off a pitchout.

Phipps broke several tackles on a 14-yard rush, then followed that with a 17-yard run. 

Jalee Bolden ran for six yards to the Viking 12. Jones then rumbled 12 yards off left tackle for a touchdown with 6:06 left to play. Puerto's second extra point provided the final score.

"We are a work in progress," said Smith. "Every repetition and every game is important for us. That game is over now, so we want to learn from it and become better."

1 2 3 4 F

Ada 7 0 0 7 14

Leip 7 14 21 7 49


Ada has given up 155 points (38.7 ppg) and scored 68 (17.0 ppg) in four games this season.

The Bulldogs dropped from 14th to 16th in the early, unofficial Div. VII Region 26 standings after the loss.

Ada to entertain Bluffton Friday

Ada welcomes once-beaten local rival Bluffton to War Memorial Stadium Friday for a Northwest Conference battle in week five. 

After a 3-0 start, the Pirates (3-1, 0-1 NWC) lost 35-14 at Spencerville Friday in their NWC lidlifter to suffer their first loss.

"Bluffton is a good squad," said Smith. "Our goal is to become better each week, and do everything we can to be 1-0 each week.

"We want to be competitive with Bluffton and beat them if we can," he added. 

Kickoff for the second straight home game at War Memorial Stadium is set for 7 p.m.