Maddix Crutchfield of Van Wert returns a kick against Defiance on Friday night. (DHI Media/Pat Agler)
Maddix Crutchfield of Van Wert returns a kick against Defiance on Friday night. (DHI Media/Pat Agler)

VAN WERT — Van Wert’s defense came up with another stellar effort Friday night, blanking Defiance 36-0. The Cougars are now 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the WBL. The Bulldogs are 1-2 and 0-2.

Van Wert was up 7-0 in the first 13 seconds (87-yard kickoff return by Maddix Crutchfield and PAT kick by Damon McCracken) and 14-0 within the first three minutes (45-yard pass from Aiden Pratt to Garett Gunter, PAT kick by McCracken). The Cougar scores wouldn’t come that explosively later on, but it was looking bad for the visitors at that point.

Defiance bounced right back, though, with a 66-yard, ten-play drive to the Cougar 10 but ran out of downs at that point. Van Wert then went 3-and-out, and a shanked punt set the Dogs up again, this time at the Cougar 27.

Again, the Van Wert defense held, and this time the offense launched a 79-yard, 13-play drive to reach pay dirt on a 3-yard run by Brylen Parker. McCracken’s kick made it 21-0 with 10:08 left in the second quarter.

Once again Defiance took off on a drive, starting from its own 40 and ending on the Van Wert 27 after running out of downs.

Pratt then hit on four straight passes to start a drive from the Cougar 27 to the Defiance 19, but an interception stopped that one.

The Dogs promptly returned the favor on an interception by Van Wert’s Reese Krugh. On the next play, Pratt threw a pinpoint pass into the corner of the end zone to Conner Campbell. McCracken’s kick had Van Wert up 28-0 with 2:01 left in the half, and that’s where it stood at the break.

Midway through the third period, Defiance again threatened, advancing all the way to the Cougar 6 before fumbling the ball over to the home team.

Starting from its own 3, Van Wert then reached paydirt again, the big plays being Pratt passes to Gunter (32 yards) and McCracken (18 yards), along with an 11-yard run by McCracken.

Parker ended it with a 5-yard TD run with 11:53 remaining in the fourth period. The snap on the conversion kick attempt went awry, but Parker threw a pass to Crutchfield in the back of the end zone to make it 36-0. That set the continuous clock in motion for the remainder of the game.

Another Bulldog drive ensued but this one ended at the Cougar 37. The only remaining highlight was a 50-yard run by Van Wert’s Briston Wise to the Defiance 13, but the Cougs got no farther.

Unofficially, Pratt ended up with 15 of 25 through the air, two TD’s, one interception. He ran the ball nine times for 51 yards. Wise had four carries for 54 yards. Gunter had five catches for 115 yards and one TD. Crutchfield caught five passes for 59 yards.

McCracken had a huge night — 4-for-4 PAT kicks, a pass interception, five carries for 31 yards, and a solid game at linebacker.

Defiance’s sophomore quarterback Brez Zipfel showed a strong arm — 16 of 31 passes for 149 yards, two interceptions.

Van Wert had 425 total offensive yards to Defiance’s 238.

Scoring summary

Def 0 0 0 0 - 0

VW 14 14 0 8 - 36

1st quarter

11:47 — Maddix Crutchfield — 87-yard kickoff return. PAT kick by Damon McCracken. 7-0.

9:33 — Garett Gunter — 45-yard pass from Aiden Pratt. PAT kick by McCracken. 14-0.

2nd quarter

10:08 — Brylen Parker — 3-yard run. PAT kick by McCracken. 21-0.

2:01 — Conner Campbell — 27-yard pass from Pratt. PAT kick by McCracken. 28-0.

4th quarter

11:53 — Parker — 5-yard run. Two-point PAT good — pass from Parker to Crutchfield. 36-0.


First downs: Def 13, VW 15

Rushing att/yds: Def 89, VW 173

Passing comp/att/int: Def 16/32/2, VW 15/25/1

Passing yds: Def 149, VW 252

Total yds: Def 238, VW 425