Levi Newell rushes for a touchdown on Friday night in Defiance. (DHI Media/Chris Howell)
Levi Newell rushes for a touchdown on Friday night in Defiance. (DHI Media/Chris Howell)

DEFIANCE - Van Wert entered Friday night’s game against Defiance with two things on their mind. Get a win against the Bulldogs, and get out of town 2-0 leading into their next game against Wapak. Mission accomplished on both fronts.

The Cougars set the tone of the game on their first drive, when Owen Treece tossed a 64 yard touchdown pass to Ian Cowan. Cowan tipped the ball to himself to complete a circus catch that fired up the Cougar sideline and gave his team the early lead.

“We got a few lucky plays in the first half, no question about it,” Van Wert Head Coach Keith Recker said following the game. “Owen does a great job of keeping plays alive, and we were able to get those breaks.”

Treece continued to make big plays throughout the night as he fueled the Cougars 32 point outburst by creating four out of Van Wert’s five touchdowns.

Defiance fought back after Van Wert’s opening score and tied the game up as time expired in the first quarter on quarterback keeper by Aaron Cruz.

“I think so much of Coach Kline and what he’s doing here at Defiance,” said Coach Recker. “He had his kids ready tonight.”

The Bulldogs battled in the early stages, but from this point on it was all Van Wert.

In the opening minutes of the second quarter, Levi Newell rushed for a four yard touchdown up the middle to give the Cougars the lead for good.

Treece follows up Newell’s touchdown with a 25 yard touchdown pass on the Cougars next drive to Connor Pratt.

The Cougars carried a 19-7 lead, and all the momentum of the game into the locker room at halftime

Throughout the third quarter, the Cougars continued to apply the pressure as the Bulldogs faded away.

Owen Treece scored his third touchdown of the night on a drive he set up with a lengthy punt return.

After the Cougars started on Defiance’s 39 yard line, it only took four plays for Van Wert to finish off the drive with a 25 yard touchdown pass from Owen Treece. The Van Wert signal caller passed for three touchdowns on the night.

The biggest loss of the night for Defiance may have come on the next drive as quarterback Aaron Cruz limped off the field with what appeared to be an injury to his right leg. No update was provided on Cruz’s injury following the game.

On Van Wert’s next drive, Treece capped off an incredible four touchdown night when he scored his lone rushing touchdown, running the ball 13 yards to the end zone to open up a commanding lead for the Cougars.

After the two teams traded possessions and ran the clock for most of the fourth quarter, the game ended with the Bulldogs staying win-less on the season, and the Cougars looking forward to carrying their momentum of a 2-0 record into a few big matchups in the coming weeks.

Following the game, Coach Recker was not yet looking forward to next week’s opponent, but couldn’t ignore the fact that the next couple of games would be big for his team.

“It’s huge to start 2-0. We have some tough games coming up in Wapakoneta and St Marys, so getting off to a good start was big for us. I think the team understood the importance of this game and we came out and played hard.”

Van Wert Individual Stats


Owen Treece 10/16 200yds 3TDs 1INT


Levi Newell 17ATT 85yds 1TD

Owen Treece 7ATT 25yds 1TD


Ian Cowan 2REC 89yds 2TDs

Tanner Barnhart 4REC 84yds


Parker Conrad 10

Tanner Barnhart 8

Turner Witten 7

Total Yards

Passing 200

Rushing 110