Cougar sophomore Owen Treece tip-toeing down the line during the Cougars route over Elida. Treece threw a touchdown pass in the second half. (DHI Media/ Reid Maus.)
Cougar sophomore Owen Treece tip-toeing down the line during the Cougars route over Elida. Treece threw a touchdown pass in the second half. (DHI Media/ Reid Maus.)
VAN WERT — High octane is seeming to fit this Van Wert Cougar offense, as you would have to go back a month to find the last time they didn’t score at least 39 points, and for the second straight week they top 50 as they beat the visiting Elida Bulldogs 52-19 to improve their record to 5-2 on the season.

A year ago the Cougars were able to scratch out a five win season, and they’ve done it again in 2018— with three games left on the schedule. They were able to dominate the game Friday from the first snap as Nate Place rushes for five touchdowns in the first half alone. Which has to be a Van Wert record, right?

“These last four weeks we have really been clicking,” said Van Wert head Keith Recker of his team’s offensive performance as of late. “We have been so consistent with our line-up which as been huge. It’s the same guys up front with our offensive line and those guys are really getting it done. You have a guy like Nate [Place] back there, I’ve said this the last few weeks and all year really, he gives us so much confidence.”

That confidence rolled tonight as in the first half, the only drive the Cougars didn’t score a touchdown was when they took over with just over a minute left in the second quarter. Even then, the home squad still moved the ball well down field.

In fact Place was able to have six scores on the day, five by himself on the ground and one in the air. The first touchdown scored when Place led the Cougars 94 yards in under three minutes, capped off by a 29 touchdown run, which by the way was only his third longest of the evening.

Though the Cougars steam-rolled over the Bulldogs, Coach Recker was cautious of Elida threats offensively.

“Their offense worried me because of the skill guys they had,” said Recker. “The first drive you could kind of see why. To get an interception on that first drive, and then come down and score really set the tone and made sure we knew how this game was going to go.”

Elida started off with the ball, and right from the get-go performed a trick on the kick-off that put the Bulldogs in good field position. Elida junior Keyshawn Spivey received the kick off marched up a few yards and passed the ball across the field to senior Arzaiah Little which got the ball to mid-field for the Bulldogs.

Elida slowly worked their way up the field led by freshman Evan Unruh. Unruh on 1st and goal from the five dropped back to pass and immediately felt pressure from the vicious Cougar defensive line. Unruh, rolling right, threw again his body to the left side of the field where junior Parker Conrad picked off the pass and let the Cougars start their offensive route.

After both team’s first drives the Cougars didn’t stop. Place connected with junior Tanner Barnhart for a 13 yard touchdown pass with 2:40 left to play in the first quarter. A quick three and out for Elida gave the Cougars the ball back and Place scored on the first play of the drive for a 30 yard rushing touchdown.

Van Wert scored once more in first quarter when Place ran for his longest play of the game— a 51 yard touchdown.

The final two scores for Place were more modest as he scored with a five yard run and a 25 yard run. All of these touchdowns were scored in the first 16 minutes of play.

“[Place] can score from anywhere on the field,” said Recker of his star quarterback. “To have a guy in the backfield like that, and to have a line playing well up front is huge.”

Elida offense wasn’t barren in the first half, as they were able to get the ball in the end zone when Unruh connected with Little for a 58 yard touchdown. The Bulldogs also scored in the second half when Unruh threw a seven yard pass.

Besides Place’s six scores the Cougars got on the board when Jake Hillary rushed the ball right down the field and scored on a three yard punch in. Owen Treece took over quarterback duties in the second half and connected with Drew Johnson for a 21 yard score. This all culminated in a final score of 52-14.

Those the Cougars have tied their win total from last season, their eyes are on something much larger.

“I really like where we are at right now,” said Recker of his team. “We are just trying to stay grounded, as it wasn’t too long ago where we weren’t in this position. The team said right before they broke that we aren’t going to make the playoffs with five wins, so we have to keep pushing forward and try to get win number six.”