in the state playoff race while at the same time keeping an eye on the
Northern Lakes League title chase. Under these pressures, the two teams
met Friday but it was Perrysburg that emerged victorious, 15-6, in a
game plagued by turnovers and penalties.
Early in the contest a glimpse of the type of evening that it was to be was provided by both teams. The Wildcats, playing without their workhorse running back, Casey Meredieth, jumped out early and looked impressive in driving the ball against a stingy Perrysburg defense. But as the Wildcats neared the Yellow Jacket goal line the Jackets toughened and eventually an interception stalled the drive. Perrysburg took over the ball at its own 3 yard line.
Deep in its own territory, Perrysburg was unable move the ball. Complicating matters further, the Jackets committed the first of their six turnovers only a few plays later when tailback Taylor Dimmerling coughed up the ball and Northview junior Antonio Saenz recovered it. This time, however, the Wildcats offense was ineffective and they were forced to attempt a 27-yard field goal that missed right.
After exchanging possessions, a second Yellow Jacket fumble set up the Wildcats for the game’s first scoring action. With only 15 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Northview’s Mike Epstein fell on the first of his two fumble recoveries on the night and his Wildcat teammates did the rest as they scored a few plays later when sophomore running back Torrence Garland plunged over from the 4 yard line. The Wildcats’ conversion attempt was blocked and the home team led 6-0.
On their subsequent possession, the Yellow Jackets turned in their best team effort of the night. In a game marked by a lack of execution and mistakes, and called “God awful” by Perrysburg head coach xx Kregel, the Yellow Jackets sustained a drive that ate up six minutes and covered 78 yards. But all the Jackets had to show for their efforts was a 22-yard field goal by Tyler Boone.
Two minutes later, Jacket junior Brandon Butler stepped up and turned a Northview fumble into a game changing opportunity. Butler, who spends most of his time blocking for teammate Taylor Dimmerling, took a fumble by Northview that bounced right into his arms, and raced 43 yards for the Jackets first touchdown.
Said Kregel: “(Brandon is) the toughest human being on the face of the earth, I’ll tell you that right now. He is everything for our team.”
The ensuing conversion attempt was missed on the first attempt but a Northview penalty afforded the Jackets a second chance. This time the kick was blocked.
With only 35 seconds remaining in the first half the Wildcats had another opportunity to put points on the board when Mike Epstein recovered still another Jacket fumble. The Wildcats’ offense, however, continued its ineffectiveness and missed a 29 yard field goal with time expiring. Perrysburg led 9-6 at the break.
As ugly as the first half was, the second half was just as hideous. The only score came at the 3:59 mark of the third quarter on a well-executed pass play involving Jacket quarterback Derrick Garcia and wide receiver Tim Mishka. For the third time in the evening, the conversion attempt was blocked and Perrysburg took a 15-6 advantage into the fourth quarter that would prove to be insurmountable for the Wildcats.
Northview, which entered the game short handed due to injuries, never mounted any offensive threat in the second half. Having lost starting quarterback Ryan Yockey to injury in the second quarter the Cats were forced to play with back-up quarterback Ryan Kremchek.
“I give our kids a lot of credit. I am very proud of them,” Northview head coach Eric Keller said. “They played with a lot of heart and they played with a lot of effort. … Obviously you have a JV tailback and a JV quarterback in a varsity football game it is going to be hard to move the football against a very solid defense that is 5-1. So, it is devastating”
Perrysburg’s win improves to 6-1 overall and 2-1 in the NLL while Northview drops to 4-2, 1-2.