ADA, OHIO – Another Friday night another win for the Columbus Grove Bulldogs.
Following the storms that rolled through last weekend, the Columbus Grove Bulldogs traveled to Ada War Memorial this weekend expecting a fight from their conference nemesis in Ada who had beaten Grove 7 of the past 10 meetings, and a fight is exactly what they got.
Columbus Grove won the toss and deferred to the second half, so it would be the Ada Bulldogs who would get the football to open the game looking to get on the scoreboard early following a 42-0 loss to Spencerville last weekend. Making just his 3rd start at Quarterback, 5’11 Freshman Seth Conley lead a Bulldogs drive that began at their own 27 yard line and went 8 plays but stalled at the Columbus Grove 27 when his 4th down pass fell incomplete.
Joey Warnecke wasted no time getting his Bulldogs onto the scoreboard as he capped off a 7 play 66 yard drive over that spanned 2:49 by bursting in from 36 yards out for his first of two touchdown runs on the day to put Grove in the drivers seat 7-0 early following a successful PAT by Warnecke himself.
Ada picked up where they left off on their previous drive as Conley tossed his 5th touchdown pass of the season, a 15 yarder to 6’3 Sophomore wideout Owen Conley to tie things up at 7 with 2:09 left in the first stanza.
On their next possession, Columbus Grove utilized a 9 play drive to get their offense from their own 25 out to midfield before they were forced to punt for the first time in the contest. Joey Warnecke’s punt was muffed by the Ada return man however and Columbus Grove pounced on the football at the Ada 13 before being forced to settle for a 28 yard field goal by Warnecke to put the score at 10-7 Grove.
Following a punt by Ada, Grove got the ball at their opponents 49 yard line but an errant throw by Sophomore QB Reid Stechschulte was returned 57 yards for a touchdown by Luke Long-Green of Ada and gave the home crowd a 14-10 advantage to cheer for with 6:34 left in the 1st half.
Both teams traded field position and punts for the rest of the first half, and the Ada Bulldogs had themselves a 14-10 lead at the break.
At the beginning of the penultimate quarter, Columbus Grove got two big passes from Stechschulte to Aiden Fortman (35 and 28 yards) and regained the lead 17-14 following another made extra point by Warnecke after their first possession of the second half.
On the evening, Reid Stechschulte who came into the game as the top yardage grossing passer in the NWC tossed a trio of interceptions including one on the next Grove possession, this time to Grant McBride.
Fumbles and bad punts punctuated the rest of the 3rd quarter as again the two squads swapped field position until Ada tied the score up at 17 with a 23 yard field goal by Aaron Everhart with 5:18 left in the game.
Before anyone inside the Stadium could even tweet the score the Bulldogs of Columbus Grove scored on an 87 yard kickoff return for touchdown by Baily Clement that saw just :13 come off the stadium scoreboard and would prove to be enough points for the win.
Warnecke struck again as he darted through the Ada defense for a 54 yard touchdown scamper to make the final score 31-17 Columbus Grove. A week after being named Homecoming King in a ceremony inside Clymer Stadium, Warnecke amassed 115 yards and 2 touchdowns to go along with his kicking and stellar defensive effort.
Logan Diller’s interception of a Conley pass in the endzone that let Columbus Grove just kneel down to run the time out was the first time this season that the Bulldog signalcaller has been picked off this season, he finished 24/39 for 219 yards to go along with his lone interception and touchdown pass.
Reid Stechschulte finished 8/21 for 99 yards and 3 interceptions in addition to his lone touchdown pass, and carried the ball 9 times for 20 yards.
With the win Columbus Grove improves to 3-0 on the season (2-0 in NWC) and will play host to the 2-1 Lima Central Catholic Thunderbirds at 7pm next Friday night (Sept 19th) at home in Clymer Stadium. LCC has won the last 7 matchups between the two schools including a 49-6 win in Lima last season.
Ada will attempt to regroup and even their record at 2-2 as the Fort Loramie Redskins will bring their 2-1 record to town for a Friday evening showdown in the 3rd all-time meeting between the two programs. Ada holds a 2-1 series advantage, but the Redskins downed the Bulldogs last season by a 14-8 margin.
Live broadcast of the game as it happened with Michael Hirn and Steve Wiener courtesy of www.zsportslive.com: