Wapakoneta High School senior Zach Schmerge runs the ball Friday in a varsity football scrimmage against Minster at Harmon Field. Schmerge had 81 yards and two touchdown runs in the scrimmage. (Staff photo/William Laney)
The Wapakoneta Redskins trotted out to a 14-0 lead after their first two offensive series and held on to gain a 14-6 advantage over the Minster Wildcats in three quarters of varsity football action in a scrimmage Friday at Harmon Field.
Wapak varsity coach Doug Frye gave an evaluation of his team through Friday night.
“Right now, we are the Tarzan and Jane of football,” Frye said. “A week ago, our offense was a little ahead of our defense. Our defense played a little better than our offense tonight.
“We’ve got to search for the consistency that we’re looking for,” he said. “I saw some good things today but we’ve got to work on a lot of things.”
Friday’s scrimmage was the final preseason test for Wapak, who will open their season Aug. 30 at home versus Bellefontaine.
The varsity scrimmage was played under live down-and-distance conditions for offense and defense. Special teams were limited, as defenses had to remain idle on PATs, punts and kicks.
Wapak’s Zach Schmerge accounted for his team’s first touchdown of the night, with a dazzling 45-yard rushing score, complete with stiffarms of multiple Minster defenders.
Bailey Hinegardner’s PAT kick failed, leaving the score 6-0, Redskins.
Wapak forced a three-and-out on the next series, setting up the offense’s second TD.
The Redskins manufactured a 21-play, 75-yard drive for its second and final score of the night.
The drive continued twice on fourth downs; the second conversion was an 18-yard pass completion from Kodi Morgan to Logan Martin.
Schmerge finished off the drive with a 1-yard TD run, his second of the night.
Morgan connected with Nate Posada for a successful 2-point conversion, making the score, 14-6, Wapak.
Schmerge finished the scrimmage with 15 carries, 81 yards and two touchdowns.
Frye commented on Schmerge’s performance.
“We started to work him in more to get him in better shape,” Frye said. “People know they’re going to have to defend Zach Schmerge. It was good to see him emerge and run the ball hard.
“He’s a physical kid,” he said. “The biggest thing is he hung on to the ball.”
On the next series, Minster posted its first and only score of the scrimmage.
A 21-yard pass completion from Kyle Heitkamp to Eli Wolf on the drive’s first play, followed by a 29-yard run two plays later by Paul Dues set up a 16-yard TD connection from Heitkamp to Wolf.
The PAT failed, so the score remained 14-6, Wapak.
Frye talked about his team’s disposition playing with a lead.
“Everything that I react to today has good sides and bad sides,” Frye said Friday. “We’re still a youthful team and we showed that in spots today.
“We didn’t react when we were up 14-0 at that point,” he said. “We should have been a team that kept going and kept playing. That’s something we’re going to have to work on if we’re going to be a good football team.”
The Redskins followed with a punt, before Wapak’s defense came away with a turnover on its next Keaton Metz came away with an interception in the red zone, but Wapak’s offense responded with a punt.
Minster punted the ball back to Wapak with 33 seconds left in the first half.
After a Morgan incompletion, three straight completions for first downs set up a 41-yard field goal attempt by Hinegardner with one second left in the first half.
Hinegardner’s kick as time expired was wide left though it had enough distance.
In the third quarter, Minster punted all three times it had the ball, while Wapak punted twice and saw its final drive end after one play at the end of the quarter.
Logan Martin had a sack on third down on Minster’s second drive of the third quarter.
Morgan completed 8 of 14 passes for 74 yards Friday. He also ran seven times for 36 yards, mostly on eventual scrambles after designed pass plays.
Martin was Wapak’s leading receiver with 34 yards on two catches. Quinn Lotridge added three catches for 20 yards.
Frye commented on the interception by Metz and the sack by Martin, his two starting halfbacks playing defense later in Friday’s scrimmage.
“There’s two guys who we didn’t play much on defense in the first half,” Frye said. “We put them in right at the end of the first half and in the second half.
“I think you’ll see more of those guys on the defensive side of the ball now,” he said. “We’ve been holding them back, trying to get them acclimated offensively.”
Frye provided closing thoughts on the scrimmage.
“I think it was a step in the right direction,” Frye said. “It was a nice night in Wapakoneta with a good crowd and great support. It makes you proud to be head football coach.
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