C.J. Young (67) attempts to reach the backfield for the Wapakoneta Redskins in their non-league varsity football game Friday against the Bellefontaine Chieftains. (Staff photo/Michelle Frank)
BELLEFONTAINE — Wapakoneta passed its first test in the new era of Redskins football Friday.
Wapakoneta’s defense shut down Bellefontaine, while Redskins running backs Keaton Metz and Jon Eaton scored two rushing touchdowns each for the Redskins in their 28-6 win over the Bellefontaine Chieftains in non-league varsity football action, giving first-year Wapakoneta coach Travis Moyer his first win with the school.
The Redskins led the entire game, rushed for 289 yards, and took down the Chieftains in front of a packed stadium, with the game played on AcuSport Stadium’s newly installed artificial turf.
“The game is simple … it comes down to blocking and tackling,” Moyer said. “I thought we did a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage. I thought we did a good job of setting that line of scrimmage. I thought our backs ran hard.
“We’ve got a saying around here, ‘The harder our backs run, the harder our offensive line is going to block, and vice versa.’ We did a good job of that tonight.”
The Redskins received the ball to start the game and engineered a solid opening drive of the season, as Keaton Metz finished a seven-play drive with a 15-yard touchdown run. Tristan Meyer’s successful PAT kick made the score, 7-0, Wapakoneta.
Moyer discussed the importance of beginning the season, with all of the uncertainty involving a first game, with a scoring drive.
“That’s obviously very critical,” he said. “The one thing we talked to our guys coming out was executing. For us to come out and execute a game plan says a lot about our preparation throughout the week. That’s something we’ll need to continue to work on each and every week.”
The host Chieftains answered right back after Wapakoneta’s TD.
Bellefontaine faced a 3rd and 12 from the Redskins’ 35-yard line, and quarterback Jake Kennedy found tailback Jordan Baughman up the seam for a TD connecting. Zach Schmid’s PAT kick was wide right, so Wapakoneta retained the lead, 7-6.
The Chieftains’ TD was their final score of the night, as the Redskins’ defense held Bellefontaine scoreless on its remaining six possessions Friday.
Wapakoneta forced the Chieftains into three turnovers on down, two punts and an interception.
Bellefontaine totaled 211 yards of offense Friday.
Baughman notched 82 yards rushing on 24 attempts.
Kennedy was 7 of 17 for 77 yards. He added 41 yards on 10 carries.
“I’ve got to take my hat off to our defense,” Moyer said. “That’s an explosive offense, a team that puts you in a bind from the scheme standpoint. They have good, talented players. Our defense did a good job. We were fortunate to get some turnovers and some stops. For us to be successful, we need to continue to do that.”
The Redskins thought they had responded to Bellefontaine’s TD in a big way, as Cameron Lauck returned the ensuing kickoff 86 yards for a TD, but the return was negated by a personal foul penalty behind the ball.
The Redskins eventually manufactured a 10-play, 61-yard drive for their second score, with Metz getting his second rushing TD on a 12-yard run two plays into the second quarter, putting Wapakoneta ahead 14-6 with 11:20 to play in the second quarter.
The Redskins’ defense endured a 12-play drive on Bellefontaine’s second possession before forcing a turnover on downs from their own 16-yard line.
Wapakoneta then went nine plays for its third first-half scoring drive.
Jon Eaton and Adam Henderson each had 11-yard receptions from Kodi Morgan on the drive.
Morgan had a 19-yard run. Two plays later Eaton scored on a 14-yard run with a 3:09 before halftime.
The Chieftains held the ball for the remaining 3 minutes of the first half but punted as time expired, while Wapakoneta led 21-6.
Bellefontaine had another turnover on downs to start the second half.
Eaton fumbled away Wapakoneta’s first possession after halftime.
Two plays into the Chieftains’ next series, a tipped pass from Kennedy landed into the hands of Redskins junior safety Aaron Huffman, who returned the interception down to the Bellefontaine 2-yard line.
Two plays later, Eaton plunged into the end zone from 1 yard out, tallying Wapakoneta’s final TD of the night, with the Redskins leading 28-6.
Leading the whole game, Wapakoneta attempted only five passes Friday, with Morgan completed his first four.
Moyer, who stated he would like to throw the ball more this season than in past years, commented on the luxury of leading the entire game Friday with his team running the ball effectively.
“It is our goal to be balanced. It’s also our goal to do whatever we can to be successful,” the coach said. “For us to be successful tonight, we needed to run the football. We did a good job of that. Next week we might have to throw it 30 times. We stress we have to continue to get better every week in the pass game and run game.
“There’ll be a time when we need our guys to throw it and catch it.”
Eaton paced the Redskins in rushing with 108 yards on 12 attempts.
Metz totaled 78 yards rushing and had two catches for 17.
Morgan notched 39 yards of 4 of 5 passing.
The Redskins’ non-league win Friday gave them a 1-0 start to the 2014 season.
Wapakoneta will start the nine-game Western Buckeye League portion of its schedule next Friday, with a visit to Hardin County and the Kenton Wildcats, who lost Friday to Coldwater, 24-2.
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Wapakoneta: Jon Eaton 12-108; Keaton Metz 10-78; Kodi Morgan 7-42; Cameron Lauck 5-37; Zach Chambers 2-15; Adam Henderson 1-8; Nolan Brandehoff 1-3. Bellefontaine: Jordan Baughman 24-82: Jake Kennedy 10-41; Gauge Hayman 3-13.
Wapakoneta: Morgan 4-5 39. Bellefontaine: Kennedy 7-17 77.
Wapakoneta: Metz 2-17; Eaton 1-11; Henderson 1-11. Bellefontaine: Baughman 1-35; Hayman 1-16; Daniel Boy 2-13; Hayden Nease 2-13.