DELPHOS — Some lessons are best learned the hard way. The Jefferson Wildcats easily survived a lackluster start Friday to easily cruise over the Waynesfield-Goshen Tigers, 48-3, in season-opening varsity football action in Delphos.
The Wildcats rolled to the victory by simply wearing down an overmatched Tiger squad.
“The big issue was a lack of strength,” W-G varsity coach Doug Foley said. “Hopefully this teaches them that. When you get to the weight room, it is not just about showing up. It’s about putting forth the effort.”
While it was an easy win for the Wildcats, the Tigers had them scratching their heads for a little over a quarter of play.
W-G drove to the 6-yard line on its second possession, and Lake Turner kicked a 23-yard field goal to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
That lead quickly evaporated when Tyler Mox took the ensuing kickoff and rambled 88 yards for a 7-3 lead that would ultimately stand up.
The Wildcats were nowhere near from being done.
Jefferson went into big play mode, scoring on its next seven possessions as well. They displayed big-play capabilities, with five of the last six scores coming on plays of 36, 31, 12, 62 and 16 yards. Even the one touchdown that wasn’t scored on a big yard play was set up by a 37-yard completion to the 2-yard line.
Jefferson is one of the early favorites to win the Northwest Conference, and varsity coach Bub Lindeman said his team will likely have the long play as a weapon all year long.
“We are strong and experienced in the skill positions,” Lindeman said. “This game was a direct result of that. Once we got going, I thought we executed very well.
“From an offensive standpoint, we were very happy,” he said. “We were concerned with having to replace all five of our linemen this year, and they did a great job.”
The Wildcat defense wasn’t so bad either, holding the Tigers to 125 yards on 57 offensive plays.
W-G quarterback Lake Turner (38 rushing yards, 72 passing) contributed 100 of those yards under intense pressure.
Foley had predicted the Tigers would have to play mistake-free football to stay in the game, and it was when they started making mistakes that the game began to unravel quickly.
“You go back and look at one series and we had two penalties, a sack, and another penalty,” Foley said. “I don’t care if you are (Bill) Belichick, you do not have a play for second-and-29 or third-and-34.”
Both teams drew plenty of flags, as the Tigers were flagged eight times for 55 yards and Jefferson 12 times for 125 yards.
Lindeman contributed many of his team’s penalties to aggressiveness.
“It’s certainly something you don’t want to see, but you expect it in Week 1,” Lindeman said. “Most of the penalties were from effort. You always want to come out of a game wanting to have something to work on. We will address that during practice this week.”
W-G (0-1) will face Fort Recovery next Friday. Jefferson (1-0) will visit Paulding.
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