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DOLA — Visiting Waynesfield-Goshen stymied Hardin Northern 14-9 in a defensive Northwest Central Conference clash to win their battle for second place in the league standings Friday night.

W-G improved to 8-2 overall and 5-2 in the NWCC to tie with Lima Perry for second behind league champion Upper Scioto Vaalley (7-0 NWCC).

HN dropped to 6-4 overall and 4-3 in the NWCC to end up fourth in the conference race.

“It was a defensive struggle, both teams played hard,” said Tigers coach Shane Wireman.  

“It was a great win for our program,” he noted. “Give Hardin Northern credit for fighting hard, but I am very proud of my kids. It was a great team win.”

W-G allowed a safety on its first possesion when a punt snap went over the kicker’s head out of the end zone to give Northern a 2-0 lead.

The Tigers scored in the second quarter to take the lead, and never relinquished it. Jayden Elliott hauled in a 21-yard touchdown reception from senior quarterback Cooper Roberts to put the visitors ahead.

The score remained 7-2 at halftime.

On the opening drive of the second half, W-G consolidated its lead with a Roberts QB sneak touchdown plunge. Tigers placekicker Ryder Siebeneck booted his second extra point to extend the margin to 14-2.

HN tallied its lone touchdown on a pass from Nevin Robson to Carter Curtis in the fourth period to inch within a 14-9 margin.

Then after an HN defensive stop, the Polar Bears were driving to potentially win late in the fourth quarter. But Elliott made a toe-tap interception at the Tigers 2-yard line to thwart the threat.

“That was the play of the game,” Wireman said. “We managed to get the ball off the goal line with a first down, which allowed us to take a knee with the ball for the win.” 

With the victory at Dola, road-warrior W-G finished its regular season with an unbeaten 6-0 record away from home. 

The Tigers’ win at HN clinched a playoff spot and a potential home game in the first round. W-G is unofficially rated eighth in the Division VII, Region 26 computer rankings. 

“I believe it is only the sixth time in school history,” said Wireman of making the playoffs. “So that is a great accomplishment in itself. It is a great group of guys who are very deserving.

“We have never won a playoff game in school history, so that would be a huge accomplishment,” he continued. “I am excited for our guys to have that opportunity.”

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