Ada comes on strong late to double up Grove
Saturday, September 12, 2009 2:04 AM
ADA - After two non-competitive blowout wins, Ada finally found itself in a contest Friday with visiting Columbus Grove.
Yet the hosts answered their first real challenge of the season by reeling off 28 unanswered points over the game's final 14 minutes to post a 56-28 win over Grove.
Two spectacular leaping catches of over 40 yards apiece near the goal line by senior Heath Jackson spearheaded the late charge as Ada improved to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the Northwest Conference with the win. CG fell to 1-2 and 1-1 in the NWC with the loss.
Ada sophomore Konnor Baker then added a diving catch deep in the left corner of the end zone to add the final score from 25 yards out.
Jackson's first flying grab came on a 41-yard launch from Mitchell Faine into double coverage down to the CG four. On the next play, Alex Weber scored on a four-yard run with 2:06 left in the third period to break a tie and give Ada a 35-28 edge.
Then came the biggest momentum-changing play of the night. CG back Rayce Risser caught a short pass on third and 22 and was immediately hit hard, and Ada recovered on the Grove 29. Faine immediately hit Baker in stride on a 16-yard pass over the middle. The Bulldog quarterback then scored on a 10-yard keeper run with 11:12 remaining to give Ada some breathing room at 42-28.
The purple and gold defense quickly stuffed Grove and on the next Ada possession, Jackson went high and outjumped a defensive back who appeared well-positioned with a better-timed leap from behind. The Ada senior yanked the 44-yard pass down at the CG five to set up the seventh Ada touchdown.
On the next play, Weber again capitalized with a five-yard TD scamper to put Ada ahead 49-28 and the game out of reach with 8:18 to go.
On Grove's next drive, Matt McBride stopped QB Travis Jordan's fourth and six keeper run to give Ada the ball in opposing territory at the 41. Baker then made a nice run down the sieline after a short pass to net 24 yards down to the CG 18.
After Faine was sacked by Luke Kohls for a seven-yard loss, the Ada signal-caller connected with Baker in the corner for the game's final TD with 3:52 remaining. The defending league champions scored four touchdowns in just 10:14 to break away from a 28-28 tie to victory.
But for a while it appeared the game might go down to the wire as the hosts struggled to stop the Grove running game.
Ada marched 65 yards in 10 plays on their first drive to paydirt. A key play in the march came when Jackson snared a 19-yard pass from Faine on fourth and four down to the CG 20. Four plays later, Jackson dove into the end zone over the top from a yard out to give Ada a 7-0 lead just over four minutes into the fray.
Yet feisty Grove responded with a 70-yard scoring march of its own. They controlled the ball for 6:34 on 12 plays, all but one of which were runs. Sophomore Wade Heffner scurried 15 yards off left tackle untouched into the end zone to tie it 7-7 with 1:14 to go in the first stanza. It was the longest drive of the season in terms of time against Ada this season, and illustrated perfectly the CG plan to keep the purple offense off the field as much as possible with a ball-control offense.
A rare sack of Faine by Taylor Walls and Dylan Vogt thwarted the next Ada possession. But a big sack by a blitzing Weber also stopped the next Grove drive.
A 38-yard pass to Baker ignited the following two-play Ada possession. On the next play, Weber made a good cut off the right side and scooted 18 yards down the right sideline to paydirt for the first of his three rushing TDs with 9:39 to go in the half.
Austin Everhart's second of seven successful PAT boots put Ada in front 14-7.
Jacob Miller returned the ensuing kickoff 50 yards to give Grove good field position at the purple 40. But CG shot itself in the foot with a fumble which they recovered but for a loss, and after deliberating they punted on fourth and seven to the Ada seven after it was downed.
But the hosts answered with a 93-yard, eight-play scoring drive to foil the CG strategy. Weber started the march with a 20-yard reception. Then McBride hauled in a 43-yard aerial with an excellent over-the-shoulder diving grab at full extension.
After a 12-yard strike to Jackson, Faine kept the ball and scored on a five-yard run for a 21-7 lead with 4:45 left in the half.
However, on the next play from scrimmage CG took Ada by surprise. Instead of running the ball as expected, Jordan Travis hooked up with Colby Meuleman, who slipped well behind the Ada secondary, hauled in the well-thrown pass and outran the defense 70 yards to the end zone.
Just 21 seconds after Ada had taken a 14-point lead, CG halved the deficit on one play to 21-14.
The momentum continued to swing in the visitors' direction when three plays later, McBride fumbled after catching a short pass, and Grove recovered at the Ada 43. Three runs by Risser netted 22 yards, and a costly facemask penalty gave CG the ball first and goal at the purple nine.
On third down at the one, Risser bulled into the end zone to tie the game at 21-all with just 15.6 seconds left in the half as the Grove crowd roared to life. The annual battle of the Bulldogs was turning out to be just that.
CG drove to the Ada 40 to start the second half, but on fourth and one they tried a risky pass that fell incomplete. The hosts responded by zipping 60 yards in five plays, ignited by a 25-yard slant to Jackson. Heath then capped the drive with a three-yard around left end untouched into the end zone to give Ada a 28-21 lead with 7:04 to go in the third quarter.
After CG recovered a surprising on-sides kickoff try, the visitors got the ball near midfield.
On a key fourth and two play moments later, Heffner sprinted 21 yards around left end to the purple 11.
After a six-yard run by Risser, Miller scored on a five-yard TD jaunt to tie the game for the last time at 28-28 with 2:14 left in the third stanza.
Faine then jump-started the next drive with a 14-yard run. After an incomplete pass, he then connected with Jackson on his first leaping 41-yard catch to set up the go-ahead touchdown.
Weber ran for three scores while Faine and Jackson each tallied a pair of rushing TDs. Baker added the lone passing score from Faine.