By Cort Reynolds
Ada Herald Writer
ADA - Host Ada dominated traditional backyard rival Allen East
behind a career passing night from Matt Wilcox and a tough defense to the tune of a 45-14 count in their annual Northwest Conference grudge battle Friday night.
The Bulldogs improved to 6-2 with the win and are now 5-1 in NWC play with one league game remaining at unbeaten conference leader Delphos Jefferson (5-0 NWC) next week.
AE fell to 3-5 (2-5 NWC) after their 11th loss in a row to Ada.
Bulldog senior quarterback Wilcox tossed six touchdown aerials and for 399 yards, and ran for one long score to account for all seven TDs.
Three of his scoring strikes went to classmate Austin Dumbaugh on gains of 30, five and 51 yards, respectively.
The Bulldogs scored touchdowns on each of their first four possessions to seize control and were never threatened.
AE did put together a good drive on its opening possession, mixing the run and pass well. The Mustangs advanced to the Bulldog 21 after a fourth and sixth eight-yard pass from Tanner Stippich to speedy Ross Stewart.
But then they stalled after a sack by Hunter Waller, a holding penalty and another sack by Austin Dumbaugh which caused a fumble that Ada recovered at its own 48.
After that, it was all purple and gold.
Just four plays later Wilcox lofted a perfect pass to Waller streaking down the sideline, who hauled the aerial in at the right corner of the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown.
Dumbaugh's point after kick was blocked to keep the score 6-0 with 4:46 left in the opening stanza.
Just four plays later, Dumbaugh fell on a loose pigskin along the sideline to give the Bulldogs possession at their 43. A nice Wilcox pass to Grant McBride netted 20 yards.
On third and 15, Wilcox connected with Dumbaugh on a slant at the 20, and he weaved his way through the defense down the right side for a 30-yard catch and carry TD.
AE took over on its own 25 and quickly responded. Stewart burst 40 yards off left tackle to ignite the Mustang offense. On the first play of the second period, Stippich lofted a well-thrown ball into double coverage that Cole Basham made a fine over the shoulder grab of for a 28-yard TD.
The 75-yard march took just three plays and 56 seconds. Their two-point run was stuffed to keep the margin at 12-6.
Ada responded fast itself, covering 62 yards on eight plays to score in 1:47. A third down pass to Ansley gained 18 yards, followed by a defensive pass interference penalty.A middle screen to Owen Conley netted 10 more yards.
On first and goal from the five, Wilcox fired a five-yard scoring strike to Dumbaugh on a quick slant to make it 18-6. The two-point pass failed to keep the margin at a dozen with 9:55 to go in the half.
The Ada defense quickly forced a three and out and the hosts took over at their own 29. Two Ansley receptions totaled 19 yards. Wilcox reversed field on a scramble for eight yards.
The elusive Wilcox then ran arond righht end, put on a good move and dove into the end zone just ahead of an AE defender for a 38-yard TD run.
This time a two-point lob to Conley extended the lead to 26-6 with 6:11 left in the period. The 71-yard drive took just four plays and 82 seconds.
AE's ensuing two possessions again were snuffed quickly by the Bulldog defense. However, a sack by Izak Ackerman helped stop Ada on downs near midfield.
A 33-yard launch to Waller set Ada up for a field goal try with just seconds left in the half. But Dumbaugh's 38-yard try sailed just wide right to keep the score 26-6 heading to intermission.
The Bulldogs took the opening kickoff of half two and marched 67 yards to score in eight plays. An 18-yard aerial to Ansley jump-started the march. Conley made a big catch down to the AE 10, then followed it up by snaring a quick slant in traffic from Wilcox for a 10-yard TD reception. Dumbaugh's PAT kick with 10:06 to go in the third quarter ballooned the cushion to 33-6.
Both offenses stalled a bit. But then two possessions later Ada struck again on its first play when Dumbaugh hauled in a screen and rumbled 51 yards to paydirt for another TD.
The point after kick was blocked to keep the score 39-6 with 4:11 to go in the third period.
The stingy Bulldog defense then stopped an AE run on fourth and two from the Ada 45. A screen to Conley gained 16 yards. Later on fourth and one during the first play of the final stanza, Wilcox connected with Luke Long-Green on a 31-yard catch and carry TD. For the third time, Ada's PAT boot was blocked and the purple and gold led 45-6.
Logan Rex picked up the initial Mustang first down of the half on a 12-yard reverse scamper. Later on third and seven, AE converted again to keep the chains moving on a run by Johnny Brinkman.
Brinkman gained seven yards on a run, and Stewart came back in to score on a five-yard run with 3:46 remaining to play. The two-point conversion cut the deficit to 45-14.
Notes and stats
Wilcox completed 27 of 39 passes for 399 yards and six TDs. He also rushed for 87 of the 90 Bulldogs running yards on seven tries.
Dumbaugh snagged nine of his tosses for 123 yards and three scores. Ansley pulled in seven receptions for 70 yards. Conley grabbed four for 71 yards and Waller added three catches for 71 yards as well.
Ada out-gained AE 494-265 in total offense, racking up 20 first downs to 13 by the Mustangs.
Stewart ran for 68 yards in the first half but was slowed by a knee injury suffered late in the second period. he ended up with 127 yards on 24 carries.
Stippich completed five of eight aerials for 51 yards and one score. Ada committed no turnovers while AE lost two fumbles. The Mustangs possessed the ball for a mere 12 more seconds, 24:06 to 23:54.
Bulldog starting lineman Lane Nitchie missed the game with a concussion suffered at Crestview the previous week.
Ada has outscored its opposition 245-161 (30.6 ppg-20.1) this season. The Bulldogs came into the game ranked sixth in the Div. VI, region 20 computer rankings.
The win in the home finale sent the eight Ada seniors out on a high note. The Bulldogs finished the regular season 4-0 at home.
1 2 3 4 F
Ada 12 14 13 6 45
AE 0 6 0 8 14
NWC showdown looms at Jefferson
By Cort Reynolds
Ada Herald writer
ADA - The Ada football team still has a chance to share or win the Northwest Conference title - but only if they win at league-leading Delphos Jefferson next Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the Bulldog NWC finale.
The Wildcats (8-0, 5-0 NWC) were ranked sixth in the latest Div. VI AP state poll, and have one more league game in week 10 at local arch-rival Spencerville after facing Ada. DJ whipped non-league opponent Montpielier on the road Friday, 68-0.
Ada (6-2, 5-1 NWC) was sixth in the region while DJ will ascend from second to first after a loss by previous leader Wayne Trace to Tinora.
A defeat at Delphos would put the Bulldogs in danger of missing out on the playoffs for the first time since 2005 if they were also to lose at LCC (6-2, seventh in region 20) in week 10.
However, if Ada wins at Delphos and Crestview (4-1 NWC, third in region 20) stumbles in one of its last two league games, the Bulldogs could win the crown outright if DJ also falls at Spencerville.
Either way, the final two games have major league and playoff implications.
The Bulldogs are 2-2 on the road this season. They have won the last two meetings at Jefferson after falling in 2007.