By Cort Reynolds
Ada Herald writer
LIMA - Ada lived up to its top seed by dominating outmanned Waynesfield-Goshen in a 50-15 first round Div. VI, Region 24 football mismatch at Lima Stadium Friday night.The Bulldogs improved to 10-1 with the lopsided victory while the Tigers, the only team to make the state playoffs this fall with a sub-.500 record, ended up 4-7.
Ada advances to face fourth-seeded St. Henry (8-3) in the second round Nov. 9 at a site TBA Sunday.
Bulldog senior quarterback Mason Acheson completed his first 10 passes and ended up an efficient 18 of 22 for 316 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions against the Waynesfield defense.
Ada senior NWC Back of the Year Kellen Decker netted 101 yards and scored twice on just 10 carries before leaving the game along with Acheson early in the third quarter.
The Tigers did a solid job very early of keeping the potent Bulldog offense off the field with a time-consuming running game, but couldn't dent the scoreboard. Then the floodgates opened for the heavily-favored, fifth-ranked Adaites as they reeled off the first 50 points.
Waynesfield took the opening kickoff and drove 45 yards in 13 plays, mostly on the ground, to eat more than half of the first period. But the Bulldog defense held and they took over on downs at their own 24.
Micah Roberson snared a 37-yard Acheson aerial to jump-start the Ada offense on their first play from scrimmage. Decker netted 15 yards on a bubble screen, followed by a 13-yard pass to Brenden Szippl.
On first and goal from the nine, Acheson connected with Wilcox on a nine-yard touchdown pass dragging underneath to cap the quick 76-yard, five-play march. Hunter Waller's point after kick made it 7-0 with 3:59 to go in the opening stanza. It was the seventh TD catch of the season for the sticky-fingered Wilcox.
Waller and a host of Bulldogs stymied the next Tiger possession with a big loss on third down, but a rolling rugby punt of 54 yards pinned Ada back at its own 11.
Passes of 15 and 14 yards to Wilcox and Roberson, respectively, dug Ada out of the hole. But a sack thwarted the drive and forced a Jake Ansley punt as the first period ended.
W-G picked up a couple first downs yet stalled on fourth and eight at the purple and gold 38. Ada took over at its own 39 with under nine minutes left in the half. A 22-yard screen to Roberson was halved by a penalty. Two plays later, Decker eluded some defenders in the backfield, broke a tackle and scampered 33 yards down the right sideline to the Tiger 17.
An Ansley catch for six yards helped the Bulldogs advance to the 10. Decker then burst off the right side for a 10-yard jaunt and a 14-0 bulge with 6:40 remaining in the half. The drive covered 61 yards and six plays.
W-G was quickly stuffed on a three and out series, and Ada took over at its own 45 moments later. On third and six, Ansley took advantage of a slip in the secondary to hit paydirt on a 50-yard catch and carry play. Waller's third PAT finished a mere 45-second drive that built the margin to 21-0 with 4:30 still left in the second quarter.
On the next Tiger drive, the Ada defense made its presence known. A clipping penalty helped move the underdogs back, and on fourth down the Bulldogs blocked a punt out of the end zone for a safety and a 23-0 cushion with 2:30 left before intermission.
Ada continued the momentum by taking over at the Tiger 45 after their free kick sailed out of bounds. A 20-yard pass to Wilcox was followed by a 19-yard Decker rumble.
On the next play, Decker scored his 22nd rushing TD of the campaign from six yards out with 2:01 left in the half to punctuate the 29-second, 45-yard possession. The extra point kick was blocked to keep the score 29-0.
The next Waynesfield drive stalled after a first down by penalty, and the quick-strike Bulldog offense took over one last time in the half with 48 ticks to go standing 76 yards from the end zone.
Decker ran 20 yards smartly out of bounds to stop the clock. Roberson pulled in a 20-yard Acheson aerial and a four-yard strike to Decker prompted a timeout with 21 seconds to go.
After two rare incompletions, on fourth and five at the 26 Acheson found Ansley for a 16-yard gain. Two plays later, Acheson hit Ansley with a four-yard scoring strike as time expired to give the favorites an insurmountable 36-0 halftime bulge.
Acheson completed 16 of 20 first half tosses for 265 yards and three scores, while Decker netted 88 yards and two TD runs.
Ada picked up where it left off in half two by driving 64 yards in four plays over 90 seconds. A Decker eight-yard run got the ball near midfield, followed by a 13-yard strike to Roberson.
Acheson then lofted a nice toss to a wide-open Ansley for a 38-yard score, their third TD hook-up of the night. Waller's PAT put the Bulldogs in front 43-0 with 10:24 to go in the third quarter.
Waynesfield then fumbled on third down and Blake Ansley recovered at the Tiger 30, plus Ada picked up 15 more yards on a personal foul penalty to start out at the W-G 15.
Freshman Brayden Sautter came in for Acheson at QB. Sophomore Luke Long scurried 11 yards on a quick-hitter to set up first and goal. A bad snap lost seven yards.
On fourth and goal at the seven Sautter rolled out, kept the ball and lunged just into the end zone for another TD. Waller's extra point made it 50-0 with 5:36 left in the third period.
The next Ada possession again started deep in Tiger territory after a short punt went out at the W-G 20. Russell Gray gained seven yards, but then Waynesfield's Lee Turner recovered a fumble and returned the ball about 85 yards to paydirt for the first Tiger tally of the night. A two-point pass to Eli O'Leary made the score 50-8.
The Tigers later tacked on their lone offensive score of the night against the reserve defense with a 45-yard scoring drive. James Elliott scored on a broken play via an eight-yard run off a fumble with 9:34 left to play. The extra point kick cut the deficit to 50-15.
Ada fumbled moments later at its 17, but the Tigers gave it right back on a fumble of their own recovered by Spencer Archer at the Bulldog 16. Neither team threatened again.
Notes and stats
The Bulldogs rolled up 439 yards in total offense compared to just 136 by the Tigers.
Acheson now has fired 32 TD passes against 12 interceptions while throwing for over 2,800 yards this fall. Decker improved his season total to 1,656 yards rushing.
Ansley hauled in three TD passes to improve his total to eight this fall, and gained 107 yards receiving.
Ada has outscored its opposition 432-121 this season. It was their sixth straight first round playoff win, mostly by wide margins, since a 21-14 loss in round one at Hardin Northern in 2006.
The contest was originally slated to be played at Ada War Memorial Stadium, but was moved to Lima after heavy rain in week 10 against LCC and snow fallout from Hurricane Sandy rendered the Bulldog turf unplayable. The purple and gold is 4-0 all-time in first round games at War Memorial.
Bulldog coach Mike Fell is now 69-17 (.800) in seven campaigns at Ada. The Bulldogs are 10-6 in the playoffs under his tutelage, and are 10-1 for the third time in his tenure.
1 2 3 4 F
Ada 7 29 14 0 50
W-G 0 0 8 7 15
Ada will face St. Henry (8-3) in a region 24 semifinal game Friday, November 9 at a neutral site to be announced this Sunday by the OHSAA.
The fourth-seeded Redskins ran out to a 24-7 halftime lead and whipped visiting Ft. Loramie 45-21 in their first round game Friday to set up the regional semifinal battle.
St. Henry has won five state titles in football, the last in 2006 in Div. V. The Redskins finished 5-3 in the rugged 10-team MAC this fall, tied for fourth with Delphos St. John's in league play.