Van Wert put the finishing touches on an 8-2 (7-2 WBL) regular season with a 37-0 win over Defiance last Friday. Here are eight thoughts about the Cougars, one for each victory of the season.
1. Saturday’s game will be Van Wert’s first ever playoff game at Eggerss Stadium, and it’s the first playoff berth for the Cougars since the 2000 season.
2. The number of losses Van Wert had after Week No. 3 of the season. The Cougars were coming off back-to-back losses to two very physical and state ranked teams, Wapakoneta and St. Marys Memorial. It’s also the same number of losses Van Wert had when the regular season ended last Friday.
3. Van Wert’s seeding position in Division IV, Region 14. The No. 3 seed was big, because it ensured the Cougars would open the playoffs at home instead of possibly traveling to Huron or some place like Pepper Pike, which is over three hours away.
4. Week No. 4 may have saved the season for Van Wert. The Cougars led Ottawa-Glandorf 34-18 with 7:38 left in the fourth quarter, but the Titans scored two touchdowns and a pair of two point conversions to tie the game. Ottawa-Glandorf then intercepted a late pass and appeared poised to kick a potential game winning field goal, before Owen Treece picked off a Titan pass to send the game to overtime. Jake Hilleary scored the winning touchdown in the extra session to give Van Wert a 40-34 win.
It’s also the number of times Van Wert has qualified for the postseason (1985, 1986, 2000 and 2018)
5. The number of receiving touchdowns Dru Johnson had during the regular season. The sophomore wide receiver improved greatly throughout the season and a became a favorite red zone target of quarterback Nate Place.
6. The seed of Van Wert’s playoff opponent, the Huron Tigers. The postseason matchup has been brewing for several weeks, but for a time, it appeared the Cougars might have to make the two hour trek to Erie County.
7. The number of touchdowns Nate Place scored in a 60-33 win at Kenton in Week No. 6. The senior quarterback had four rushing touchdowns and three more through the air.
8. The number of wins the Cougars enjoyed in 2018. It was the highest regular season victory total since 1988.