Cougars win OT thriller against the Titans

OTTAWA — An interception by Owen Treece late in regulation helped Van Wert hold off a furious Ottawa-Glandorf comeback and sparked a 40-34 overtime win at Titan Stadium on Friday.

Van Wert (2-2, 1-2 WBL) took a 34-18 lead on Jake Hilleary’s three yard touchdown run with 7:38 left in the game, but the state ranked Titans (No. 19 in Division V) stunned the Cougars with two touchdowns and a pair of two point conversions in just over four minutes.


Jake Hilleary (16) scored the game winning touchdown in overtime. He finished with 30 carries for 177 yards and two scores. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

Jeremy Leopold hit Jarrod Beach with a two yard scoring pass, then found Caleb Kuhlman for the two point conversion to draw Ottawa-Glandorf to within eight, 34-26 with 5:28 left. On the ensuing drive, Van Wert was forced to punt, and Beach returned it 69 yards for a touchdown, then Leopold ran for the two point conversion to tie the game with 1:35 remaining in regulation.

Two plays later, Ottawa-Glandorf’s Clayton Recker intercepted Nate Place and returned it to the Van Wert 25, and it appeared the Titans were poised to attempt a potential game winning field goal. However, after a six yard completion from Leopold to Kaufman, Treece intercepted a pass, which allowed the Cougars to send the game to overtime.

“What a gutty and resilient effort by them,” Van Wert head coach Keith Recker said. “Things looked bleak when we threw an interception toward the end of regulation, but they continued to play hard, got us to overtime and had a great belief we could win.”

In the extra session, the Cougars went on offense first and rode the legs of Jake Hilleary. The 6-2, 190 pound junior, who finished with 177 yards and a pair of scores on 30 carries, rushed four straight times and found the end zone from two yards out. The PAT by TJ Reynolds was wide left.

“We have been pushing Jake the last two or three weeks and he has responded,” Recker explained. “He is a tough player and this was his kind of game tonight. The big thing on his runs is he consistently fell forward, a sign of strength and toughness.”
After Hilleary’s touchdown, the Titans (2-2, 1-2 WBL) fumbled and lost three yards on the first play of their possession, then Leopold ran for four before tossing two incompletions to end the game.


Tanner Barnhart caught two touchdown passes in the second quarter. Bob Barnes photo

Early on, it looked like it would be a low scoring contest. The game was tied at zero after the first quarter, but that changed two plays into the second period when Place found a wide open Tanner Barnhart down the right sideline for a 36 yard touchdown pass. Place then hit Drew Bagley for the two point conversion and an 8-0 lead.

Ottawa-Glandorf responded with a 42 yard field goal field goal by Josh Rosengarten, but Van Wert countered with an eight play, 80 yard drive that ended with Place’s second touchdown pass of the night, a six yarder to Barnhart, who was blanketed by a Titan defender. The two point conversion failed, but the Cougars had a 14-3 lead with 6:26 left until halftime.

Momentum seemed to shift when Leopold fired two touchdown passes – one to Beach with 2:54 left in the second quarter, then a 13 yarder to Jasper Scarberry with 10:16 remaining in the third quarter, a score that gave Ottawa-Glandorf an 18-14 lead.

Four plays later, Place stunned the Titans by breaking tackles and racing 74 yards to the end zone for a 20-18 Van Wert advantage. After stopping Ottawa-Glandorf on fourth and one at the 50, the Cougars put together an 11 play drive (including a fourth down pass interference call) that was culminated by Place’s three yard touchdown pass to Bagley. The PAT by Reynolds was good, and Van Wert enjoyed a 27-18 lead with 2:28 left in the quarter.

The lead increased to 34-18 at the 7:38 mark of the fourth quarter, when Hilleary plowed in from three yards out.

Place finished the night 17 of 25 for 152 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He also carried 18 times for 94 yards and a score. Bagley caught 10 passes for 60 yards and a touchdown, and Barnhart had three receptions for 46 yards and two scores. As a team, the Cougars finished with 427 yards of total offense, with 275 coming on the ground, leading Recker to give credit to his offensive line.

“I thought overall our lines did a good job against Ottawa-Glandorf’s bigger lines,” Recker said. “Offensively, our line did a good job getting us running lanes and defensively overall they were good against the run, forcing O-G to put it in the air quite a bit. Very proud of this group of players.”

The Titans finished with 351 yards of total offense, including 230 through the air. Despite being under constant pressure, Leopold finished 16 of 31, three touchdowns and one interception, while rushing 20 times for 68 yards. Beach had four receptions for 91 yards and two touchdown. Running back Jasper Scarberry, who had 298 yards rushing entering the game was held to 34 yards on 14 carries.

The Cougars will host Shawnee on Friday night.

Scoring summary

Ottawa-Glandorf 0 11 7 16 0 – 34
Van Wert              0 14 13 7 6 – 40

11:43 2nd qtr: Nate Place 36 yard pass to Tanner Barnhart (Place to Bagley pass)
8:43 2nd qtr: Jason Rosengarten 42 yard field goal
6:26 2nd qtr: Nate Place 6 yard pass to Tanner Barnhart (pass failed)
2:54 2nd qtr: Jeremy Leopold 20 yard pass to Jarrod Beach (Rosengarten kick)
10:16 3rd qtr: Jeremy Leopold 13 yard pass to Jasper Scarberry (Rosengarten kick)
8:49 3rd qtr: Nate Place 74 yard run (pass failed)
2:28 3rd qtr: Nate Place 3 yard pass to Drew Bagley (TJ Reynolds kick)
7:38 4th qtr: Jake Hilleary 3 yard run (TJ Reynolds kick)
5:28 4th qtr: Jeremy Leopold 2 yard pass to Jarrod Beach (Leopold pass to Kuhlman)
1:35 4th qtr: Jarrod Beach 69 yard punt return (Leopold run)
OT: Jake Hilleary 2 yard run (PAT failed)