A 21-point second quarter enabled Swanton to blow open a once close game, and they were able to hold on for a 27-13 victory over Cardinal Stritch in a non-league football contest in Swanton Friday night.
The victory was the Bulldogs first of the season, putting them at 1-7 on the season.
“Overall I’m very proud of all the players and assistant coaches,” said head coach Denton Saunders on his team getting in the win column. “They come in everyday and work their tails off and they deserve this win. We have a lot of players step up from all grade levels. Devon Crouse learned a new offensive position this week and played very well and scored a touchdown. Cole Mitchey also had a TD reception and Trent Weigel had a great game with 3 TD passes. Kadin Keivens has some big plays on defense too. Overall it was a great night and (I’m) happy for the entire team.”
A fake punt converted by Crouse helped kick start the Bulldogs’ first scoring drive.
Swanton then utilized the running of Ian Saunders to get inside the Cardinal Stritch 15-yard line. However, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the offense ahead of a third down play set them back to the 25.
It did not matter, though, when on the play Mitchey was left alone along the right sideline and hauled it in for the score. Mitchey’s point after made it 7-0 2:39 into the second quarter.
A Cardinals’ fumble hopped on by Mitchey gave the Dogs back possession at the Stritch 25.
Mitchey then caught a 13-yard pass, and a roughing the passer penalty put the ball at the six. Two plays later, Saunders took it around left end and in for the touchdown for a 14-0 Bulldog lead with 8:04 before halftime.
Stritch advanced the ball to the Swanton 41-yard line on the ensuing possession, but that was where they would turn it over on downs and the Dogs regained possession.
Mitchey’s 36-yard run on a direct snap got the Dogs down to the Cardinal nine. They were pushed back to the 11 by third and goal, where Weigel rolled to his left and found Crouse open in the end zone for a TD that extended the lead to 21-0 just before half.
Swanton looked to make it worse for the Cardinals, as Keivens intercepted a Thomas Foust pass and returned it to the Stritch five. A fumbled snap and sack pushed them back to the 32, and even though they would get some of that yardage back, the drive ended by a 35-yard field goal getting blocked, sending the game to half.
“We had a slow start on offense because we had way too many penalties — that has hurt us all year. We move backwards too much and it’s usually self-inflicted penalties,” said coach Saunders of the first half. “Once we got that out of our system we were able to move the football through the ground and air and put some points on the board. I know the team is a little disappointed because they know they left too many points on the field. We could have scored a few more times if we didn’t shoot ourself in the foot.”
Stritch cut into the lead a little to start the second half — after a Swanton three-and-out.
The score came from Foust, a three yard run on fourth-and-goal to slice the Bulldog lead to 21-7 just above the four minute mark in the third quarter.
Swanton pretty much put it out of reach with a TD near the end of the third. On first-and-10 at the Stritch 39 Weigel connected with Xander Wiemken up the seam and he corraled it. The Dogs did miss on the extra point, making the difference 27-7 with 14 seconds left in the period.
Stritch ended the scoring on a 14-yard strike from Foust to Jacob Ball with 4:30 left. They did come up short on the two-point conversion that put the margin at 27-13.
Swanton has two games left to close the season. They will wrap up Northwest Ohio Athletic League play this Friday at Evergreen (0-8).
“We don’t need any motivation. It’s Evergreen,” said the Swanton coach of the upcoming matchup. “Won’t take much to get our guys pumped up for this game. Getting the first ‘W’ will help brighten up the locker room this week but our kids know what this game means to the community and they will be ready to go.”
The Dogs will follow up that contest with a home non-league game versus Delta Friday, Oct. 30.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010