Pirates top Golden Bears

Pirates top Golden Bears

Image Credit: Dave Mast

There are certain moments in a football game that tend to signal you’re going to be in for a good evening.

For Garaway quarterback Logan Yoder and the Pirates, that moment came on the opening drive of their contest with Waynedale on Friday, Aug. 26 on The Hill in Sugarcreek.

Facing a third-down near mid-field, Yoder dropped back, fired a pass across the middle and had it swatted into the air. Oddly, the ball careened upward and could have fallen into anyone’s hands, on the ground or been returned for a pick-six. However, the ball bounded straight up and came down in the hands of Yoder, who calmly picked it out of the air, dodged several Waynedale defenders and his eight-yard completion to himself was good enough for a first down that kept the drive alive.

Several plays later the Pirates completed a lengthy scoring march when Yoder’s 24-yard touchdown pass across the middle of the field was snared by a leaping Jenson Garber, and Garaway had a lead it would not relinquish in a 33-3 victory.

“A little bit of luck never hurts,” Garaway head coach Jason Wallick said.

While the PAT was blocked to limit Garaway’s early lead to 6-0, the Pirates got the ball right back when senior defensive back Mason Elliott made an interception on the ensuing Golden Bears possession, and on third down Yoder again found Garber on a 10-yard touchdown strike and a 13-0 lead.

“It was important for us to get out quickly,” Wallick said. “We harped on that all week.”

Wallick also praised Garber for his effort, referring to him as an intelligent player and excellent route runner who simply gets the job done.

“It felt nice to start fast and continue fast,” Garber said. “We started so slowly last week, so it felt nice to push the tempo on them early, which is exactly what we wanted to try to do.”

Another Garaway stop could have bumped the lead even further, but Waynedale’s Marquez Troyer jumped in front of Yoder’s pass attempt for an interception. The Bears couldn’t move the ball, thanks to a great defensive play in the backfield by Peyton Miller, and Garaway took over possession.

The teams traded possessions after Garaway’s Wyatt Wallick recorded a sack, and Yoder found Gabe Amicone twice — once on a 23-yard pass and catch down the left sideline, the other on a play that saw Amicone make an astounding catch on a Golden Bears defender’s back, putting the Pirates at the 2-yard line. Yoder then dropped the shotgun snap, picked it up, rolled right and zipped a touchdown pass to Dillon Soehnlen to make it 20-0.

The Bears would finally find success, putting together a long drive that took them inside the Pirates 10 on the strength of Troyer’s running, but the drive stalled, and with 43 seconds in the half, Jeremy Reber’s 30-yard field goal kick was true, trimming the Waynedale deficit to 20-3.

The Pirates would quickly work the ball to the Waynedale 20, but a Yoder pass sailed over the outstretched hands of an open Amicone, and the Pirates held a 20-3 halftime lead.

With Waynedale owning a little momentum having scored late and receiving the second-half kick, things couldn’t have gone worse for them when a fumble was recovered by Garaway’s Wyatt Wallick. That set up a 7-yard touchdown scamper by Yoder in which he juked a pair of defenders on a nifty cutback, and Garaway’s lead grew to 27-3.

“That one hurt,” said Waynedale head coach Zach Golec, whose team dropped to 1-1. “We thought we had some good momentum coming out of the locker room off a score to end the half. We had some good plays dialed up. I’m not so sure it was a fumble, but things happen in this game. We just had to deal with it.”

After that, Garaway got a defensive stop and then turned the ball over to Soehnlen at running back. He went ground and pound, eventually finding pay dirt with a 6-yard score over the left pylon.

Alexander Roden added a Pirates interception late in the fourth, and with the 30-point lead creating a running clock, the Pirates had little resistance closing this one out.

The Pirates outgained the Golden Bears 336-128 in total yardage. Yoder was 24-of-33 through the air for 245 yards and three scores while also running for a TD. Soehnlen rushed for 54 yards on 11 carries and had the TD, with Amicone grabbing seven catches for 64 yards, Soehnlen nabbing seven catches for 60 yards, Garber grabbing five Yoder offerings for 57 yards and two scores, and Brady Yoder hauling in four catches for 53 yards.

“We’ve got some really good skill kids,” Wallick said. “We just have to continue to figure out how best to use them to our advantage as much as possible. I thought tonight we did a good job of rotating our skill kids. We got a lot of kids involved, our line made some really nice blocks on the edge to open things up and we were happy with our overall performance.”

Jaiden Barnes threw for 87 yards on 6-of-19 passing for Waynedale while Troyer added 11 carries for 30 yards and had four catches for 56 yards.

“I thought my kids played hard the whole way,” Golec said. “They battled until the very end against a really good opponent. I told my kids coming in this was a really good football team and a tough place to play. We never hung our heads, and I was proud of our guys.”