By Gary R. Rasberry
FOSTORIA -- After giving up more points than they usually do last week against Delta, the Coldwater Cavaliers came out Friday with a simple plan: to shut down the things that made Huron successful.
No problem there.
The Cavaliers kept the Tigers off the scoreboard until the start of the fourth quarter and contained them for the other moments of the game to capture the Division IV Region 16 title with a 19-6 win at Fostoria Memorial Stadium.
Coldwater (13-0) will play for a berth in the state finals on Friday at a site that will be determined on Sunday. The opponent will be a familiar as Versailles will play the Cavaliers for a second time this season.
"It was a tremendous game plan from coach (Tim) Hoyng, coach (Jason) Hemmelgarn, coach (Chip) Otten, coach (Randy) Wright and coach (Aaron) Weigel. I can't say enough about the way they prepared these guys," said Coldwater head coach John Reed. "They took away what (Huron) wanted to do. Regardless of the field conditions (which got muddy as the steady rain lasted most of the game), we did not let them have the big plays. "No question, that's what we had to do. We knew they were a big-play team. They had hurt every team we've seen film on with the big play. We took that away and were able to execute the big play early," continued Reed.
The big play Reed referred to came in two parts. The first part came on the fourth play of the game for the Tigers when Brian West rushed the ball. Ross Homan came in and knocked the ball away and Matt Howell snagged it to give the Cavaliers the ball at the 50.
After a Homan carry netted a yard, Steve Borger looked deep for Craig Wellman. Wellman got away from coverage and was right on the spot of Borger's throw, resulting in the true game-winner just 2 1/2 minutes into the game after Trevor Stromblad's extra point. Wellman made four catches for 100 yards as Borger went 9-of-17 for 168 yards.
"We came out to see what they would give us and they gave us the press coverage on Gweedo (Wellman) and we felt that's going to be six," said Reed.
The big blow took most of the wind out of the sails of Huron. What wind that was left was knocked out by the Coldwater defense.
With the Tigers constantly looking to see where Homan was at from his linebacker position, it left open some openings for the other Cavalier defensive players. The defensive line came up big, especially senior end Gaston Pleiman. Pleiman had four sacks on quarterback Branden Jakubcin (pronounced Jacobsen), resulting in a total of minus 30 yards.
"During the whole week, we had a great scouting report," said Pleiman. "The scout team really helped us out. The whole defensive line was working together. We had a great package for the offense."
As is the rule with the Cavaliers, it was not a solo act as Jakubcin was sacked seven times in the game. The biggest came in the third quarter as Joe Wermert swarmed in as Jakubcin was just inside the end zone. Wermert made the play for the safety with 4:01 left in the third.
The ensuing free kick put the Cavaliers on the Huron 49 and Borger went to work with a productive drive. Even with the rain, Borger was able to get some dandy passes off. On a second-and-eight from the 37, he found a leaping Pleiman for 18 yards. Later on a second-and-goal from the 10, Borger rolled right, stopped and fired left to a wide-open Pleiman, who got both feet down inbounds to make the score 19-0 with two seconds left in the quarter. Pleiman finished with three catches for 60 yards.
The hope for the shutout was ended at the start of the fourth quarter when Jakubcin was able to put together a drive which culminated in his running the final 12 yards for the lone score of the game.
Coldwater had a little trouble putting together drives to run out the clock, punting once and then losing two fumbles in the final four minutes. Huron, however, was unable to take advantage as Jakubcin was picked off by Brady Geier and Stromblad and the time ran out on the final series, which ended with Brian M. Brunswick getting his second sack of the night.
"Defense deserves so much credit, across the board," said Reed. "I thought everyone made big plays tonight. Big play after big play."