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Published: Saturday, 9/7/2002

Paige runs wild in Rossford win

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

TONTOGANY - It's no secret Darren Paige weighs heavily in Rossford's no-huddle offensive game plan.

He's the Bulldogs' version of Pittsburgh's Kordell Stewart.

Going up against an undefeated Otsego team looking for its third straight win, Paige produced one of those all-around efforts that would make any coach ecstatic to have such a talent wearing his school colors.

The 6-2, 180-pound senior led the way as the Bulldogs rolled to a 31-14 defeat of the Knights. Bowling Green coach Urban Meyer was among the crowd on hand to witness Paige's performance.

Rossford's quarterback/running back/wideout/punt returner/kickoff returner accounted for more than 250 all-purpose yards while producing three touchdown runs and passing for another.

Spending most of the night playing behind center, Paige scored on runs of 73, 5 and 22 yards while rushing for a team-high 126 yards on 12 carries. He also completed 13 of 22 passes for 127 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown toss to Kyle Ingraham.

“The kid is the whole package,” said Rossford coach Tom Ferguson, of Paige. “He's definitely three-dimensional. We're happy he's on our side.”

Otsego coach Dan Cocke won't be upset that the Knights have faced him for the last time.

“We don't regularly see kids like that,” Cocke said. “[Ferguson] has a nice team. Paige is an excellent football player, but he has some other nice ball players on that team.”

On a night when Paige practically had his way running around the field, Rossford's kicking game also came through to help the Bulldogs (2-1) head into Northern Lakes League play on an up note.

“He's capable from 50 yards out,” Ferguson said.

Otsego actually scored first, taking the opening kickoff and rolling into the end zone in just two plays. Following a four-yard run by fullback Garrett Bays, Ben Tippenhauer hauled in a pass from Chad Zellin and turned it into a 75-yard touchdown reception with 11:02 left in the first quarter.

But the Knights' prosperity was short-lived.

The Bulldogs needed only two plays to tie the game. After a short gain by Paul Curtis, Paige took the second snap of the possession and darted his way around the Knights defense for a 73-yard touchdown scamper.

By the end of the quarter Paige had taken the Bulldogs on another scoring drive to put them ahead for good, lofting a pass to Ingraham for the go-ahead touchdown with 2:39 remaining.

“We needed this one,” Paige said. “Really, our offensive line played great. They were tremendous. They opened up holes for the backs and we got it done.

“Everybody was doing their jobs, so I had to do my job.”

Tippenhauer finished the night with 184 total yards for the Knights, including 99 rushing on 10 carries. Zellin completed 3 of 7 passes for 117 yards as the Bulldogs defense, led by Kenny Spohn, Adam Miller and Aaron Kurth, settled down after giving up the big play early in the game.

Rossford plays next week at Perrysburg. Otsego opens Suburban Lakes League play at Lakota.



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