HAMLER It was equal parts confirmation and coronation at Big Red Stadium last night as Patrick Henry drubbed visiting Wauseon 54-20.
The Patriots validated something Northwest Ohio Athletic League followers have suspected all season this year s PH squad may be one of the best teams in this storied league s history.
Patrick Henry earned its fourth straight NWOAL title and third straight
outright crown thanks to a 27-point second-quarter explosion, followed by a 20-point third quarter.
Along the way quarterback Zack George set a single-game school record by passing for 365 yards, and his four TD tosses gave him the school s regular-season record with 28.
What s more, wideout Brian Yarnell picked up the slack with All-Ohio receiver Marc Krauss suffering a hip injury. Yarnell caught eight passes for a single-game school-record 233 yards and scored three times.
That s our team, PH coach Bill Inselmann said. Marc Krauss is a great player, but we ve got Brian Yarnell opposite him. Brad Leonard is a good athlete. My little halfbacks do a great job of catching the ball.
But Brian Yarnell evens things out. We love to put him opposite Marc Krauss and dare people to cover him with one man. Brian Yarnell is a gamer. He makes big catches all the time.
The Patriots (10-0, 8-0) have won 29 straight regular-season games as well as 27 consecutive NWOAL contests.
Wauseon (7-2, 6-1) gave PH a scare in the first quarter. The Indians took the opening kickoff and used a crushing running game to cover 65 yards on 10 plays, with Brad Myers scoring from a yard out on a fourth-and-goal play.
Patrick Henry s first drive of the night stalled on the Indians 30, but their second drive used a pair of long passes to find paydirt. George hooked up with Yarnell on a 35-yard pass to move into Wauseon territory, and George hit Yarnell on a 27-yard slant pattern on the first play of the second quarter to give PH a 7-6 lead.
Yarnell intercepted an Aaron Emans pass on Wauseon s next possession, and George found Leonard down the left sideline for a 29-yard TD strike.
Wauseon tied the score when Raymond Martinez broke through the line on a fourth-and-one play and sprinted 38 yards for a score midway through the second quarter.
But Zack Bonner took a pitch and scored from eight yards out with just 2:55 left in the first half to give the Patriots the lead for good. The PH defense then forced the Indians to punt, and the offense squeezed off another score in the final 1:21 when George threw a 49-yard strike to Yarnell.
I thought the first quarter we kind of went toe-to-toe with them, Wauseon coach Mark Emans said. In those final minutes before halftime, where we could have gone in 13-13 and instead they punched two [touchdowns] in, that really took the wind out of our sails.
In the third period Patrick Henry added scores on a 20-yard pass from George to Yarnell, a four-yard run by Josh Strub and a six-yard run by Drew Kuesel to put the game out of reach.
The key possession was the third possession of the second half, George said. When we scored that really hurt them because it put them down by 21. Then they had to go through the air, and they re a running team so they weren t comfortable with that.
Then we scored again, and before you knew it they were down by four scores and they didn t know what hit them.
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