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Published: Saturday, 9/20/2008

Liberty Center capitalizes on Wauseon miscues

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

LIBERTY CENTER It s a simple football truth: teams that commit turnovers seldom win.

And that simple truth was evident in Liberty Center s 41-21 win over Wauseon last night.

The Indians committed three turnovers in the first half, and the Tigers turned two of them into touchdowns. And once the LC offense got rolling, Wauseon had no answer as the Tigers piled up 342 rushing yards and 476 yards of total offense.

We jumped on them pretty quick, Liberty Center coach Rex Lingruen said. When they had turnovers, we were able to take advantage of them.

Liberty Center improved to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League, while Wauseon fell to 2-3 and 2-1.

The Tigers scored first on an eight-play, 67-yard drive that saw Jake Elling find the end zone from a yard out with 1:20 left in the first quarter.

On the first play of the second period, Wauseon quarterback Landon Schaffner threw an interception that LC s Bryan Busch returned 38 yards to the Indians 5. Elling capped that short drive with another one-yard TD plunge.

Wauseon responded with a three-play drive that gobbled up 78 yards, with J.D. Warncke covering the last 24 on a reverse.

But Liberty Center took a 21-point lead into the lockerroom at halftime, scoring twice with 1:40 left.

The first score came on a 58-yard pass play from Patrick Brown to Petr Prchlik; the Tigers then recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and Prchlik caught a seven-yard scoring strike from Brown with just 33 seconds to play in the half.

In that four-minute span we went from thinking it would be 14-7 at halftime to being 28-7, Wauseon coach Mark Emans said. It kind of snowballed from there.

They converted all of our turnovers into points. A good team is going to take advantage of those things.

In the third quarter, Liberty Center s Damian Maes caught a 15-yard TD toss from Brown, and Andy Spiess scored on a three-yard run early in the fourth to put the game out of reach.

Elling had 111 yards rushing, and Spiess finished with 109. That helped open up the passing game for Brown, who completed 6 of 12 passes for 134 yards.

The LC offense had three TDs on the ground and three in the air, and the Tigers finished with 17 of their 63 plays covering 10 yards or more.

We controlled the line of scrimmage, and that helped, Lingruen said. We were able to hit them outside, then come inside a little bit.

And when Pat [Brown] is on, he can do a great job. We need him to do a great job for us to be good. Our play-action was really big, and that s what we need to do: establish the run and open up the passing game.

The Indians were without senior running back Colin Hughes after the league s leading runner injured his hamstring in practice during the week.

Junior Jeff Jasso replaced Hughes and performed admirably, finishing with 129 yards on 16 carries as the Indians had 254 yards on the ground.

But it wasn t enough to keep pace with Liberty Center, a team that seemed to have rebounded from a tough loss to archrival Patrick Henry the week before.

We knew [that loss] wasn t the end of the season it was only week four, Brown said. We had an excellent week of practice, and we came out hungry.

Contact John Wagner at:jwagner@theblade.com or 419-724-6481.



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