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HAMLER The Patrick Henry offense was productive against Archbold last night, which was expected.
The Blue Streaks offense, however, was not and that wasn't expected.
The Patriots limited Archbold to just 66 yards in the first half to build a 28-0 halftime lead on the way to a 35-7 victory in the battle of state-ranked teams.
'Our defense was good, but this was the best offense we've played all year,' Patrick Henry coach Bill Inselmann said of the Blue Streaks, who came into the contest averaging 387 yards and nearly 40 points per game. 'We tried to mix up our looks, and we went in with the thought that we were going to stop the run.
'It was kind of a pick your poison [situation], but we didn't want them to run the football.'
Patrick Henry, which entered the game ranked third in Division V, improved to 8-0 and claimed at least a share of its seventh consecutive Northwest Ohio Athletic League crown at 7-0.
Archbold, which entered the contest ranked second in Division V, fell to 7-1 and 5-1.
PH burst out of the gate quickly, getting a 50-yard run by Bill Miller on the first play from scrimmage and a 17-yard dash by Justin Buenger on the second. Luke George capped the five-play scoring drive with a two-yard run.
Then the Patriot defense made its first statement when Miller intercepted a David Rupp pass and returned it to the Blue Streaks' 19.
Patrick Henry converted the turnover into points when, on a fourth-and-goal, George rolled out and found Mitch Leonard in the end zone for a two-yard strike.
'We were like the deer in the headlights the first couple of minutes,' Archbold coach John Downey said. 'We settled down, but we never got into sync on offense.'
Midway through the second quarter George found Leonard alone behind the Archbold defense for a 47-yard scoring strike, and the Patriot defense forced another Archbold turnover to set up a score.
The turnover came when Rupp saw the snap sail past him before he was ready; after he tracked the ball down, he threw a pass that Austin Bower picked off near midfield.
After a 37-yard pass from George to Leonard set PH up on the Streaks' 13, Buenger swept left and scored to make the score 28-0 at the break.
'I think our offense is a little underrated,' said George, who added a second TD run in the fourth quarter that put the game on ice. 'People talk about our defense, and it is great, but I think our offense is right there.
'It starts with our line on everything from run plays to pass plays. And they're playing great right now.'
But the talk of the contest centered on the Patrick Henry defense, which held Archbold to just 257 yards. Fidler, who entered the game averaging 152.7 yards per game, was limited to just 69 yards on 13 carries, while Rupp had just 59 yards and was 3-of-16 passing for 57 yards.
The Patriots, who came into the game averaging 451 yards and better than 44 points per game, finished with 390 yards of total offense, including 215 on the ground. Buenger had 95 yards on 15 carries. George completed 11-of-16 passes
for 175 yards.
Contact John Wagner at: email@example.com or 419-724-6481.