HAMLER — Archbold senior quarterback Garrett Morton hooked up relentlessly with Desmond Sleigh to slay the giants of the Northwest Ohio Athletic League Friday night.
Morton and Sleigh connected on four long touchdown passes to end Patrick Henry's 27-game regular-season winning streak. Morton threw for 369 yards and five TDs, and Sleigh had nine catches for 211 yards to lead Archbold to a 35-14 triumph.
The Blue Streaks (8-0 overall, 6-0 NWOAL) took a big step toward winning their first league crown since 1990 and ending the Patriots' eight-year stranglehold on the title.
“That was a rush,” Morton said. “It was everything we could have imagined. [Sleigh] has speed, and I knew he could get past some people. So I threw it up and let him go get it.”
The Patriots (7-1, 6-1 NWOAL) entered the game with a 67-3 record over the last 70 games. But Archbold's senior duo combined to score on passes of 28, 19, 75, and 46 yards.
“What a wonderful feeling,” Sleigh said. “Garrett and I are good friends, and we work every day on our routes. This was my personal goal since the beginning of the season.”
Patrick Henry entered the game ranked No. 3 in the Division V poll, and Archbold was sixth. The Blue Streaks had lost eight in a row to PH. But Archbold amassed 385 yards of offense and held the high-powered Patriots, who were averaging 32 points per game, to 312 yards and one score.
“That feels great. It's hard to put into words,” Archbold coach
Bryan Miller said. “The kids battled. Patrick Henry had everything going for them with that 27-game winning streak. We just couldn't be prouder.”
Morton completed 23-of-36 passes. He found Sleigh on a short route, and the speedy Sleigh took it 28 yards to open the scoring. They made it 14-8 late in the first quarter when Sleigh was wide open in the end zone for a 19-yard strike.
Patrick Henry trailed 21-8 early in the third and put together a 14-play drive to get to the Archbold 10. But the Blue Streaks stopped the Patriots on fourth down. And three plays later, Morton and Sleigh connected on a 75-yard TD to take full momentum.
“If we were going to make a run in the second half, we had to score on that drive,” PH coach Bill Inselmann said. “That was demoralizing. They stopped us, and that was a 14-point swing.
“But I told the team that sometimes you just have to be a man in life and admit that other people are better. Give Archbold all the credit. They were more athletic.”
Patrick Henry quarterback Kasey Spence was 10-of-14 for 104 yards and one TD.
Spence, who missed some playing time with a possible concussion, also scored on a three-yard run and rushed for 68 yards. Lucas Rosebrook rushed for a team-high 78 yards, while Alex Wilhelm had four catches for 69 years.
Morton also found Tyson Dietrich on a 35-yard pass play for a 21-8 edge. Dietrich had three catches for 56 yards.
“My whole high school career I've been watching us get beat by Patrick Henry, so this was awesome,” Morton said.
Danny Young, who was filling in for Archbold's leading receiver (an injured T.J. Gerken), had five catches for 70 yards. Sleigh runs a 4.5 in the 40.
“We made a lot of really good plays tonight,” Miller said. “We were able to get guys open, and our line protected. Garrett made some really good throws.”
The Blue Streaks also put themselves in good position to host a D-V playoff game. Archbold still must defeat Wauseon and Liberty Center to win the title outright.
“We have two tough ones to go,” Miller said. “We've taken a big step tonight, but we have miles to go.”
Contact Mark Monroe at:email@example.com 419-724-6354.