By Cort Reynolds
Ada Herald Writer
WAPAKONETA - The determined Ada football team turned the tables on fellow Northwest Conference tri-champion Crestview with a dominating performance on both sides of the ball in their Div. VI, region 20 semifinal playoff at Wapakoneta High School Friday night.
After losing 63-12 at Crestview in week seven of the regular season, the Bulldogs avenged that defeat convincingly by crushing the Knights 35-0 in the rematch to advance to the Div. VI region finals for the first time in four years.
The Bulldogs improved to 9-3 with the lopsided victory while Crestview ends its campaign 9-3.
The seventh-seeded Bulldogs will take on fifth seed Wayne Trace (11-1) Friday, November 22 at a site TBA for the region 20 title and a spot in the state semifinals.
Ada totally stymied the Crestview ground game and intercepted three passes. The stingy Bulldog defense posted its second shutout of the campaign by repeatedly coming up big deep in the red zone.
Twice they stopped Knight drives on fourth and short inside the 10 in the first half, and in the second half an interception by Matt Wilcox kept them off the board again.
Ada senior Austin Dumbaugh forced the first of three fumbles he caused to help set the Bulldogs up with good field position at the Crestview 44 midway through the opening stanza.
A 20-yard run by Wilcox advanced Ada to the Knight 10. He then completed consecutive five-yard passes to Hunter Waller to put the Bulldogs on top 7-0 after Waller booted the extra point.
The drive took just 100 seconds and covered 44 yards in seven plays.
The swarming Ada defense then forced a third straight three-and-out series by Crestview. After a punt the purple and gold took over on their own 34, where a juggling catch by Spencer Archer quickly netted 25 yards.
Blake Ansley ran nine yards up the middle and Archer picked up another first down on a Wilcox aerial. Moments later, Waller hauled in a 22-yard touchdown toss with 1:47 left in the first period.
Waller added another PAT kick as he scored the first 14 Ada points to punctuate a seven-play, 66-yard drive that ate up 2:23.
The struggling Crestview offense finally earned its initial first down on their fourth drive as they marched to the Ada 15. Another run reached the Bulldog nine as the first quarter expired.
Yet on third and two, senior Saed Al-Olimat stuffed a fullback run to force fourth and two. This time Dumbaugh pulled down Knight quarterback Preston Zalewski for a short loss and Ada took over on downs at its own nine.
After stopping the Bulldogs, Cretsview took over at its own 45 in good position. Al-Olimat sacked Zalewski for a loss of four. But on third and 13, Zalewski connected with Isiah Simerman on a 32-yard pass to the Ada 16.
A penalty forced the Knights into third and 20 and Zalewski completed a 19-yard toss to bring up another key fourth and short play.
After a timeout, Zalewski tried to run around left end but was brought down by Ansley for another huge stop after a loss of one.
Ada started at its own eight and and after a punt the Knights had one last good chance to get on the scoreboard before halftime and make it a game.
Crestview took over on the Bulldog 34 with 2:07 remaining, yet once more the bend but don't Ada break defense came up big. Archer intercepted a pass at the 10 and returned it to the 21.
A 29-yard pass to Waller moved the 'Dogs to midfield, but time ran out before they had a chance to add to their lead.
The Bulldogs took the second half kickoff and marched well into Knight territory. A 31-yard pass to Dumbaugh over the middle advanced Ada to the 26.
But on the next play, Zalewski intercepted a Wilcox pass just past the goal line, and he returned it to the 32 to give the Knights a chance to change the momentum.
However, the Ada defense would not allow it. Waller tackled Zalewski for a loss, and then Lane Nitchie recorded a sack when the QB slipped under a heavy rush.
After a high but short punt, the Bulldog took over in good position at the Knight 43. Wilcox rolled out and hooked up with Waller for an 11-yard gain. But the drive stalled and a fourth down pass fell incomplete, turning the ball over on downs at the Knight 25.
On third and three, Dumbaugh tipped a Zalewski pitch and recovered the loose pigskin to give Ada a huge turnover at the Knight 28.
This time Ada would capitalize to seize complete control of the contst. Dumbaugh caught a 14-yard pass and a 13-yard run by Wilcox gave Ada first and goal at the one.
Ansley plunged in to score from a yard out to give the Bulldogs a 21-0 bulge with 2:38 left in the third period.
The Knights threatened on the next drive after starting just short of midfield. Simerman pulled in a 36-yard pass and Zalewski scrmabled for seven more as Crestview advanced to the 15.
But a holding penalty forced third and 19, and Wilcox picked off a Zalewski pass under heavy pressure from Noah Beach and returned it to the Ada 26.
The Bulldogs then embarked on a 74-yard, 10-play scoring drive to put the game out of reach. Dumbaugh moved the chains on a pair of passes, the second of which was augmented by a personal foul.
A 38-yard aerial to Archer put the Bulldogs at first and goal on the Knight five. Two plays later, Ansley powered in over the left side on a two-yard TD run with 8:01 remaining.
The 4:29 scoring march extended the margin to 28-0.
Wilcox intercepted Zalewski on the next play from scrimmage and returned it 40 yards to the Knight 20, but it was called back to the 45 by an illegal block penalty.
Ansley snared a pair of 15-yard passes to set up first and goal from the 10. Two Ansley runs gained seven yards. On third and goal, Ansley scored on a three-yard run with 5:08 left to cap a 55-yard, nine-play TD drive.
Waller's fifth PAT in as many tries finished the scoring at 35-0.
Notes and stats
The shutout was Ada's second of the season and first since blanking Columbus Grove 20-0 back in week three. The Bulldogs forced four turnovers and committed just one miscue.
Ada has now beaten both of its NWC tri-champions, Delphos Jefferson and Crestview, in the playoffs.
The Bulldogs are now 12-8 in nine post-season appearances. Only in 1994 and 2006 did they lose in the first round. The win over Crestview broke a string of three consecutive second round losses, however.
Ada's last run to the regional finals came in 2009, when the Bulldogs fell in overtime to eventual runner-up Delphos St. John's, 34-31.
A victory over Wayne Trace would advance Ada to the state semifinals for the second time. Their previous semifinal showing came in 2007, where they lost to eventual runner-up Hopewell-Loudon in overtime by a 41-38 tally.
WT (11-1) also advanced to the region 20 final by avenging a regular season loss to their second round foe. The lone Raider loss came at Defiance Tinora in week eight by a 27-16 count.
But they earned a measure of revenge by whipping top-seeded Tinora 40-7 at Lima in the other region 20 semifinal.
Explosive WT averages 49.6 ppg and has scored 40 or more points in 10 of their 12 games, with a high of 80 coming in a shutout of Holgate in week five. The solid Raider defense has posted three shutouts and allows 13.2 ppg.
Ada averages 29.3 ppg and permits 19.3 per outing.
1 2 3 4 F
Ada 14 0 7 14 35
Cvw 0 0 0 0 0