by Hank Krause
The visiting Hinton Blackhawks handed the A-W Westerners a 42-28 loss in the IHSAA Quarterfinals football playoff. Hinton reversed an earlier season 41-35 loss to A-W. The game was an emotional roller coaster because the lead changed hands five times.
A-W jumped to an early 13-0 lead only to see it slip away before a huge crowd of about 2,500 people. There were people and cars crowded everywhere. It was great to see because they witnessed a real effort by both teams.
A-W scored first as they recovered a fumbled snap and A-W took over at the Hinton 24. A-W capitalized as Cory Eskra found Chance Hoffman open for a five yard touchdown pass. Taylor James later added to the score with a two yard run to make it 13-0.
Morgan Wenzel, the Hinton quarterback, hit Dalton Becker for a 12 yard touchdown. On A-W’s next possession Logan Jurgensmeier picked off an Eskra aerial and it was pick six as Hinton grabbed a 14-13 lead. James later scored from the two as A-W regained the lead. Wenzel scored two touchdowns with a one and later a two yard run to put Hinton back in the lead 27-19.
A-W had a bad break at the end of the first half as they drove to the Hinton one yard line. A-W spiked the ball but time ran out before A-W could try to score.
Early in the second half, A-W struck quickly as James dashed into the middle and out the other side for 50 yards, and A-W closed it to 27-25. With four minutes to go in the third quarter, James kicked the ball to add a field goal and make the score A-W 28, Hinton 27.
On the ensuing kickoff, A-W tried an onside kick and dadgummit, it almost worked! Hinton’s Wenzel had a hand in the final two touchdowns. The first touchdown came on a 50 yard drive, which took five plays. Hinton scored on a 17 yard pass play from Wenzel to Becker to make it Hinton 35, A-W 28. A-W was forced on a three and out and punted the ball away. Hinton again drove 68 yards in nine plays as Wenzel scored from the seven yard line to make it 42-28.
Aside from a couple of errors, A-W really got hurt as Chance Hoffman sprained his ankle and he just couldn’t go. Taylor James again led the Akron-Westfield attack with 16 carries while Cory Eskra carried the ball 30 times for 94 yards.
It was a game in which both teams left every ounce of energy on the field. It was a proud and touching moment to see the boys of A-W cry unashamedly on the field. I would like to congratulate the boys on a fine 10 and 2 season. We, the A-W football fans would like to express our thanks to Coach Eric Walkingstick, plus his assistants Kent Johnson, Jeff Wolthuizen, Ryan Bergman, Brent James, Dan Tindall, and Nathan Harris. Job well done!
1 2 3 4 T
A-W 13 6 9 0 28
H 7 20 8 7 42
First Downs 19 19
Rushes-yds. 38-65 46-208
Passing 7-9-3 13-6-0
Passing yds 194 129
Total offense 259 337
Fumbles lost 1/1 3/0
Penalties 3-18 9-82
Punts 6-15.3 4-30.2
A-W Eskra 5 yd. pass to Hoffman, James kick, good
A-W James 2 yd. run, James kick ng
Hinton Wenzel 12 yd. pass to Becker, Mathias Gross-Holtick kick, good
Hinton Jurgensmeier 12 yd. interception return, Gross-Holtick kick, good
A-W James 2 yd. run, Willer pass ng.
Hinton Wenzel 1 yd. run, Gross-Holtick kick, good
Hinton Wenzel 2 yd. run, Gross-Holtick kick, ng
A-W James 50 yd. run, Eskra PAT ng
A-W James 0 yd. FG
Hinton Wenzel 16 yd. pass to Becker,
Hinton Wenzel 7 yd. run, Gross-Holtick kick, good