The Coldwater Cavaliers overcame three turnovers inside the red zone to pull away from a gritty West Jefferson football team in the second half and win the Region 20 Championship, 28-6.
Sooner or later the Coldwater Cavaliers will find a way. Even with untimely turnovers and facing a highly motivated team, Coldwater always seems to find a way to win big games.
That was the case Friday night in the Region 20 Final at Piqua’s Alexander Stadium as Coldwater used big plays to overcome three turnovers inside the red zone to capture a 28-6 victory over a gritty West Jefferson team.
In a rematch of last year’s regional final that saw Coldwater have its way with the Rough Riders by the score of 44-12 at Northmont, West Jefferson let the Cavaliers know early that a victory this time around wasn’t going to be so easy by driving the length of the field on the opening possession.
Mixing a powerful running game with accurate passes by quarterback Cody Williams, the Rough Riders kept the Cavalier defense off balance until striking gold on a 38-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Love. On the play Love battled between two Coldwater defenders to tip an under-thrown ball to himself and scooted his way into the end zone.
In spite of failing to capitalize on the point-after attempt, the score put the Rough Rider faithful into a frenzy and gave the underdogs the momentum it needed to believe.
Coldwater also gave West Jefferson a reason to believe later in the first quarter by turning the ball over via a fumble inside the West Jefferson five.
It wasn’t until early in the second quarter before Coldwater could reach the end zone as Austin Bruns connected with last week’s hero Caleb Siefring from 15 yards out to give the Cavaliers a 7-6 lead after the successful extra point attempt by senior Troy Otten.
After forcing a punt on West Jefferson’s next possession, Coldwater moved within striking distance once again with under one minute left in the half. But the Rough Rider defense stepped up once more, intercepting a Bruns pass in the end zone to make the score 7-6 at the break.
With a steady wind at its back Coldwater took possession to start the second half, but couldn’t get anything going and was forced to punt.
Still riding high from its effort in the first half, West Jefferson moved the ball to midfield and was faced with a tough decision on fourth-and-two. After trying to draw the Cavaliers off-sides, the Rough Riders chose to punt the ball away – giving Coldwater the ball at it’s own 30.
Two plays later Bruns connected with Siefring from 68 yards away to push the lead to 14-6 after Otten’s second successful point-after.
Coldwater’s defense waisted little time getting the ball back on a three-and-out as the tide of the game was heavily in the favor of the Cavaliers.
And a 55-yard hookup from Bruns to Josh Huber had Coldwater knocking at the door once again at the Rough Rider four.
But for the third time in the contest the Cavaliers were turned away inside the red zone as the Rough Riders recovered another fumble on the very next play to gain new life.
West Jefferson moved the ball once again to midfield, but the drive stalled to hand the ball back to Coldwater at it’s own 25 as the third quarter was winding down.
Still, it was enough time for Coldwater to capitalize with the wind at its back as Bruns hooked up with Josh Huber down the Cavalier sideline for a 72-yard scoring strike and a 21-6 lead.
Looking to get back into the game quickly as the fourth quarter started, the Rough Riders went to a no-huddle and once again were on the move near midfield. That was until Cavalier linebacker Zach Dickman got a hand on a Cody Williams pass, tipping the ball high in the air until resting in the arms of defensive lineman Alan Kunk’s arms.
From there Coldwater put the game away, driving the distance and scoring on a four-yard run by Drew Klosterman.
At the end of the day West Jefferson gave Coldwater its best shot, but like they have done time and again – the Coldwater Cavaliers found a way.