One moment you have momentum ... then suddenly it's gone.
Late in the second quarter on Friday night at Defiance's Fred J. Brown Stadium, the host Bulldogs appeared poised to score against WBL foe Lima Shawnee and tie up the game at 7-7 on Senior Night. But a lost fumble inside the 10-yard line squelched the drive, and when the Indians went 91 yards to paydirt before the half came to a close, suddenly Shawnee was in control.
After stopping Defiance's opening drive of the second half, Shawnee went 93 yards to score and the Indians cruised from there on the way to a 33-7 victory over the Bulldogs in their final home game of the 2011 season.
"This is the way I would summarize this game ... our offense didn't give the defense a chance to win the game and our defense didn't give the offense any chance either," stated Defiance mentor Jerry Buti. "They didn't work well together the whole game. We didn't make many plays offensively, we had penalties and a big fumble in the red zone. Point-wise we know what that does to a team, but emotionally you don't know how the game changes if we score there in second quarter.
"But give Shawnee credit, they didn't do anything we weren't expecting and we still couldn't stop them," continued Buti. "It looked like we hadn't seen a jet-sweep in our lives. They did what they wanted to and we didn't respond like a Defiance football team should. It's too bad on Senior Night we didn't respond better. We got outplayed ... that looked like us last year and that's very disappointing to me."
Shawnee mentor Dick West, who has led the Indians (4-4, 3-4 WBL) to three straight wins over the Bulldogs (4-4, 3-4 WBL), pointed to the momentum swing late in the second quarter as the key to the victory.
"On our first touchdown when we hit our back out of the backfield for that touchdown, that really helped us because it spread out Defiance's defense," said West. "In the second quarter it looked like Defiance was going to be taking it in, but we came up with that fumble at the 9-yard line. To me that was the key to the game. If they score, it's tied, but we went 91 yards to go up two scores. To me, that was our best drive of the season."
After a scoreless first quarter, Shawnee struck early in the second stanza when Seth Rosenbauer connected with Tyler Lundy out of the backfield for a 37-yard scoring strike to give the visitors a 7-0 lead. Later in the quarter, Defiance's Trey Guilliam picked a Rosenbauer aerial at his own 45 and returned it to the Shawnee 39 to give the home team great field position.
Just six plays later, the Bulldogs had the ball first-and-goal at the Shawnee nine with less than three minutes to play in the half. Nick Lopez got the handoff and went right, but he lost the football, where Trey Runneals came up with ball for the Indians with 2:32 to play in the first half. With exactly 1:00 to play before half, Sam Altenbach scored the first of his four touchdowns on a 14-yard scamper to put the visitors in front, 13-0.
"Our front seven didn't tackle anybody after they scored that late touchdown in the first half, we got handled up there," Buti said. "They run you outside, then they come back inside and we had some guys up there who got taught a hard lesson tonight. We had a great week of practice, but you can have a great week of practice and stink on Friday night. That's what we did."
Early in the third quarter Defiance desperately needed to put some points on the board to try and regain some momentum, but Shawnee forced the Bulldogs to punt on the opening drive of the half. After Shallus Beatty pinned the Indians at their own 7-yard line, they didn't even blink. Altenbach capped off a 6-play drive when he scored on a 46-yard run to push the advantage to 19-0.
The Bulldogs answered with touchdown drive late in the stanza to cut the deficit to 19-7. Justin Kahle scored on a 21-yard run for the Bulldogs, but Shawnee answered again early in the fourth quarter on an Altenbach 5-yard jaunt. Shawnee closed out the Bulldogs when Altenbach, who rushed for 200 yards on 24 carries, capped the scoring.
"In halftime we told the kids to keep executing and don't let up," said West. "We went through a stretch where we didn't play well for three games or so, and for us it's just about trying to get better. I thought our defense played well tonight too against a very good Defiance offense. To hold them to seven points is a very good effort."
Lopez finished with 111 yards on 26 carries for to lead the Bulldogs, which travel to Kenton (ranked No. 1 in the state in Division IV) on Friday. Guilliam added 10 catches for 75 yards. Altenbach's 200 yards paced the Indians, which host Wapakoneta on Friday.
First Downs 19 9
Rushing Yards 52-399 37-141
Passing Yards 69 85
Total Yards 468 226
Passing 2-4-1 9-17-1
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 3-2
Penalties 3-15 7-55
Shawnee 0 13 6 14 - 33
Defiance 0 0 7 0 - 7
S - Lundy 37-pass from Rosenbauer (Nance kick).
S - Altenbach 14-run (kick failed).
S - Altenbach 46-run (run failed).
D - Kahle 21-run (Botek kick).
S - Altenbach 5-run (kick failed).
S - Albtenbach 5-run (Rosenbauer pass from Bailey).
RUSHING: Shawnee - Altenbach 24-200; Lundy 9-67; McNeal 8-59; Rosenbauer 3-33; Kaplan 4-26; Nance 2-16; Frieson 1-0; Crea 1-(-2). Defiance - Lopez 26-111; Kahle 10-53; Keween 1(-23). PASSING: Shawnee - Rosenbauer 2-4-1-69. Defiance - Keween 9-17-1-85. RECEIVING: Shawnee- Lundy 1-37; McNeal 1-32. Defiance - Guilliam 7-75; Hancock 2-10.