Rossford upends Fostoria

PHOTO BY JONATHON BIRD Fostoria tailback Bryan Stenson follows a block on a run against Rossford Friday.

FOSTORIA — It was back in 1988 that Jamie Clay played a major role as quarterback on the fifth of Dick Kidwell’s 11 playoff football teams over a storied 20-year career at Fostoria High School.

Now, 31 years later, Clay has again impacted Redmen football, but he did so as a member of the visiting Rossford coaching staff.

A successful gamble by the Bulldogs special teams paved the way for a go-ahead score and Rossford stayed on top the rest of the way in gaining a 38-16 Northern Buckeye Conference win at Dick Kidwell Field here Friday night.

The Bulldogs trailed Fostoria 8-7 early in the second period when Rossford’s Jacob Shiffert faked a punt and ran 2 yards for a first down on his own 40. Nine plays later, quarterback Kyle Kromenacker ran 25 yards for a touchdown and a 14-8 lead.

“Coach Clay, our special teams coordinator, watched film and thought they kind of peeled back (on punt returns) and so every punt, it was basically on Jake to read it,” Rossford head coach Todd Drusback said after his club improved to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in conference play.

“I was a little tight but I think (Shiffert) had it in his mind he was going to look and then just take off,” Drusback said. “It was big because I think we ended up scoring and kind of swung the momentum our way.”

True enough.

The Redmen (4-3, 2-2) took in the opening kick and went old-school in dominating fashion with five straight running plays, all of them going to Bryan Stenson, for an 83-yard scoring drive. The touchdown came on a 54-yard breakaway and Devin Mauricio’s run for the extras made it 8-0 Fostoria, with the game not yet two minutes old.

“We wanted to test their physicality on the first drive and we did that,” Fostoria coach Derek Kidwell said.

But it turned out to be a one-shot deal. Penalties and three turnovers handcuffed the Redmen for much of the night.

Two of those turnovers — interceptions by Ben Morrison and Shiffert — set up first-half touchdowns for the Bulldogs.

The first score came on Kromenacker’s 65-yard touchdown pass to Dylan Prater with 2:25 to go in the first period. The second also resulted in a quick hit as Kromenacker passed to Jamari Croom for 34 yards before running 16 yards on a keeper for the touchdown and a 21-8 edge with 2:37 left in the half.

But the Redmen responded quickly with an 81-yard scoring drive that featured runs of 16 and 19 yards by quarterback Dom Settles and passes for 15 yards to Xavier Diaz and 32 yards to Stenson.

That last connection was good for a first down at the Bulldog 3 and Stenson carried in from there. Settles’ pass to Mauricio trimmed the lead to 21-16 at the half.

“That was a really big score by Fostoria. We thought we had him pinned, but he’s really good,” Drusback said of Settles. “We were concerned by the non-design running plays that he does. He made a play and they scored.”

But the Redmen were limited in what they were able to do offensively the rest of the way. After generating 214 yards in total offense in the first half, Fostoria managed just 28 yards rushing and another 7 passing in the second half.

Penalties — the Redmen were hit for nine infractions for 105 yards — and another turnover deflated the attack.

“We can’t get out of our own way,” Kidwell said. “We wanted to run the ball the way we did that first drive, but you can’t have holding calls that set you back 10 yards.

“It’s tough to get yardage out of the running game when you’re going backwards, so then we tried to throw the ball,” he said. “It was a bad night for our quarterback. We just didn’t play well.”

Jackson Murtha’s 27-yard field goal midway through the third period pushed the Rossford lead to 24-16.

Early in the fourth, Prater’s interception set the Bulldogs up on the Fostoria 25. Kromenacker hit Lukas Klotz for a 17-yard score.

Kromenacker finished a big night with a 10-yard TD run, part of a 144-yard rushing night on 27 carries. He also completed 8 of 21 passes for 204 yards.

“When he runs the ball early, he kind of gets into a rhythm a little bit,” Drusback said. “I didn’t call any of those quarterback design runs until a little bit later. Once he starts running a little bit, he kind of gets into a flow and he starts making some plays.”

The Redmen, meanwhile, will be on the rebound.

“Their quarterback did what he wanted running the ball and throwing the ball,” Kidwell said. “We’ve got to make him uncomfortable, but we never did.

“We turned the ball over way too many times and we had way too many penalties,” he said. “We were undisciplined and that’s why we were on the losing end tonight.”