Anyone looking for a player of the week designation following West Delaware’s 32-20 win over Marion at Brown Field, Sept. 6, would have no shortage of candidates.
Maybe it would be Logan Woellert, who had a big end-zone interception after Marion had crept back into the game early in the third quarter and followed that up with a dandy 46-yard touchdown reception from Jared Voss to put the Hawks back in control at 26-14.
Cael Meyer — who weaved and darted his way to first-half touchdown runs of 17 and 33 yards behind a resurgent West Delaware offensive front — would get some consideration, as would Voss, who completed 8-of-14 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns.
If you’re looking at the defensive side of the ball, a swarming Hawk unit, led by linebackers Kale Rempe and Wyatt Voelker, limited Marion to only 21 total yards in the first half.
All in all, last week’s performance was a big step forward for the Hawks after a lethargic performance in the season-opening loss to Wahlert.
“It certainly wasn’t a complete game, but it was a big step forward for us,” said West Delaware coach Doug Winkowitsch. ‘We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game. Marion is well-coached and their kids want to win too. It’s always going to be a battle.”
A big crowd had barely settled in after a helicopter flyover when Marion’s Dane Carstensen stepped in front of a Voss pass intended for Kyle Kelley near midfield on the second play from scrimmage. Carstensen returned the interception to the 1-yard line, where Ryan Paulsen slipped in for a touchdown on the next play to put the Indians up 7-0 less than a minute into the contest.
That was all the scoring until early in the second quarter when West Delaware’s Alias Underwood found a seam up the middle, cut to the right sideline and scored on a 38-yard run that tied the game after Ben Petlon’s extra-point kick.
The Hawks took over on their own 26 on their next possession. Voss found Sam Loecke for 10 yards on third and seven from midfield, and two plays later, Meyer broke free for 33 yards and a touchdown to make it 13-7.
After a Marion three-and-out on its next possession and a shanked punt, the Hawks took over on the Indian 40. Meyer’s 14-yard scamper on fourth-and-one from the 31 led to a 17-yard touchdown run on the next play, and the teams went to the break with the Hawks leading 20-7.
“Marion had a strong defense, but our guys just executed well. I found a couple of holes and it just got rolling from there,” said Meyer. “Our offensive line is what makes everything roll for us.”
After showing little offense in the first 24 minutes, Marion took advantage of a short field on its opening possession of the second half. Taking over at its own 40, Wyatt Cannon hit CJ Sturbaum Anderson for 32 yards to the West Delaware 37.
Two more pass completions took the Indians to the Hawk nine, and two plays later Cannon scrambled in from three yards out to get the Indians back in the game at 20-14.
After the Hawks fumbled on the ensuing possession, giving Marion a first down at the West Delaware 18, Woellert won a jump ball and intercepted Cannon in the south end zone. After moving the ball into Marion territory, the Hawks saw something they liked and took consecutive shots to the Indian end zone.
Woellert outran the Marion secondary on the second attempt and made a spectacular juggling catch to make it 26-14.
“I’ll tell you what — he made a great play. He had to step in there when Kelley went down. He’s just a playmaker and makes things happen,” said Winkowitsch. “‘They were really coming down on our inside routes and we just felt that if we could get him on that inside seam we might be able to hit it. Logan just made a great play.”
“We knew they weren’t covering very well deep,” said Woellert. “They were jumping routes early, so we made some adjustments. We knew the deep route was open. You just have to stay focused and make the play.”
When Voss found Wyatt Voelker for a 10-yard touchdown reception on the next possession, it was 32-14 at the 11-minute mark of the final period.
Marion kept things mildly interesting when Cannon found Connor Whelen wide open up the middle of the field for a 45-yard touchdown strike with 4:54 remaining to make it 32-20, but after recovering the predictable onside kick, the Hawks played ground and pound to finish the contest.
“We’re going to really enjoy this one, but when we get back to the office we’ll start getting ready for next week,” said Winkowitsch.
West Delaware’s statistical leaders were: passing — Voss 8-of-14 for 146 and two TDs; rushing — Meyer 33 for 178 and two TDs, Underwood 7 for 47 and one TD, Voss 11 for 34; receiving — Woellert three for 68 and one TD, Underwood two for 30, Kyle Kelley one for 30, Voelker one for 10 and one TD, Loecke one for 10; interceptions — Woellert; tackles — Rempe 8.5, Voelker six, Woellert four, Kieran Monaghan and Tyler Traver 2.5, Joe Burke, Kelley and Jadyn Peyton two, Chad Bishop, Mitch Krogmann, Sam Lyness and Voss one, Ben Petlon 0.5; sacks — Burke and Monaghan one.