NORTH CRAWFORD AND SENECA - It was a tale of two halves when the North Crawford Trojans travelled to Seneca last Friday night to play the Blue-Golds.
When it was over, Seneca-Wauzeka-Steuben had a 49-26 win for their second conference victory of the season.
However, the first half was a little different. The first five scoring plays of the game including three by North Crawford and two by SWS involved running or passing plays of over 50 yards. Yes, the first five touchdowns scored in the game were on plays that started beyond midfield.
North Crawford drew first blood on their first possession when running back Kenny Spencer ran 54 yards for the touchdown. With the missed two-point conversion, the Trojans led 6-0 for one play.
On the ensuing kickoff SWS return man Noah Allan ran it back for 72 yards and the touchdown. With the missed two-point conversion, it was 6-6.
When the Bleu-Golds got he ball back, quarterback Jared Payne hooked up with receiver Carter Lomas on a 61-yard pass play for a touchdown. This time SWS missed the extra point attempt and had to settle for 12-6 lead.
Then it was North Crawford’s turn. Trojan quarterback John Volden found receiver Skyler Olson open on 61-yard touchdown pass play. North Crawford made the two-point conversion and took the lead 14-12.
The Trojans expanded that lead on a 53-yard touchdown run by Skyler Olson and with failed conversion attempt the score North Crawford 20 SWS 12.
The final score of the half came on a three-yard run from SWS quarterback Jared Payne. The two-point conversion failed and the Trojans went not the locker room leading the Blue-Golds 20-18.
That was the first half. The second half looked entirely different. SWS scored 20 unanswered points in the third quarter to make the score 38-20.
The 50-yard plus scoring plays were gone. SWS Quarterback Jared Payne scored the first touchdown of the half on a 37-yard run and that would be the longest scoring lay of the second half. With a good two-point conversion SWS led26-20 The Blue-Golds scored two more touchdowns in the when running back Isaac Byrne scored on a nine-yard run and then running back Braden Follbrecht scored on a five-yard run. Both extra point attempts failed.
However in the ensuing fourth quarter SWS kicker Carter Lomas made a 29-yrad field goal to make the score 41-20.
To their credit the Trojans mounted a punchy drive and running back Kenny Spencer capped it off with a four-yard touchdown run. The score was SWS 41 North Crawford 26.
The Trojans were unable to mount another drive. SWs running back Nate Benish scored on seven yard run and the Bleu-Gold succeeded on the two pint conversion to make the final score SWS49- North Crawford 26.
When both coaches talked about the game later, it was pretty clear they saw about the same thing.
“This game was a back and forth battle in the first half,” Goodrich said. “We were able to dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball in the second half and come away with a great victory. I’m extremely proud of the way our players performed in the second half by continuing to make big plays.”
Although disappointed with the outcome, North Crawford coach Kyle Oldenburg saw pretty much the same thing Goodrich described.
“We played a very good firs half of football,” Oldenburg said after the game. “I thought SWS played a more physical and intense second half and we didn’t match it. We made it very tough on ourselves by committing penalties and turning the ball over in the second half.
“We have a short week to get some things figured out before we play Ithaca on Thursday night, Oldenburg said. “I expect that our guys will respond and get better.
For the game, The Blue-Golds had 23 first downs to just 14 for the Trojans North Crawford carried the ball 37 times for a total of 236 rushing yards while SWS carried the ball 47 times and gained 307 yards.
Trojan quarterback John Volden compered 7-13 passes for 168 yards ad threw one interception and one touchdown. SWS quarterback Jared Payne completed four of 13 passes for 131 yards and one touchdown.
North Crawford had thee fumbles that led to two turnovers while SWS had just one fumble, which they were able to recover.
The Trojans were penalized 12 times for a total of 105 yards, while the Bleu-Golds were penalized just seven times for 65 yards.
Individually, North Crawford’s Kenny Spencer led all rusher carrying the ball 22 times for a total of 15 yards and two touchdowns.
The blue-Golds Isaac Byrne carried the ball 14 times gaining 106 and scoring one touchdown.
North Crawford’s Skylar Olson carried the ball three times and scored a touchdown, while SWS quarterback Jared Payne carried the ball aix times, gaining 86 yards and scoring two touchdowns. Olson led all receivers catching five passes for a total of 135 yards on one touchdown. While SWS receiver Carter Lomas caught two passes for 81 yards and one touchdown. SWS teammate Isaiah Teynor caught two passes for 50 yards, while North Crawford’s Brent Jelinek caught one pass for 19 yards.