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HS Football Title Game: Van Wert Rallies To Beat Lake Catholic 31-28, Win Division IV Championship

MASSILLON, OHIO — For the first time in school history, the Van West Cougars are bringing home a state title.

It wasn’t easy, but fourth quarter magic from quarterback Owen Treece helped seal the deal for Van Wert on Sunday afternoon.

Both teams fought to a scoreless tie after the first quarter, fueled by two red zone stops for Lake Catholic on fourth down.

The first points came on a trick play that ended in a 4-yard touchdown pass from Nick Brandt to Brady Bowser.

After a Maddix Crutchfield touchdown reception evened the game, Lake Catholic would strike back on a 1-yard carry by Ryan Joy.

Previous to that touchdown, Van Wert threw an interception and fumbled, setting up an easy drive that made the score 14-7 at the break.

Lake Catholic opened up a larger lead to start the second half with a 50-yard touchdown run by Joe Malchesky.

Malchesky was stellar in this game, carrying the ball 30 times for 232 yards.

Trailing 21-7, Van Wert had to figure something out on offense before it was too late.

With heavy rain pouring down, a comeback would be a tall task for many quarterbacks.

Not for Owen Treece.

Treece powered forward for a 2-yard touchdown carry to cut the deficit to 21-14 heading into the fourth quarter.

Then early in the fourth, Treece connected with Connor Pratt to tie the game up at 21-21.

Lake Catholic wasn’t going down east though, as Malchesky broke loose for another long touchdown run to regain the lead with 5:25 in regulation.

This ended up being the last score for Lake Catholic.

Treece threw another touchdown pass to even the game at 28-28 with just over two minutes to go.

Then, after a crucial interception by Dru Johnson, Van West drove down field to set up a game winning field goal by Damon McCracken.

Malchesky’s desperation pass attempt in the final seconds was intercepted. By who? None other than quarterback Owen Treece.

With the 31-28 comeback victory, Van Wert finishes 11-1, winning their first championship in school history.

Owen Treece was brilliant, as the senior threw for 274 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 89 yards and a touchdown on the ground, accounting for all four Van Wert scores.

It promises to be a fun night in the town of Van Wert, as the Cougars are bringing home the hardware.

Van Wert 0 7 7 17 31

Lake Catholic 0 14 7 7 28

Full Statistics:

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jeff Perry

    November 22, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    For a guy who works with letters you think he could get it right Van Wert not Van West

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