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Generals Blank Panthers 21-0 In Homecoming Contest

AW senior Cole Ragan (54) pulls down Maumee’s sophomore quarterback Zach Marvin during the Generals’ 21-0 victory over the Panthers last Friday. MIRROR PHOTO BY ART WEBER

BY JOEL SENSENIG | MIRROR SPORTS — It was a high-flying homecoming game for senior Nick Schneider and the Anthony Wayne football team last Friday as it shut out Maumee, 21-0. Schneider finished with 154 total yards of offense and three touchdowns, none of which he accomplished on his feet. The athletic tailback/running back/wide receiver leapt into the end zone three times, leading the Generals (5-1 overall, 3-0 in the Northern Lakes League) to the shutout win over the Panthers (3-3, 1-2 NLL). AW dominated yardage totals, finishing with 319 yards while holding Maumee to a cool 100. Junior quarterback Max Denman took to the air frequently, completing 13-of-25 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown. Schneider, celebrating his birthday as well, ran 22 times for 82 yards (3.7 average) and two scores against the stingy Maumee run defense, while catching three balls for 72 yards and another TD. Senior tailback Max Guitteau ran 15 times for 52 yards, while junior receiver Max Bradfield hauled in four catches for 41 yards. Devon Cleghorn logged the most yards for the Panthers, finishing with 51 on 19 carries. Robert Caesar added 19 yards on four carries, while Luis Perez had the team’s lone reception, an 11-yard gain. As evidenced by the scoreboard, the Generals defense was again at the top of its game, pitching its second straight shutout. AW has allowed just six points in its last three games. Senior linebacker Nolan Anderson led the team with nine tackles, while classmate Cole Ragan (one sack, three tackles for loss) and junior Nick Prokup added eight apiece. Senior lineman Dawson Zaleski and junior Jacob Gordon each made six tackles. Junior Jacob Neumeyer (third of season) and Schneider each had an interception on the evening. Zaleski said simply winning the line of scrimmage was key for the Generals. “We were just hitting everybody hard and playing harder than they did,” he said. “Homecoming is always crazy. It’s always an exciting game. I thought it was going to be a really good game and we just played way better than they did.” Anthony Wayne coach Andy Brungard said Schneider finds a way to get it done each week. “The effort he gives every week is incredible,” he said. “We talk about winners are warriors, and he’s a warrior. He lays it down for his teammates and he’ll do anything he’s asked to do.” Brungard said the team was prepared for Maumee’s defense to pose problems for its offensive weapons. “We thought they had a very physical defense on film,” he said. “They don’t give up more than 20 points a game. They’re very physical and we knew they’d be a tough matchup for us. I thought we responded well when we had to.” The game between the two league rivals was unofficially known as the “Battle of the Bell,” a reference to the young men’s love of Taco Bell. After the game, AW players were treated to a couple hundred tacos. Schneider’s first score came on a screen pass from Denman to open the second quarter. Schneider took the ball 25 yards up the right side of the field, taking to the air as he crossed the goal line with 11:48 to play in the second. Senior kicker Tucker Ramirez’ point-after made it 7-0. Schneider’s next touchdown came with 42 ticks left in the half, when he ran a keeper 3 yards into the end zone, again taking to the air and flipping into pay dirt. Ramirez booted the ball through the posts for the 14-0 lead near the end of the half. To open the second half, AW went on an 11-play drive covering 66 yards. The key plays were a 26-yard run by Guitteau and a crucial fourth-and-12 completion for 13 yards from Denman to Bradfield, giving AW a first down at the 10-yard line. Schneider made it a hat trick of touchdowns in the Generals’ opening drive of the second half, taking the snap 10 yards and again leaping into the end zone. “Being homecoming is motivation enough, but adding my birthday onto that just made it that much more important to me that our team wins,” Schneider said, noting the jumps were not a planned method of crossing the goal line. “I didn’t see Devon Cleghorn on the first one, so I just jumped,” he said. “The second one I planned I guess because I felt it gave me a better shot to score than try to run someone over and on the third I just reacted to the play. My receiver had an awesome block, so I just jumped over them.” Schneider said he feasted on “probably about two” tacos after the big-time performance. Maumee’s best chance to score came in the fourth quarter, when it took possession at the AW 47 with 10:21 remaining. After runs by quarterback Zach Marvin and Cleghorn put the ball on the 22-yard line, the Generals stuffed a run play, making it fourth-and-3 from the 24. Marvin’s pass in the middle of the field was broken up by Gordon and Prokup, ending the Panthers’ threat. Brungard said the importance of the Generals’ defense to the team’s success cannot be underestimated. “They force you to put eight in the box,” he said of Maumee. “We let our big guys inside read blocks and make plays. It’s a credit to our inside run guys. We’ve got guys like Dawson and Sean Clody and Cole Ragan and Ralph (Burdo) and Nolan Anderson, Ben Allen and Bryce Williams.” Zaleski said he thinks the team is on the right track at this point in the season. “At the beginning of the year, it wasn’t as good,” he admitted. “Everything is starting to click, although we still need to get better in places.” The Generals travel to Perrysburg on Friday to face the Yellow Jackets (2-4, 2-1 NLL), coming off a 37-22 loss to Bowling Green. Perrysburg, which is still in a bit of a rebuilding mode after years of prominence, topped Napoleon 29-27 and Southview 34-7 earlier in the season. “Every league game feels like a rivalry in the NLL,” Brungard said. “There’s not one opponent you can look past. Everybody’s going to play you tough. Everyone’s going to scheme well. We talked about going into Perrysburg – it’s another league championship.”

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