By DOUG DONNELLY
OTTAWA LAKE – When you haven’t done something in more than 50 years it’s probably worth celebrating.
So, no one could blame the Whiteford football players, family members and fans who stayed on the home field when school officials started turning off the lights Thursday. The Bobcats had just beat the Ida Bluestreaks in a non-league football game, 34-14. It was the first meeting between the two schools since 1976 and Whiteford’s first win over Ida since 1968.
“We didn’t hide the fact that Ida was a tough team, and this would be a tough game,” Bobcat coach Jason Mensing said. “We coaches told our guys and they knew it coming. They know it’s a big win. I think they were really excited about the opportunity to play them, win, or lose. To win, that’s a big deal. It was fun.”
Whiteford controlled the line of scrimmage, ran up 333 yards of total offense and held the Bluestreaks to one touchdown in each half. A 19-play, 10-minute scoring drive consumed most of the second quarter and the Bobcats scored coming out in the third quarter to go up 20-6. Combined, they held the ball for nearly 12 straight minutes.
“To score right before half and the possession right after half put us up two scores,” Mensing said. “That changes the dynamic of how everyone has to do things. That was a big deal for us. That’s something we always try to do. It doesn’t always work.”
Ida received the opening kickoff and had an 11-play drive of its own with Owen Sampson and Luke Levicki splitting the carries equally and Sampson scoring from six yards out to put Ida up 6-0.
Whiteford came back to tie the game on a 20-yard run by Cole Giesige before the first quarter was over. Whiteford forced the Bluestreaks to punt on its next drive and the visitors pinned the Bobcats inside their own 15-yard line with 10:14 left in the first half.
That’s when the Bobcats put together its 19-play drive. There were some rough spots they had to overcome. Ida’ Zach Lindsay and Nick Hovest teamed up to sack Whiteford quarterback Shea Ruddy to the Whiteford 11, setting up a second-and-20 situation. On the next play, Ruddy found Levi Hillard on a 19-yard pass play which led to a Jake Iott first down on third-and-short to keep the drive alive.
“So much has to happen on that play, execution wise,” Mensing said. “Shea has to put the pass right in the right spot and Levi has to run a great route.”
Ruddy said the play call was meant for Hillard all along.
“That was a really big play against the defense they were playing,” Ruddy said.
Whiteford had two more big plays to keep the drive going. On a third-and-10 from the Ida 11, Ruddy found his brother Ty Ruddy for a nine-yard gain, setting up a fourth-and-one at the 2. Jake Iott picked up a yard, giving the Bobcats a first down. He completed the drive with 14 seconds left in the half with a one-yard scoring run as the Bobcats went into halftime up 14-6.
Ida kicked off to Whiteford. This time the Bobcats scored in three plays, finished off with a 51-yard scoring run by Giesige.
The two teams traded possessions until last in the third quarter when Owen Sampson broke free on a 65-yard scoring run for Ida, who mad the 2-point conversion to pull within 20-14.
On Whiteford’s next offensive play, Ruddy ran 53 yards for a touchdown. The Bobcats put the game out of reach with a 2-yard run by Luis Trejo with 2:54 left.
“Give credit to them,” Ida coach Jeff Potter said. “They answered the bell. Every time we scored, they came back and scored. They controlled the line of scrimmage up front and made plays and took care of the football.”
Sampson led Ida with 153 yards on 18 carries. Nathan Miller completed three Bluestreak passes for 54 yards. Jaedan Gianino had 13 tackles to lead the Ida defense while Austin Schafer had nine.
Giesige rushed 15 times for 122 yards while Ruddy added 54 on eight carries. Iott had 49 yards on 11 attempts. Ruddy completed five of his nine passes for 67 yards.
Drew Knaggs and Iott each had seven tackles for the Bobcat defense. Ryin Ruddy had an interception and Iott recovered a fumble for the 2-0 Bobcats who are home next week against Adrian Madison.
“We had an interception and a couple miscues between the center and quarterback,” Potter said. “You can’t do that. You can’t make mistakes against a good team. They are a good football team and they proved that tonight.”
Whiteford 34, Ida 14
I – Owen Sampson 6 run (run failed), 5:56
W – Cole Giesige 20 run (run failed), 3:04
W – Jake Iott 1 run (Shea Ruddy run), :14
W – Cole Giesige 51 run (run failed), 10:55
I – Owen Sampson 65 run (Luke Levicki pass from Nathan Miller), 1:45
W – Shea Ruddy 53 run (run failed), 1:25
W – Luis Trejo 2 run (Cole Giesige pass from Shea Ruddy), 2:54
RUSHING – Ida: Owen Sampson 18-153, Luke Levicki 4-14, Jaedan Gianino 3-4, Nathan Miller 3-3, Team 1-(minus)-1. Whiteford: Cole Giesige 15-122, Shea Ruddy 8-54, Jake Iott 11-49, Luis Trejo 7-30, Drew Knaggs 3-8, Levi Hillard 1-3, Team 2-0.
PASSING – Ida: Nathan Miller 3-7-1 54 yards; Whiteford: Shea Ruddy 5-9-0 67 yards.
RECEIVING – Ida: Jaedan Gianino 2-51, Zach Lindsay 1-3. Whiteford: Levi Hillard 2-40; Ty Ruddy 2-24; Cole Giesige 1-3.