DELPHI — Last year against Delphi, the North Newton Spartans walked off the field quietly with questions lingering about what just happened. This year they returned with answers that left the Delphi Oracles asking themselves those same questions—what just happened. For the returning Spartans, it became a game of redemption, one that came with a statement of we are here to play.
North Newton tired some tricks early on. Facing fourth down and the Delphi defense going strong, North Newton Coach Scott Rouch would send in the kicking team. However, it was a fake kick and the center hiked the ball to Dylan Olive, who would then handoff to Colin Wagner for a 22-yard run for a Spartan first down. The Spartans would march the ball all the way down to Delphi’s 1-yard line only to run up against a defense that would get the ball back through a turnover on downs. The first quarter would come to a close with the scored tied 0-0.
With 2:38 left to go in the half North Newton would pull out the quarterback keeper with a 55-yard run by Austin Goddard resulting in a Spartan touchdown. Elijah Duranleau would send the PTA straight through the goalposts giving the Spartans a 7-0 lead.
After a healthy kickoff to Delphi, the clock began to wind down. Not letting up on a strong defense North Newton’s Bryce Shedrow would pick off a long pass. North Newton ready to take full advantage of the interception Goddard started the march down toward the endzone. However, the aggressive Delphi would push Goddard out of the pocket causing him to scramble. An attempted throw downfield to a Spartan receiver would go awry with Dephi’s Jordan Roth picking off the pass and running it in for a touchdown. However, Delphi’s two-point try was unsuccessful.
North Newton answered with a 6-yard touchdown run by Goddard with 25.5 seconds to play in the first half.
However, with 4.9 seconds to go the Oracles would once again break through the Spartan defense with a touchdown followed by another unsuccessful 2 point conversion. The first half ended with North Newton holding a 14-12 lead.
“I wanted to turn the heat up in the second half, wanted to see if they could hang with us. I knew our kids would get better as the game continued only because the game would get harder,” stated coach Rouch
Little did anyone know about this conversation with the team. But coach Rouch struck a match and that little flame spread throughout the team. Coming out of lockerroom the Spartans had winning on their mind.
Wagner finished off a scoring drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, and Duranleau booted in the PAT.
North Newton would soon receive the ball on a punt from Delphi that would quickly result in another touchdown by Wagner.
Delphi attempted to answer back, but Shedrow came up big once again for the Spartan defense with his second interception of the game.
This would allow the Spartans to set up for another touchdown, with Wagner rushing 37 yards into the endzone. The Spartans attempted a 2-point conversion but it was unsuccessful and at the end of the third quarter the Spartans led 34-12.
The feelings were running hot on both sides only for different reasons. Wagner had an impressive 25-yard run and as he was pushed out of bounds a flag was thrown for a late hit by a Delphi defender. It was an automatic half the distance to the goal line after the personal foul was assessed. Wagner finished off the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run.
The two teams would exchange late touchdowns in the fourth quarter as the Spartans cruised to the 49-19 win.
“We knew coming into the game we were evenly matched,” added Rouch. “But I knew the boys could do it. It’s why we run 1,000 yards on Mondays and do 4th quarter Tuesdays for games like this. They never gave up and they have a lot of talent on the team. It’s teams like this that make our guys work that much harder for every win we get.”