VAN WERT, Ohio (WANE) – Van Wert made program history on Sunday as the Cougars kicked the game-winning 25-yard field goal with nine seconds left as coach Keith Recker’s team edged Lake Catholic 31-28 in Massillon to earn Van Wert the Division IV state title, earning the school its first-ever state title in any team sport – and bringing home Team of the Week honors courtesy of Optimum Performance Sports!
Sophomore kicked Damon McCracken played the role of hero, with his game-winning field goal the only attempt he’s had all season.
The Cougars trailed 21-7 in the third quarter, but quarterback Owen Treece’s 2-yard TD run cut that deficit in half. Just 16 seconds into the fourth quarter the Cougars knotted the game at 21 when Treece hit Connor Pratt for a 42-yard touchdown.
Lake Catholic responded with a Joe Malchesky 50-yard TD scamper to re-take the lead at 28-21, but with 2:30 left Nate Jackson hauled in a 15-yard score from Treece, tying the game at 28.
A Dru Johnson interception with just over a minute to go gave Van Wert a chance take the lead late, and the Cougars converted the game winning field goal, leaving less than 10 seconds on the clock.
Van Wert finishes the season 11-1.