Elida Tigers Football

Elida Tigers Football
Posted on 09/09/2018
Elida Tigers Football

Tigers push past Eagles to finish perfect district season

October 21, 2018

Kevin Wilson

Will Haley looks for space on a 45-yard touchdown run in the third quarter of Friday's game at Elida. Haley rushed for 181 yards and scored four touchdowns in the Tigers' 77-47 win over Hondo Valley.

ELIDA — In a season where it's beaten nearly everything that’s come at it, the Elida Tiger football team was all but expected to mercy-rule Hondo Valley, celebrate an easy homecoming win and breeze right into a first-round bye.

Somebody forgot to tell the Eagles, but the Tiger offense eventually overwhelmed Hondo Valley to finish out the six-man regular season with a 77-47 win and a 4-0 run through District 1 play.

Elida expected to be the second seed, and receive a first-round bye in the six-team bracket. The first round will be Friday and Saturday, with semifinals Nov. 2 and 3 and the title game Nov. 10.

With an offense that posted 520 yards and got four touchdowns each from Will Haley and Wesley Poling, it’s not too hard to imagine the Tigers in that final game.

Poling scored on runs of 18, 1, 15 and 33 yards, while Haley had a little more variety in his scores — runs of 14 and 45 yards, a 10-yard pass from Teagan Burton and a 62-yard kickoff return late in the third quarter that stymied an Eagle comeback.

“We really kept our composure, handled it as a team,” Haley said. “Our o-line really kept their defense out of the backfield.”

But it was no cakewalk, with an Eagle offense that just kept Elida guessing throughout the day. Three different Hondo Valley players completed three or more passes on the day, and played much better on offense than one would expect from a 3-6 squad that doubts it will make the playoffs.

“When I look at the criteria the NMAA uses, we’re out,” Hondo coach Brandon Devine said. “But who knows? It’s a three-way tie between us, Vaughn and San Jon and we lose out on points.

“We played well, but there were a few things we could have done better. We did some good things, but it wasn’t the same level of play as we’ve had the last two weeks.”

Kevin Wilson

Wesley Poling opens the scoring in Friday's game as teammate Bailey Oder blocks Hondo Valley defender Michael Candelaria. Poling rushed for 131 yards and three more scores in the 77-47 win.

The Tigers quickly got on top 12-0, with Poling’s first touchdown followed by Bailey Oder’s 35-yard strike to Johny Woodruff. It looked like Elida might run away with things with 20 unanswered in the first half of the second quarter, but Tommy Lucero caught touchdowns of 16 and 4 yards from a pair of different throwers.

The Eagles went for 314 yards in the air, mostly by mastering the six-man technique of throwing when the defense commits to the spreadback and running when it commits to the receivers.

“That spread offense, we’ve got to work on,” Elida coach Jarred Hestand said. “We’ve got a lot of fast guys, but (defending) it just blows our minds sometimes. We could work on it for a year, and it will still blow our minds.

“There’s no way Hondo should be that close to us. You’ve got to give them a lot of credit. But at the end of the day as long as we end up with a W, we’re good.”

The Tigers got two more passing touchdowns from Burton in the fourth — 16 yards to Woodruff and 29 yards to Oder.