Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Angola's Chase Schnepf looks for an opening as West Noble's Brandon Pruitt and Josh Gross move in to try to stop him during the first quarter Friday.
Saturday, September 08, 2018 1:00 am
Angola 21 West Noble 7
NECC showdown belongs to Angola
Josh Patterson | For The Journal Gazette
ANGOLA – Angola cared not for West Noble's first 3-0 start since 1989, as the Class 4A No. 6 Hornets claimed a 21-7 victory Friday in a battle of unbeatens. While the win didn't arrive nearly as easily as a 51-point triumph in Ligonier in 2017, Angola still took a strong step toward a division title in the Northeast Corner Conference.
“I think it jump-starts us for the remaining NECC teams we have to play,” said Angola senior linebacker Marques Tagliaferri, who sacked West Noble quarterback Kyle Mawhorter twice. “Hopefully we can win another conference title.”
After punting on its first two possessions, Angola (4-0, 1-0) gashed the West Noble (3-1, 0-1) defense on consecutive plays to open the scoring. On second-and-10 from its 17, Chase Schnepf broke off a 30-yard run. Quarterback Jarrett Gibson followed with a 53-yard touchdown run to give the Hornets a 7-0 lead with 3:30 left in the first quarter.
West Noble struck back quickly. After Gibson hobbled to the sideline with a leg injury on Angola's next possession, backup Jake Domanski's first pass attempt sailed into the arms of Chargers defender Josh Gross.
After corralling the pass at the West Noble 35, Gross returned the ball to Angola's 36. A personal foul tacked on 15 yards, and four plays later, Brandon Pruitt's 12-yard run tied the game at 7 with 10:28 remaining before halftime.
In all, the Hornets committed five first-half penalties totaling 71 yards, including a roughing the punter personal foul on Lucas Waite late in the half.
Waite atoned for the misdeed.
With the Chargers forced to punt on their opening possession of the second half, Waite broke through the West Noble line once again, this time blocking Gross' punt attempt. Angola's Jayce Meyer picked up the loose ball and ran untouched to the end zone to give the Hornets a 14-7 advantage.
“I was just trying to make a play to get the team all motivated,” Waite said of his efforts on the punt defense unit. “Sometimes you make mistakes, you just have to make up for them. You have to keep your head in the game at all times.
“If you're hustling, that's all right. I feel like God put me in the spot. He just blessed me to bring myself back to help the team.”
Schnepf's 80-yard scoring run gave the Hornets an insurance touchdown, which proved more than enough as Angola's defense didn't allow West Noble past the Hornets' 30 in the second half.
Pruitt, who amassed an area-best 565 rushing yards in the first three weeks, was limited to just 19 yards on 25 carries. Schnepf ran for 141 yards and Gibson added 79 for Angola.
Notes: Among the purple-and-gold clad fans sitting on the home bleachers, a few hundred Angola faithful donned teal T-shirts with the phrase “Liv It Up!” in support of Angola freshman Olivia Stoy, who has battled pediatric cancer for the last 21/2 years. Stoy received a bone marrow transplant in July, and while she could not attend Friday's game due to a risk of infection, she did watch an internet broadcast of the contest. ... Gibson missed two series after suffering his leg injury but did return, though he appeared to favor the leg at times in the second half. ... Angola won its first four games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history while extending its win streak over West Noble to four.