CONNEAUT — The Conneaut Spartans’ seven-game home winning streak ended Friday night with a 24-7 loss against the West Geauga Wolverines in non-conference action Friday night at Joslin Stadium.
The Spartans (1-1) had not lost at home since Oct. 18, 2018 against Conneaut (Pa.) and got off to a quick start against West Geauga, which defeated Lakeside last week 21-19.
Conneaut sophomore Zack Rice picked off Wolverines junior quarterback Danny Stewart on the Wolverines’ first drive of the game and returned it 8 yards for a touchdown with 10:59 remaining in the first quarter. Joey Merlene converted the extra point to give Conneaut a 7-0 lead.
However, West Geauga, which improved to 2-0, scored 24 unanswered points and held the Conneaut offense to just 100 yards of offense. Rice lead the Spartans offense with 52 yards on 11 carries.
“I think when we go watch film, we are going to be disappointed, because we played hard and did a lot of good things, but we couldn’t execute,” said Conneaut coach Rocco Dobran. “We were missing some holes, some open receivers and we couldn’t connect tonight. They did a great job with their game plan, [Trae Zimmermann] is a special runner for them and all the credit goes to West G. They executed and did what they wanted to do, and we couldn’t get going what we wanted to do.”
The Wolverines moved quickly down the field on their next possession and Zimmerman, who finished with 119 yards on 27 carries, scored on a 1-yard TD run with 6:51 remaining in the first quarter.
Kicker Joey Dilalla converted the extra point to tie the game at 7-7.
Zimmerman gave the Wolverines the lead with his second rushing touchdown on a 5-yard run with 24 seconds left in the first quarter. The kick by Dilalla was good to make it 14-7.
The Spartans looked to get the ball back toward the end of the first half and potentially tie the game, but on a key third down Stewart threw a screen pass to Zimmermann that resulted in a 53-yard gain putting the ball deep in Conneaut territory.
“It was a nice screen pass on their part, it was a great call at the perfect time, and we should have been a little more heads up there,” Dobran said. “At the end of the half and third-and-long we should have known something like that should be coming, but they executed it perfectly.”
Stewart, who finished 10 of 14 for 139 yards, ended the drive by connecting with junior receiver Torry Stazzone for a 15-yard TD pass with 20 seconds left in the second quarter.
The Wolverines led 21-7 after Dilalla converted the kick.
Dilalla kicked a 30-yard field goal with 2:33 remaining in the third quarter to finish the scoring.
Conneaut will play on the road at Warren JFK on Friday.