By TED RADICK
COLUMBUS GROVE — Special teams give, and special teams taketh away.
Pandora-Gilboa got the good on Friday at Columbus Grove with Jacob Basinger’s 84-yard kickoff return for a third-quarter touchdown.
The Rockets also saw the bad, as punter T.J. Koepplinger had a snap sail over his head late in the fourth quarter.
Koepplinger was tackled in the end zone, giving Columbus Grove a 30-28 victory in the nonconference season open for both schools at Clymer Stadium.
“Football is too difficult a game to give things away,” Pandora-Gilboa coach Chris Myers said. “Tonight, we gave too much away. We ended up paying for it in the long run.”
The punt snap was the most unfortunate play for P-G, but the Rockets didn’t help themselves with seven turnovers — four interceptions and three lost fumbles.
The game was tied 22-22 early in the fourth quarter when Pandora lost a fumble on the Grove 1. Grove’s David Bogart jumped on a Josiah Basinger fumble to stall P-G’s drive.
“Our defense plays aggressively, and sometimes when you play aggressively you’re going to give up some big plays and make some big plays,” Grove coach Andy Schafer said. “I think we did that on both sides.”
Basinger, who threw for a touchdown pass and ran for 182 yards and two more TDs in addition to his return touchdown, did score on a 10-yard run midway through the fourth to give P-G a 28-22 lead.
Because of the earlier lost fumble, an opportunity for that score to ice the game had been lost and Grove came roaring back.
“Those plays, they’re going to hurt you,” Myers said. “I can’t think of any team that feels like they can turn the ball over that many times and still be in a position to win at the end. That fact of the matter is we kind of were, still.”
Grove sophomore quarterback Reid Stechschulte, who was 11 of 25 for 278 yards and three touchdowns, completed three consecutive passes in a key drive late in the fourth quarter.
Stechschulte, who started the second half with six straight incomplete passes, hit David Bogart for an 8-yard gain that turned into a first down after a P-G personal foul penalty; found Baily Clement for 14 yards; and hit Aiden Fortman for a 39-yard scoring strike with 2:30 remaining.
“When he needed to, he made some big plays,” Schafer said of Stechschulte, a sophomore making his first start. “He’s a hardworking kid, he’s an intelligent kid and he’s a competitor. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do the next three years.”
P-G stalled on the ensuing drive before disaster struck with the bad snap and ensuing 25-yard loss and safety.
Schafer, who’s team missed a couple of extra points of its own in addition to allowing the kick return for a score, could sympathize.
“One of the biggest problems with Division VII-type football is you have to play those young, young guys on special teams to give your starters a break,” he said.
Joey Warnecke led Grove with 84 yards rushing, including a second-quarter score that put Grove up 6-0. Bogart had four catches for 78 yards and a pair of TDs.
Jacob Basinger was 8 of 14 passing for 125 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions.
He had a 71-yard scoring run in the second quarter and threw a 50-yard TD pass for Jacob Miller in the first half. Bradley Walther led P-G with four receptions for 53 yards.
Pandora-Gilboa takes on McComb in a nonconference game next week.
Columbus Grove, meanwhile, opens Northwest Conference at home against rival Allen East.
Pandora-Gilboa 0 15 7 6 — 28
Columbus Grove 12 10 8 — 30
CG — Warnecke 12 run (kick failed)
PG — Ja. Basinger 71 run (Ja. Basinger kick)
CG — Bogart 11 pass from Stechschulte (pass fail)
PG — Safety, Stechechulte tackled in end zone
PG — Miller 50 pass from Ja. Basinger (kick failed)
CG — Bogart 34 pass from Stechschulte (Warnecke kick)
PG — Ja. Basinger 84 kickoff return (Ja. Basinger kick)
CG — Warnecke 34 FG
PG — Ja. Basinger 10 run (pass failed)
CG — Fortman 39 pass from Stechschulte (kick failed)
CG — Safety, Koepplinger tackled in end zone
First Downs 13 10
Rushes-yards 37-198 31-84
Passing Yards 167 278
Comp-Att-Int 11-20-4 11-25-1
Punts-Avg. 4-42.2 4-38.8
Fumbles-Lost 4-3 0-0
Penalties-Yards 9-70 7-72
rushing — P-G, Ja. Basinger 18-182, Jo. Basinger 14-38, Miller 4-3, Koepplinger 1-(-25); CG, Warnecke 15-84, Stechschulte 13-8, Bogart 1-1, Clement 2-(-8).
passing — P-G, Ja. Basinger 8-14-4-125, Miller 3-6-0-42; CG, Stechschulte 11-25-1-278.
receiving — P-G, Miller 2-46, Jo. Basinger 2-23, Lee 3-45, Walther 4-53. CG, Bogart 4-78, Clement 2-20, Diller 1-52, Fortman 3-112, From 1-6.
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