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Barons hold on to first place in Section Mistakes cost Warwick in loss to Blue StreaksBoys Soccer
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
The first-place Manheim Central boys soccer team is looking to win its first Section Three crown since the 2009 season.
The Barons took another step in that direction with a 6-0 shellacking of Lebanon Catholic in a Section Three-Four crossover in Lebanon last Thursday.
Going into Tuesday’s action, however, Garden Spot was close on the heels of the Manheim Central boys. With only five league games left in the regular season, the Barons (9-1 L-L, 9-2 overall) had 27 points and the Spartans were only two points behind in the two-team race.
In their game against Lebanon Catholic, the Barons got a big game from Damon Crouse, who scored early in each half to help lead Central to the victory.
The sophomore forward connected in the 11th minute and then freshman Tanner Brenize beat LC keeper Morrison in the 30th minute. Although the Barons outshot Lebanon Catholic 14-1 in the game, in addition to building a dominant 20-2 advantage in corner kicks, they led only 2-0 at the break.
But they broke it open with a four-goal second half to win going away. Crouse notched his second goal of the game just 2:00 into the half, and then a short time later, Josh Kaiser and Jackson Crouse connected within a span of just three minutes.
Taylor Mumma chipped in with an insurance tally with 4:00 left in the game.
Between the pipes, Nick Johnston needed to make just one save, as he combined with Austin Hatch to register the shutout. Warwick welcomed a new face back to its lineup last Friday night.
Unfortunately, however, an old problem continued to haunt the Warriors.
Even with the return of junior Zach Hurst, who gave the offense a boost while sharing QB duties with Brady Forney and Aaron Springer, Warwick sputtered on its opportunities in the red zone.
That wasn’t good news against a Manheim Township team which got 252 passing yards and three touchdowns from junior quarterback Brennan Scott on its way to a 26-3 victory over the Warriors in a Section One game at Joseph Grosh Field in Lititz.
"How many times did we get inside the 20? How many times did we jump offside first-and-10 inside the 20?," Warrior coach Bob Locker said. "I mean, we live with mistakes, but they’re becoming repetitive. We’re limited. (Quarterback Tyler) Farnan’s not coming back, we’ve got to stick Springer in sometimes as a sophomore quarterback, Forney’s taking a beating … When we get chances to score, we’ve got to take advantage of it. We grind it out and we’ve got to finish and we didn’t."
Trailing just 12-0 at halftime, the Warriors (1-1 Section One, 1-4 overall) marched inside the Blue Streaks’ 20-yard line on each of its first two possessions in the second half. For their efforts, however, all they managed was a 31-yard field goal by Shawn Mearig with :13.8 left in the third quarter.
Warwick also took the ball inside Township’s 35-yard line on three different occasions in the first half, but came away empty. For the game, the Warriors were penalized six times for 55 yards and committed four turnovers against a Blue Streaks’ defense ranked
"Offensively, we move the ball and don’t finish," Locker said. "We’ve got to figure out a way to get better at that."
Finishing wasn’t a problem for the Blue Streaks on their opening possession. On Township’s first play from scrimmage, Scott found Kyle Bushong open over the middle behind the Warriors’ secondary and Bushong took it to the house for a 52-yard TD pass with just :15 elapsed. Korey Johnson blocked the PAT, but the Streaks led 6-0.
Going into Friday’s action, Scott was the top-rated passer in Section One, and he didn’t do anything to hurt that ranking. The junior QB (16-for-32, 0 INT’s) hooked up with Bushong (4-108 receiving) for all three of his TD passes.
"(Scott) is a very good high school quarterback," Locker said. "He makes throws, he throws it on a tight line, he makes you deal with the short stuff and he has a pretty good touch on the deep ball."
Hurst showed some nice touch on the ball in his 2011 debut, completing 5-of-10 aerials for 55 yards before getting knocked from the game on a fourth-quarter sack. Together, Hurst, Forney and Springer combined to go 8-of-19 for 98 yards with two fourth quarter INT’s.
"I thought we did a good job of mixing up our offensive sets and our personnel to keep them off-balance a little bit," Locker said. "I thought it was pretty effective. We’ve got to finish. (Zach)’s got a real live arm."
Junior Albert Powell, one of the heroes in Warwick’s 45-34 win over Cedar Crest, gave his team a boost while running the ball three times for 22 yards on their best drive of the half, helping them take the ball to the Blue Streaks’ 30 early in the second quarter. Powell finished with nine carries for 45 yards and Forney ran the ball 11 times for a team-high 67 yards, leading a Warwick ground game which churned out 152 yards.
But the Warriors’ opening second quarter drive ended with Township recovering a fumble and the Streaks capitalized. Running back Scott Sallade (9-41 rushing) ran four times for 22 yards and Scott completed three of five aerials for 42 yards, including a 21-yard strike to Bushong in the left corner of the end zone to cap an 11-play, 66-yard scoring drive and extend MT’s lead to 12-0 with 3:30 remaining in the half.
"The score on the first play, that’s a blown assignment and we put ourselves down 6-0 right off the bat. We played a good first half, gave up one at the end … I thought the defense held their own for a long time and offensively, we moved the ball and we didn’t finish," Locker said.
That was again the case on Warwick’s opening drive after receiving the second half kickoff. The Warriors gained four first downs and drove the ball to the Blue Streaks’ 16, where they faced fourth-and-short. On the next play, though, Powell was stopped up the middle.
"It’s like a broken record, but we’ve just got a lot of people hurt on the line and we’ve got some (young) kids playing," Locker said. "It’s pretty fast out there and (Township) got penetration, they ran a razor across the lineman’s face, the fullback — instead of filling for the linebacker — had to adjust on the lineman and the linebacker scraped clean and stuck (Powell) in the hole."
From there, the Blue Streaks stretched their lead to 19-0 on Scott’s one-yard TD pass to Bushong with 4:16 to go in the third quarter. That capped a seven-play, 83-yard drive, all through the air.
Warwick then responded with its only scoring drive of the night, set up by Austin Minnich’s 29-yard kickoff return. Springer connected with tight end Ryan Wiegand for 19 yards, and when the drive stalled, Mearig kicked a 31-yard field goal with :13.8 left in the quarter.
But their last three possessions ended with turnovers and Township completed the scoring on Dillon O’Dell’s 17-yard TD run with 2:58 remaining.
The Warriors will return to action this Friday when they travel to Ephrata to face the Mounts in their annual battle for the George Male Trophy. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
"Our kids had a great effort tonight," Locker said. "The mistakes we’ve got to figure out, but the effort was there. Some of those kids left it all out on the field. Next week, that’s a rivalry game. I think we can win it. I’m sure (Ephrata) thinks they can win it. We’ll start getting ready tomorrow." More WARRIORS, page B-7