Big second half lifts the Barons Four turnovers costly for Warwick in 41-13 loss to rivals
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org, Staff Writer
The good news for Warwick’s football team last Friday night was that its starting quarterback left the field healthy.
For the past two years, the Warriors weren’t as fortunate. But barring anything unforeseen, senior Zack Hurst will once again be under center in week two.
The Warriors had also been hoping to snap another streak when they faced back-yard rival Manheim Central in their non-league opener — a 16-game winning streak by the Barons in a series dating to 1948.
Manheim Central had other ideas, though, scoring 27 unanswered points in the second half while taking advantage of four Warwick turnovers as they broke open a tight 14-13 game and defeated the Warriors 41-13 in front of 2,350 fans at Manheim’s Elden Rettew Field. This marked the first time that the two rivals had played since 2003, and the Barons won their 17th in a row over Warwick to improve to 32-15-5 in the all-time series.
"We hurt ourselves with turnovers," Warwick coach Bob Locker said. "It’s a lot of what-ifs, but up to that point, we had done a good job of moving the football. We can’t stop ourselves, though. The difference is (Central) made some adjustments at halftime, we made some adjustments — their adjustments worked and they didn’t turn the ball over in the second half and we did. We can’t turn the ball over."
The Barons did commit one first-half turnover on an interception by Barons’ quarterback Colin Fry. But that might have been the only thing that went wrong for Manheim Central’s junior signal-caller in his varsity debut. He ran for a pair of touchdowns and threw for another, leading a Barons’ offense which amassed 453 total yards. Overall, Fry completed 13 of 17 aerials for 215 yards.
"Colin had a great game, he really did for his first game," Manheim Central coach Mike Williams said. "I’m sure we’ll look at the film and see a couple of mistakes, but really, when he had to throw the ball, he was pretty sharp. The only bad throw that I can recall without looking at film was the one right before the half when he threw that ball that was tipped and then intercepted. It should have never went in that direction. But outside of that, he did what he had to do. I thought for a first-year quarterback, he really did a nice job."
Both teams showcased big offensive linemen, and MC running back Ian Hanselman (12 carries, 73 yards) also did a nice job for the Barons’ ground game which produced 233 yards, and his three-yard TD run off of left tackle with 5:19 left in the first quarter put Manheim Central on top 7-0. That capped a 12-play, 64-yard drive on their opening possession.
"Ian’s awesome," Williams said. "He was awesome in all of our scrimmages, he’s quite a leader. For only a junior, he was elected a game captain tonight for his hard work during the off-season and for the first couple of weeks of the pre-season and I thought he had an awesome game."
The Barons kept their opening drive alive with a key fourth-down conversion, as Fry found tight end Taylor Geib (4-62 receiving) to the Warwick 10-yard line.
Warwick, too, had a clutch fourth-down try on its first possession, which they passed with flying colors when running back Gabe Taylor (20-59 rushing) went off left tackle for a first down. Two plays later, Hurst found dangerous wide receiver Austin Myers, who beat MC defensive back Brenden Wagner to the left pylon for an 18-yard scoring strike and Kobi Biemesderfer’s PAT evened the score at 7-all with just :22.2 left in the first quarter.
That was the start of a big night for the Hurst-Myers tandem, as the two hooked up for both of Warwick’s touchdowns. Although Hurst’s three interceptions weren’t all his fault, he finished 9-of-20 for 138 yards and Myers had two receptions for 33 yards.
"Myers is a great athlete," Locker said. "I thought he showed something. I thought early on, we ran the ball really well. In the second half, I thought we got too picky — we weren’t banging north-south. They weren’t going to let us run outside by design. I thought Hurst ran the ball well, but at some point tonight, I said I was done running him."
Barons’ 6-foot-4 wideout Cole Proffitt (3-69 receiving) is a great athlete in his own right, and although he was hobbled by a hip injury in the pre-season, he was on the field Friday night and grabbed a couple of first-down receptions early in the second. That set the table for a six-yard TD run by Fry (7-16 rushing) and Evan Stauffer’s PAT put the Barons up 14-7 with 8:21 left in the half.
"(Colin) did awesome," Proffitt said. "I thought he did pretty well, other than that one interception, but you don’t always have a perfect night. For what he did, I thought he was awesome. And he put the ball in my hands I couple of times, so I was happy."
Again, though, the Warriors answered on their next drive. Hurst was 4-for-4 on the series, including a 10-yard fourth-down completion to Tommy Garner and a 15-yard hook-up in the end zone with Myers, who ran a post corner route and made a nice grab in the right corner with 1:41 left in the half. MC’s Rey Lasanta, however, blocked the PAT and the Barons maintained a 14-13 advantage.
A short time later, Warwick was back in business when Anthony Fatjo deflected Fry’s pass into the hands of Nate Johnson, who returned the ball to the Barons’ 39-yard line with just :50.4 seconds left in the half. But the Warriors were unable to capitalize and they went to the locker room trailing by one point.
Still, Warwick seemed to be in good shape after receiving the second-half kickoff and picking up a couple of first downs. However, the drive short-circuited when MC’s Matt Carter recovered a fumble by Johnson at the Warriors’ 47-yard line. That was one of Johnson’s few mistakes on the night, as Warwick’s senior fullback showed nice power while accounting for 54 yards of offense in the rushing and passing game.
Although the Barons came up empty on their ensuing possession, they did capitalize after Andrew Seiverling picked off a pass by Hurst and returned the ball into WHS territory. On the next play, Central’s Mark Royer scooted 16 yards down the left sideline to paydirt and Stauffer added the PAT to make it 21-13 with 6:47 left in the third.
Following a three-and-out by the Warriors, who were plagued with a number of players suffering cramps, Manheim Central put together a 10-play, 54-yard scoring drive and Fry’s 10-yard TD pass to Geib stretched their lead to 27-13 with 1:34 remaining in the period.
"I figured it was going to be a tough game with their big line," Williams said, "and our goal was to hang in there. We thought we could wear them down a little bit, and I think that’s sorta what it looked to me how it played out. We played an excellent second half. Maybe we’re not the flashiest team, but we hope to hang in there and be able to be there at the end, which I thought that’s how it worked out. We finally stopped some passes (in the second half). In the first half, every time it was third-and-long they completed a big pass. We finally got some interceptions in the second half."
They got another pick on Warwick’s next possession, as Hurst’s pass went through the hands of tight end Eric Wagaman and was grabbed by MC’s Nick Brubaker, who returned the ball 43 yards. A Barons’ penalty brought it back to the Warriors’ 41, but Fry found Dan Wiederrecht for 29 yards and then Central’s junior QB bulled his way for a three-yard TD run with 10:01 left to make it 34-13.
"Turnovers killed us," Locker said. "We stalled out two drives with turnovers and we were moving the football. Even when it was 27-13, we’ve got to make that play. You can’t knock the ball up in the air. We put the ball where it was supposed to be. If we score, it’s 27-20 and it’s a football game. Instead, it goes 27-13 to 34-13 and it changes everything … I thought Hurst did some things well, but we just made some mistakes and communication got screwed up a couple of times. Against a good football team, which they are, you can’t make mistakes and win. If you make mistakes against good teams, you get beat."
Central’s Noah Dieffenbach grabbed an INT with just under eight minutes remaining, and Barons’ back-up QB Tony Staffieri found Carter for a 20-yard TD pass with 4:32 to go, making it 41-13 and completing the scoring.
With that, the latest chapter in a 65-year rivalry went into the books.
"It’s awesome," Williams said of the rivalry. "I’ve said it for years — I’m a Manheim guy and we should be playing Warwick in basketball and we should be wrestling them every year. They’re right next door. We’re going to pack the house for wrestling matches, we’re going to pack the house for basketball, it’s a natural. We had a nice crowd tonight, I thought it might be a little bit bigger, but it’s a good rivalry. It’s one of those ones that the guys work together and it’s bragging rights and it’s good. So I’m glad we’re playing them again. Maybe we start out with football and then we get some of the other larger sports doing it."
Warwick will be back on the field this Friday at Conestoga Valley, while Manheim Central travels to Landisville to face Hempfield.
"We’ve got nine games left after this, we’ve got a lot of work to do, but there were some positives here," Locker said. "Physically, I was happy with how we played. The cramping, that’s an issue that we’ve got to deal with as a staff. We should never have that many kids cramp in a game. We’ve got to fix that because that didn’t help us any tonight." More RIVALRY, page B-8