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Bulldogs pull away from pesky Warriors
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
When Wilson’s Jim Brooks scored on a 58-yard run early in the second half last Friday, he did more than double the Bulldogs’ lead to 14-0 over Warwick.
The senior back effectively took a lot of air out of the Warriors’ balloon.
Through the first half, Warwick had built some momentum while holding the heavily-favored Bulldogs to just one score. But Brooks’ TD run capped the first of three straight scoring drives for Wilson, as they broke up a 7-0 halftime lead and went on to shut out Warwick 28-0 at Grosh Field in a Section One game in Lititz.
"The quick drive in the second half was kinda hard to cope with because I think it took some steam out of our kids," Warwick coach Bob Locker said. "That’s a really, really good football team and we played as hard as I thought we could. Part of that’s got to be based on emotion and I thought we lost a little bit of our emotional edge."
Section One champ Wilson (7-0 L-L, 9-1 overall) will look to keep its emotional edge this Friday as the number-one seeded Bulldogs host 16th-seeded Dallastown in the first-round of the District Three Quad-A playoffs. The Warriors, meanwhile, ended their season last Friday with a 3-7 overall record (1-6 Section).
Despite Warwick’s underdog status against Wilson, though, it didn’t give the Bulldogs anything easy in the opening 24 minutes. In fact, Wilson, a team averaging 287 yards of offense per game entering last week’s action, mustered just 30 net yards on their first two possessions. But on the second of the Bulldogs’ punts, however, Wilson recovered a fumble and took over with excellent field position at the WHS 20-yard line.
Warriors’ linebacker Albert Powell sacked junior QB Matt Timochenko to force third-and-long, but on the next play, Brooks took a toss left, got the corner and went 19 yards to paydirt down the sideline to give the visitors a 7-0 with just 48 seconds elapsed in the second quarter.
On its next three possessions, however, Warwick advanced to the Bulldogs’ 49, 34 and 30-yard lines, mostly on the strength of their passing game. Senior quarterback Zack Hurst was 6-of-18 with one pick in the opening half, including connections of 25 yards to Eric Wagaman, 40 yards to Andrew Hackman and 23 yards to Anthony Fatjo. But those drives stalled, and the Bulldogs protected a 7-0 lead at the half.
"We had some chances. We’ve got to complete passes to open receivers," Locker said. "I told the kids at halftime, ‘We played a great half of football. Find a way to play that way in the second half and we’ve got a shot at winning the game.’"
That became a much more difficult task, though, after Brooks (5 rushes, 81 yards) scored the second of his two TD’s. A 33-yard kickoff return by Jesse Poore gave the Bulldogs excellent field position to start the second half, and then two plays later, Brooks tiptoed down the sideline on a toss right and went the distance 58 yards to put Wilson up 13-0 with 11:32 left in the third. Overall, Wilson gained 181 of its 221 rushing yards in the second half.
"We changed some looks (in the first half), we tried to keep them off the outside, which we did," Locker said. "But their adjustment coming out in the second was to take the big backs out. I’m pretty sure they thought they were going to run the ball down our throat with the big guys and our kids played a pretty inspired half and they got to the edge on us in the second half. That hurt us."
Poore ran for 76 of his game-high 83 yards following the intermission, including a pair of one-yard touchdown runs in the third quarter which pushed the Bulldogs’ lead to 28-0. An interception by Wilson senior linebacker Javon Young set the Bulldogs’ offense up at the WHS 29-yard line leading to Poore’s second TD run with 2:28 to go in the stanza.
But while Wilson found some running room against Warwick in the second half, the Warriors’ ground game struggled to get any traction against a Bulldogs’ front which included Junior Joseph, Harry Destine, Yensi Uribe-Martinez and Collin Deysher. For the game, they managed only 27 total yards on 28 carries.
"That’s as good of a defense as we’ve seen," Locker said. "And they’re content to be a very vanilla ball control offense because they don’t expect to give up more than seven points a game. That’s how they operate. We tried to run. I thought we did a good job of running out of some different sets at times, but they made adjustments. We were going to have to throw the football to win tonight. It was as simple as that."
Throw they did on their final possession of the night, and Hurst (14-32-2, 176 yards) completed four of six aerials, including a 30-yard strike to Andrew Hackman for a fourth-down conversion, giving the Warriors’ a first-and-goal from the Bulldogs’ three. Unfortunately for Warwick, though, they were u"nable to punch it into the end zone.
"It would have been nice for the kids (to score)," Locker said. "There’s some pride involved in this for the kids, you don’t want to be shut out. We tried to put one in, but we didn’t." More WARRIORS, page B-3