Warriors advance to the B finals

By on November 18, 2015


Warwick running back Colton Miller (31) finds daylight in the Columbia defense while running for a big gain last Sunday. Also pictured for Warwick is Eric Borg (66). (Photo by Stan Hall)

Warwick running back Colton Miller (31) finds daylight in the Columbia defense while running for a big gain last Sunday. Also pictured for Warwick is Eric Borg (66). (Photo by Stan Hall)

All season long, the defense has stood out for Warwick’s B team.

Nothing changed last Sunday in the Red Rose Football League’s playoff semi-finals, as Broc Diem grabbed two interceptions, returning one for a TD, and the Warriors prevailed over Columbia by a 20-0 shutout at Manheim Township in Neffsville.

“Defense has definitely been our strength,” coach Chad Miller said. “The offense has come through when we needed them, but (the) defense has always stepped it up.”

With the victory, the Warriors improved to 11-0 and punched their ticket to this Saturday’s B finals against Conestoga Valley, set for this Saturday at Manheim Central High School.

The B showdown will be the middle game of a tripleheader. Kickoff for the C finals is set for 5 p.m., followed by the B and A games, respectively.

Last Sunday, neither Warwick nor Columbia could get generate any momentum on offense on their first possessions. Warwick fumbled on its first play but took the ball back on the Crimson Tide’s third play from scrimmage when Diem made his first interception.

The Warriors did not capitalize on the pick, nor were they able to do so later when Adam Martin intercepted another pass and returned it to the Columbia 31. Colton Miller ran 21 yards on second-and-four from the 25, but Columbia recovered a fumble at the four-yard line to end the chance.

The Tide went backwards after the fumble recovery and punted the ball after three plays.

A penalty on Diem’s return set Warwick back to the Columbia 27. Consecutive seven-yard runs by Thatcher Miller and Diem took the ball to the 14. The drive nearly stalled, but Colton Miller gained eight yards from the nine on fourth-and-six to move the chains. With 29 seconds left in the half, Thatcher Miller plunged over from the one for the TD. With the conversion, Warwick led at the half 8-0.\\

The defense then picked apart Columbia’s offense early in the second half. On first down, they stuffed a run play for minus five yards. From there, Diem intercepted his second pass, made one tackler miss and outran nearly everyone before tumbling over the goal line. After the failed PAT, Warwick had the 14-0 lead with 2:11 gone.

The Tide turned again when Colton Miller recovered a fumble on second-and-15 but this time, Warwick did not turn the recovery into points.

Neither team moved the ball well until Colton Miller made the longest offensive play of the game with 6:56 left in the game. On first down at the Columbia 47, he took a handoff and ran into the line. A yard past the line, he turned left and found room down the sideline. He outran the defense and his blockers until he was tackled at the 9-yard-line.

Two plays later, Thatcher Miller took the snap, immediately turned right and went around the corner for the touchdown. The point-after failed, but Warwick had the 20-0 lead with 5:34 to go.

With the outcome determined, the remaining question of whether the Warriors could preserve the shutout was answered when the Tide turned the ball over on downs on fourth-and-three with 3:10 left. Sean Gass and Nick Reedy then ran out the clock to end the game.

Warwick’s defense was so strong that the only possession that Columbia managed to operate in Warwick territory was when the Warriors’ offense fumbled the ball on the 41.

Warwick pushed them back for two plays before making the first of their three interceptions

Offensively, Thatcher completed 4-of-6 passes and ran for two TD’s. Miller ran for 94 yards on 11 carries.

“Columbia came out to play,” Miller said. “They were shutting our offense down. Truly, defense is what won the game today.”

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