Warwick B Red advances to League semi-finals
If appearance and attitude could predict outcome, Las Vegas odds-makers would have easily made the Warwick B Red team the heavy favorite as they ran onto the playing field for first-round playoff action against CV. Eyes of focus and determination were present in every single Warrior player from the very beginning until the final horn of their 49-20 win over the Jr. Buckskins.
Warwick kicked off to start the contest and immediately set the tone with their swarming team defense, holding CV to a three-and-out. After a Warwick fumble, CV again made no positive yardage as Hayden Rucci had a huge third-down sack. The Buckskins then fumbled the fourth-down punt, which was recovered by Dagen Young. QB Adam Ricketts went to work, hitting Austin Barto in the flat on fourth down for a 20-yard TD and Brendan Martin for the two-point conversion to make it 8-0.
CV’s Tyre Stead returned the ensuing kickoff for a 75-yard TD. The extra-point conversion failed and all of a sudden it looked like the game could turn into a back-and-forth affair all night long, especially when CV forced Warwick to punt on the next possession. The Warriors dug in and held CV once again to a three-and-out.
At that point of the game it was very apparent that the Warriors were ready to take over the game, as predicted by their pregame focus. Within a few plays, the game was in hand. Ricketts took off on a 72-yard scoring scamper and Barto made a circus one-handed conversion catch to make it 16-6.
Brendan Martin then picked off a CV pass and returned it to the 10-yard line. Brock Fassnacht scored on a nine-yard run off the right side to make it 22-6.
After Martin forced another CV turnover, stripping the quarterback of the ball, he recovered the fumble to put Warwick back in business. Coach Barto, with his foot on the offensive gas pedal, saw a weakness in the CV secondary and called for Ricketts to deliver a 40-yard scoring bomb to Fassnacht. In a blink of an eye the Warriors were up 28-6. Tate Cargas ended the half with an interception.
The second half was more of the same. A Ricketts-to-Fassnacht pass went for a 60-yard score. Fassnacht then followed that with a 72-yard run and Ryan Shirk caught a 2-point conversion. The final statement was provided by defensive end Hayden Rucci, who delivered a monster hit on CV’s QB to jar the ball loose. Fellow defensive lineman Alex Epple picked up the fumble and rumbled 35 yards for the Warriors’ final TD.
All night long the offensive front of Rucci, Alberto Clugston, Jakob McCracken, Noah Vargas, and Alex Epple won the battle in the trenches, allowing Ricketts to run an efficient Tom Brady-like offense and Fassnacht to have his best rushing game of the year.
Defensively, the Warriors lived in the CV backfield. Jakob McCracken and Tate Cargas took control of clogging the middle allowing the wingmen of Rucci, Barto, Fassnacht, Dagen Young, and Brendan Martin to man the flats.
Tyre Stead had a game to be remembered for CV as he accounted for all three TDs with two long kickoff returns and a 60-yard run.
The B Warriors (8-1) now head into the league semi-finals against No. 2-seed Manheim Township (9-0), trying to redeem themselves of their only loss of the season. Head Coach Troy Barto states,
"These players have shown tremendous focus and leadership throughout the entire season," head coach Troy Barto said. "We’re all looking forward to meeting up with Township again."
Kickoff for Sunday’s game is set for 2 p.m. at Manheim Township High School.
More MIDGET B, page B-6