Fucci rushes for 157 yards in Warriors’ 42-3 win over CV

By on October 24, 2018
Warwick junior wide receiver Trey Glass (7) gets past CV safety Zach Fisher (4) for a seven-yard TD reception from QB Joey McCracken in the second-quarter last Friday. Photo by Cathy Chapis

Warwick junior wide receiver Trey Glass (7) gets past CV safety Zach Fisher (4) for a seven-yard TD reception from QB Joey McCracken in the second-quarter last Friday. Photo by Cathy Chapis

With the weapons that Warwick has in its passing game, Nick Fucci is just glad to contribute.

The senior running back caught a pair of aerials last Friday night against Conestoga Valley, but none bigger than his 78-yard hook-up with QB Joey McCracken in the final seconds of the opening half.

“I’m glad Joey saw the defense and threw me the ball,” said Fucci, who rumbled deep into the Bucks’ red zone. “I wish I could’ve scored on that one.”

No matter, as junior wide receiver Trey Glass hauled in a seven-yard TD pass on the next play with 6.9 ticks on the clock.

That helped the Warriors overcome a sloppy start while grabbing a commanding 35-3 lead at the half, and they never looked back on their way to 42-3 Section One-Two crossover win against CV on Senior Night at Grosh Field in Lititz.

Seven penalties totaling 60 yards, an interception, and an early onside kick recovered by the Buckskins stymied Warwick at times.

“The thing we’ve got to remember is we’ve played better during the year and we scored 42 points and had a boat-load of yards, I’m sure,” Warrior coach Bob Locker said. “There’s things to clean up as we roll down the highway. We’re going to make playoffs, and when you hit District playoffs, you can’t be sloppy.”

Warwick (4-1 L-L, 7-2 overall) is currently 6th in the District Three 5A power rankings and can clinch at least a share of their first Section One crown since 1997 with a win over Penn Manor (1-8) this Friday in their regular-season finale. Manheim Township and Wilson are also tied for first at 4-1.

Fucci certainly did his part to help the red-and-black last Friday. Besides his two receptions for 87 yards, the 5-foot-11, 170-pound back also ran for a game-high 157 yards and a TD.

“We’ve worked on changing his path on certain run plays and I think it’s starting to pay off,” Locker said. “And he’s a very good running back, period.”

His 23 carries marked a season-high for him, leading a Warwick ground attack which gained 237 yards. Overall, the Warriors had 512 total yards.

“We had a lot of confidence in our guys (up front),” Fucci said. “I felt from the beginning, when we got that great push on the first run play we had, that (the running game) felt natural.”

The Buckskins (3-2 Section Two, 5-4 overall) — behind a big O-line consisting of Henok Teklu, Waverly Thomas, Josh Mathiot, Chris Ballard, and Yodhe Testa — found some confidence early on, driving 75 yards on their opening series, including a 57-yard Bradley Stoltzfus-to-Gavin Horning connection down the right sideline.

CV’s drive stalled, but Joe Cardina split the uprights for a 27-yard field goal, giving the Bucks a 3-0 lead with 7:10 left in the first quarter.

“The game plan obviously was to take as much time off the clock, try to grind it, which is a very logical thing they were trying to do,” Locker said.

Then when Conestoga Valley recovered an onside kick at its own 46, they were back in business.

But Warwick’s defense, playing without second-leading tackler Jakob McCracken due to minor injuries, held the Bucks to a three-and-out. Junior linebacker Jonathan Forbes recorded a team-high 11 tackle points against CV.

From there, Fucci carried the ball six times for 41 yards on a 14-play, 85-yard scoring drive, capped by McCracken’s five-yard TD pass to tight end Hayden Rucci in the left corner of the end zone, putting the Warriors in front 7-3.

That was the first of McCracken’s four TD passes in the game. The sophomore signal-caller finished 11-of-19 for 229 yards, all in the first half.

Later, the Buckskins threatened following an INT by junior safety Derek Ulishney with 10:31 left in the half. Cardina hauled in a 30-yard pass from Stoltzfus (10-21-1, 156 yards) to the Warrior 38, but CV eventually turned it over on downs.

“I didn’t really worry (about the slow start),” Fucci said, “because there’s ups and downs in games all the time and you can’t really stick with the downs. You’ve just got to think about the next play and just getting better.”

Indeed, what followed for the Warriors was four straight possessions with a TD to break things open.

First, McCracken (3-20 rushing) called his own number, lowered his shoulder at the goal line and scored on a nine-yard run, which coupled with Pietro Elliott’s PAT, gave the Warriors a 14-3 lead with 5:24 remaining in the half.

After Hilton Michael recovered the ensuing onside kick, Warwick needed just two plays to strike again, this time when McCracken lofted the ball over Buckskin defensive back Horning for a 37-yard TD pass to Glass (5-82 receiving).

With that reception, Glass eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the season. He finished the game with 1,048 yards on 59 receptions (17.8 avg).

“I thought we played a very good second quarter,” Locker said. “Joey got his rhythm back and we did some things well.”

In the second-quarter alone, Warwick outgained CV 278-87 and held a 9-4 edge in first downs. Bruising running back Keegan Martin (146 carries, 803 yards, 12 TDs this season) remained out with an injury, leaving Jose Perez (8-29 rushing) and Booper Johnson (7-5 rushing) to carry the load.

“I give number 1 (Johnson) a lot of credit,” Locker said. “Playing as a running back with a broken wrist, it’s got to hurt. When you’re getting pounded, I don’t care how much padding is on there. I give their quarterback a lot of credit too. I thought he hung in there and played a good game.”

Overall, however, the Warriors’ defense limited Conestoga Valley to 193 total yards. Entering the game, they were averaging 316.8 yards per game.

“The defense does its job week in and week out,” Locker said, “and we’re so much better in terms of that. The first drive, that happens a lot against teams. They figure out, ‘These are the things we think we can take advantage of,’ but then the kids stepped up. The defensive staff does a tremendous job of making slight adjustments and I don’t think (CV) had a lot of yardage after that first drive.”

Warwick, meanwhile, extended its lead to 28-3 when junior Hilton Michael got wide open in the Buckskins’ secondary and brought down a 44-yard TD pass from McCracken with 1:25 left in the half.

Following another defensive stand, including Forbes dropping Stoltzfus for a six-yard sack, Warwick got the ball back with just 24.1 seconds left in the second quarter at its own 15.

“I think our goal,” Fucci said, “is always to put points on the board no matter what situation it is.”

Fucci’s 78-yard reception definitely played a key role in Warwick being able to do that on their final possession of the opening half.

“When I caught the ball, I saw the open sideline, so I was like, ‘I’m going to try to score this one,’” Fucci recalled. “And then I thought about how there was not that much time left, so I was trying to get out of bounds.”

That saved the clock for McCracken to hit Glass on a seven-yard TD pass, giving the Warriors a 35-3 lead going into the locker room.

Neither team scored in the third, but then Fucci’s one-yard TD run on the opening play of the final stanza pushed the Warriors’ lead to 42-3.

Asked if it was important to him to have a touchdown to go with his 157 rushing yards, Fucci said, “No, I just thank coach Locker for thinking about me and giving me that. It wasn’t really on my mind. It was just getting the win.”

Fucci’s TD run invoked the mercy rule, and after a three-and-out by the Buckskins, Sean Badessa (4-24 rushing), QB Adam Ricketts, Colton Miller (2-4), Marcus Forney (3-14), and Charles Lumene (2-9) all got carries as Warwick ran out the clock.

“We just decided it’s another game on the schedule (following the previous week’s big 38-12 win over Wilson), so we didn’t try to get into our heads about it,” Fucci said. “We were just like, ‘Let’s play our best game.’”

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