Ground game leads Barons in 48-16 win over Warwick

By on September 9, 2015

 

Hahn earns first win as MC’s coach

Manheim Central running back Damon Camacho (2) looks to gain the corner as Warwick defenders Justin Smith (10), Preston Forney (53), and Tyler Borg (77) give pursuit during first-half action last Friday night. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Manheim Central running back Damon Camacho (2) looks to gain the corner as Warwick defenders Justin Smith (10), Preston Forney (53), and Tyler Borg (77) give pursuit during first-half action last Friday night. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

It was a night of firsts at Joseph Grosh Field on Friday night.

For the plethora of Warwick sophomores who got their first taste of varsity experience, it was a baptism by fire facing perennial power Manheim Central.

For Dave Hahn, who was making his debut as the Barons’ head coach, he earned his first victory.

Manheim Central senior running back Damon Camacho barreled for a game-high 170 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries and the Barons pulled away to a 48-16 win over Warwick in both teams’ non-league opener in Lititz. It was the Barons’ 20th straight win over Warwick dating back to 1983 and Central now holds a 36-15-6 lead in the all-time series.

At the outset, the game was delayed by more than a half hour due to lightning and a slow moving storm. When it was finally in the books, Hahn received congratulatory hugs from family and friends.

“It was pretty neat,” Hahn said. “My emotions were all over the place today. Right now, it’s relief. It’s relief that we got the game in, it’s relief that we performed OK. And it’s relief that we got the win. We started out on the right foot and I’m pretty happy with that.”

After the Warriors cut MC’s lead to 27-16 on senior QB Colin Gibble’s 66-yard TD strike to senior wideout Daniel Gates with 1:45 left in the third quarter, Hahn and the Barons certainly had to breathe a little bit easier when Baron senior QB Kevin Kegarise broke a tackle in the backfield, got the corner and scooted 34 yards to paydirt early in the fourth. That opened Manheim Central’s lead back to 34-16 and it was never close again.

“They made plays, we didn’t,” Warrior coach Bob Locker said. “We missed too many tackles. I’ve got a lot of young kids on the field right now, and I’m going to be honest, they’re on the field because they’ve earned the opportunity to play. They’re going to get better, there’s no doubt about it and it’s a pretty rough initiation to go against Manheim Central on your first night. We just made more mistakes than they did, they took advantage of things and you can’t do that against a good team.”

Camacho certainly looked good while breaking off runs of 38 and 22 yards on the Barons’ first two plays from scrimmage. He ended up carrying the ball on all four plays of Manheim Central’s first scoring drive, capping it by starting up the gut and then bouncing left for a two-yard TD run. Kicker Derek Adams, a Western Michigan preferred walk-on recruit, split the uprights for the first of his six PAT’s to make it 7-0.

“I think we hit (Camacho) hard, but he’s very elusive and he did a nice job of showing and then cutting back up inside,” Locker said. “So he’s an excellent running back.”

In Gibble, Warwick also has an excellent player, and he had some big-play magic of his own up his sleeve. Two plays into the Warriors’ opening series, Gibble found an opening and took it 75 yards to the house. With Will Mobley’s PAT, the game was deadlocked at 7-all with just 2:14 elapsed.

All in all, Gibble rushed for 111 yards on 13 carries, in addition to completing 4-of-15 passes for 146 yards, with one INT and one TD.

“They had two big plays on us in the first half,” Hahn said, “and we felt like (Gibble)’s feet could beat us, so we made a conscious effort to try to stay on him and corral him throughout the game. And I think for the most part, we did a pretty good job. We had a couple of breakdowns. We got a little soft in the middle of the defense, and he took advantage of it and that’s what a good quarterback with great feet does. And that’s what he did.”

Although the Warriors finished with 202 rushing yards as a team &tstr; sophomore Ryan Long added 42 yards on four carries and sophomore Isaac Rissinger had 23 yards on eight attempts &tstr; they struggled to find consistency. Losing tight ends Justin Smith and Tanner Heckel certainly didn’t help their cause.

“We run our offense with a tight end. We spent three weeks getting ready for the season based on, to some degree, that’s what we’re going to do,” Locker said. “We weren’t sure how much Justin would go, but we had been pleased with Heckel this week at tight end and we were confident in what he could do. Then all of a sudden, you’re out two tight ends and your offense kinda has to change a little bit.”

Central’s Dylan Nelson, in addition to rushing for 47 yards, had 71 return yards on special teams, and he brought Mobley’s ensuing kickoff back 58 yards before Warwick’s Tyler Gerhart made a TD-saving tackle. The Warriors’ defense dug in and made a red zone stop on third down, but Adams’ 37-yard field goal put MC in front 10-7 with 7:16 left in the opening quarter. He later added a 42-yard field goal, but missed from 39 and 34 yards.

The battle for field position went to the Barons in this one, starting on average at their own 47 while getting eight touchbacks from Adams. Three turnovers were also costly for the Warriors.

“Derek’s special on special teams, so we’ve got to use that,” Hahn remarked.

Still, Manheim Central came away with points on each of its first three possessions, as Nelson scored from three yards out on a jet sweep right with 1:46 remaining in the first quarter, capping a 10-play, 55-yard drive to extend their lead to 17-7.

It remained that way when Warwick got the ball with three minutes elapsed in the second quarter, but a Gibble-to-Carter Forney 77-yard hookup put them in business at the Barons’ 10 following a TD-saving stop from MC’s Lowen Hanselman. Gibble then ran the ball to the 3, but the Warriors were eventually stopped for negative yardage on their next two plays and had to settle for a 31-yard field goal from Mobley, cutting the deficit to 17-10.

“We needed to put it in after the long pass,” Locker said. “It’s a little thing and you could look at the final score and say it wouldn’t have made a difference. But I think it made a difference. We did some things well tonight, but we weren’t consistent enough.”

With time winding down in the half, the Barons got a defensive stop and capitalized on a short field. A 20-yard pass from Kegarise (6-of-19, 110 yards) to Nelson (4-58 receiving) set up Adams’ 42-yard field goal, which put Manheim Central in front 20-10 going to the locker room.

Defensively, senior linebacker Brock Fittery recorded a team-high 16 tackle points for a Baron defense which got a big three-and-out against Warwick to start the second half.

Taking over on the Warriors’ 41, Manheim Central wasted little time building its lead. Needing three yards on a third-down play, the Barons got much more, as Camacho raced for his second TD of the night, a 34-yard run this time, and Central went ahead 27-10 with 9:08 to go in the third.

“Camacho came out of the gate and started fast,” Hahn said. “He did real well and that was huge for us. We don’t have the same type of line we’ve had in the past, but we knew they could come off the ball, we knew we needed to make a crease. If we could make a crease for Camacho, for Nelson, we’ve got a shot. And Damon took advantage of that early.”

Behind an offensive line consisting of Vanden Grube, Elliot Martin, Adam Kline, Garret Fittery DeShaun Neville and Doug Heller, the Barons gained 365 yards on the ground and 475 total yards.

But there was still plenty of time of left for Warwick, and Long gave the Warriors a shot in the arm with a 23-yard first down run. That drive stalled, however, and then they were pinned at their own 10 for their next possession. Gibble, though, ran 11 yards for a first down, and then kept it for two on a fourth-down call. Their next play struck gold, as Gibble fired over the middle to Gates, who found a seam and outraced the Barons’ secondary for a 66-yard TD pass. The PAT hit the upright, but the Warriors had sliced their deficit to 27-16.

Unfortunately for the Warriors, the momentum didn’t last long.

Nearly three minutes later, on a broken play, Kegarise eluded trouble, scrambled to his left and capitalized on his wheels to sprint 34 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown, extending the Barons’ lead back to 34-16 with 10:56 left to play.

“Yeah, I think it took a little bit out of the kids,” Locker acknowledged, “because we had gotten back in it.”

“Kody can be a game-changer with his feet until he gets that passing game down,” Hahn said, “and he’s got to use that when it’s there. Actually, it was a busted play because we didn’t even line up right. So he came out to the single receiver side, noticed, ‘Oh crap, we’re going the wrong way with this.’ He goes back to the other side and was able to get the corner on a broken play because of his feet. He’s got that ability. But Kody’s also got the ability to throw that ball. He wasn’t on tonight, but he’ll get better.”

In the final four minutes of the game, Manheim Central got Jay Barreto a couple of carries, and the junior running back responded with TD runs of 48 and 22 yards to put the game out of reach.

“Their ability to use a ton of people (up front) I think kinda wore us down a little bit,” Locker said. “We’re a little thinner than we thought we would be at this point in time. As the game wore on, they kinda wore us down a little bit. In the first half, we were fine at times. We needed some sustained drives and we didn’t have them.”

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