Streaks edge Warwick

By on October 2, 2013


BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor

, Staff Writer

Photo by Stan Hallâ?©Warwickâ??s Austin Maguire (right) and David Brubaker (left) tackle Manheim Township running back Matt Sallade for a loss during first-half action last Friday night.

Warwick no doubt had visions of the Cedar Crest game from a year ago dancing in its head in the final seconds last Friday night against Manheim Township.

Kobi Biemesderfer was the hero in that 24-23 win over the Falcons, booting a 27-yard field goal at the buzzer.

He nearly was against the Blue Streaks as well.

With just 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Warriors trailing 19-17, the junior kicker lined up for a 45-yard field goal attempt. The ball sailed wide right, but Warwick got new life when Manheim Township was penalized for running into the kicker.

Moments later, with zeroes on the scoreboard, Biemesderfer stared down a potential 40-yard game-winner. Unfortunately for the Warriors, however, the kick once again was wide right of the target and the Blue Streaks held on for a 19-17 victory in a Section One clash at Joseph Grosh Field in Lititz.

"They both had the distance," Warwick coach Bob Locker remarked. "When you’re trying to kick (a long field goal), you over-juice it a little bit, he tends to hook them a little bit, but that’s a long way for a kid to kick the ball. So he had to try to geek it up a little bit."

The Warriors (0-2 L-L, 2-3 overall) were looking for their first victory over Manheim Township since 2002. Instead, the Blue Streaks (1-1 L-L, 3-2 overall) won for the 11th year in a row in the rivalry.

"It needs to stick with them tonight because like we told them, if this doesn’t hurt, something’s wrong," Locker said. "I mean, this one has to gnaw at you. Come tomorrow, we’ll start to figure some stuff out. Come Monday, we’ll get back to it."

Both teams’ defenses got to it on Friday night, with rushing yards difficult to find. Senior Gabe Taylor led all ball carriers with 69 of Warwick’s 102 rushing yards on 15 carries. The Blue Streaks, meanwhile, managed 90 total yards on the ground, but held a 16-10 lead at the half.

In a back-and-forth battle, though, the lead ended up switching hands five different times. The Warriors regained the advantage in the third quarter with a 14-play, 81-yard drive, highlighted by Taylor busting loose for 25 yards, Pennypacker going 4-of-4 for 22 yards and the Warriors twice converting on fourth down. On the second of those conversions, Taylor capitalized on second effort to score on a one-yard TD run, and when Biemesderfer added the PAT, the Warriors went up 17-16 with 1:07 left in the quarter.

It stayed that way as Warwick and Township traded a pair of punts. Then with 6:10 remaining in the fourth, the Streaks got the ball on their own 20 and moved into Warrior territory with a 37-yard pass completion from QB Davis Carr (4-8-1, 100 yards) to John Stutz. Six plays later, Township had its eyes fixed on a first-and-goal from the Warriors’ two-yard line. Running back Nathan Seprinski gained one, but then Warwick stepped up with a goal-line stand, stuffing Carr on back-to-back carries.

"If you take away a couple of long passes, our defense played a great football game," Locker said. "I mean, physically we just stopped the run all night long … I think we had a good scheme in place, (defensive coordinator Alex) Daecher did a real good job of scheming. I thought our kids tackled real well. We made them earn their yards. They couldn’t run the ball. That’s what they’re supposed to be able to do, so my hat’s off to the defense. They played their butts off."

Township ended up settling for an 18-yard field goal from Daniel Zeswitz, but it gave them a 19-17 lead with just 1:09 remaining. The bad news for the Warriors was that they had no timeouts left.

Asked what their mindset was at that point, Locker said, "Get the ball to the 25, which makes it 40ish (for a field goal attempt). If we can get it to the 20, we like our chances better … In hindsight, the one thing that hurt us was we used some timeouts early in the second half. One was absolutely necessary. The other one, it was a crucial point in the game and we were trying to come back and I didn’t want to leave anything to chance when there’s a critical play. It would have been nice to have one more timeout left at the end of the game. They ate up a lot of time in the last 10 yards down there and that hurt things a little bit."

Still, Warwick moved the chains on Pennypacker’s six-yard pass to Austin Myers (5-69 receiving) on fourth down, and then later in another do-or-die situation, Tommy Garner (3-33 receiving) made a nice catch on the right sideline – opposite from Warwick’s bench – hauling in a 23-yard pass to get the ball to the Streaks’ 27.

"I couldn’t see (Tommy’s catch). I’m assuming it was a pretty good catch," Locker said, "because it looked like he was pretty much extended. I guess it was a real good catch. It kept us alive and gave us a shot at things."

Unfortunately for Warwick, it wasn’t meant to be.

Earlier, the Warriors created a big break for themselves, recovering a fumble by Streaks’ QB Erik Benjamin at the Township 12-yard line. Three plays later, Pennypacker overthrew Anthony Fatjo, who was open in the end zone, and Biemesderfer kicked a 24-yard field goal to make it 3-0 with 3:17 elapsed.

On the Warriors’ next possession, MT linebacker Matt Sallade stripped the ball from Pennypacker while recording a sack, and in a mad scramble for the ball, Warwick’s Alexander Mork recovered the ball in the end zone, where the Blue Streaks were awarded a safety, making it 3-2 with 6:15 left in the stanza. On Township’s ensuing possession, Stutz took advantage of a breakdown in the Warriors’ secondary and was wide open for a 41-yard TD pass from Carr, giving the Streaks their first lead, 9-3, with 3:03 on the clock.

It didn’t last long, however. Following a 33-yard kickoff return by Fatjo, the Warriors went to their Wildcat formation, Then with 9:40 to go in the half, Garner scored on a five-yard run up the gut, capping an 11-play, 60-yard drive, and Biemesderfer’s PAT gave Warwick a 10-9 advantage.

Later, Warwick’s Chris Borg pirated a pass from Carr to thwart a Township threat, but Warwick was unable to move the ball deep in its territory, and Blue Streak junior Cartier Morton returned a punt 38 yards along the left sideline to paydirt, putting Township back in front, 16-10, with 2:43 to go in the half.

Taylor’s long kickoff return, followed by two Pennypacker (15-23-0, 139 yards)-to-Myers completions for 42 yards, put the Warriors back in business. The drive stalled in the red zone, and then Biemesderfer attempted a 23-yard field goal. The officials ruled it wide right, but Locker wasn’t so sure afterward.

"I swear it was good," Locker said. "I’m not sure where the officials were when they looked at it, but it sure looked good to me."

Those were three points the Warriors would’ve loved to have at the end of the game. Ultimately, Warwick came up a little short of its first league win heading into a match-up against Lancaster Catholic this Friday.

"The physical effort was outstanding. Physically, we’ve come to play every week," Locker said. "It’s a matter of finishing stuff. It’s simple. It’s just a matter of finding a way to finish things."

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