Warriors fall in District quarterfinals

By on November 14, 2018

Glass suffers first-half injury in loss to Cedar Cliff

Warwick junior Justin Gerhart (left), who returned two kickoffs for a combined 103 yards in last Friday night’s game, tries to cut past Cedar Cliff defender Dre Dorsey (1). Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Warwick junior Justin Gerhart (left), who returned two kickoffs for a combined 103 yards in last Friday night’s game, tries to cut past Cedar Cliff defender Dre Dorsey (1). Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

In Trey Glass, Warwick’s offense has a threat to score every time he touches the ball.

Through the Warriors’ first 11 games, in fact, the junior wideout accounted for 1,400 yards combined both receiving and rushing.

So when Glass left the game with a knee injury early in the second quarter last Friday night, it was a major blow to the team’s plans.

“It hurt a lot,” Warrior coach Bob Locker said.

Still, in a back-and-forth showdown against Cedar Cliff, the Warriors were within striking distance in the fourth quarter.

It wasn’t meant to be, however, as the Colts got two touchdown runs from Bobby Whalen along with a pair of TD passes by Chris Dare and held on to beat Warwick 33-23 in a District Three 5A quarterfinal playoff game in cold, rainy conditions at West Shore Stadium in Camp Hill.

While Cedar Cliff (10-2) punched its ticket to face top-seeded Manheim Central this Friday night, the Warriors ended their season with a 9-3 record.

“I’m going to miss not seeing them on Monday at practice,” an emotional Locker said. “I’ve known some of them since they were little and it’s going to stink not practicing with them anymore. But I try to tell them they should be very proud of what they accomplished, and be even prouder of the kind of people they are, the kids that they are, the role models they are and the standard they’ve set for what comes down the highway. They’re just really good kids and it’s going to be weird.”

What they accomplished this fall included reaching the nine-win mark for the first time since 2007 and then earning their first-ever District Three playoff victory with a 64-0 shutout of Palmyra in the opening round.

Glass, of course, was a big part of that success while shattering the Warriors’ single-season record for receiving yards, so his injury with just under 10:00 left in the half was costly.

“It hurts a lot because you hate to see a kid like that get hurt,” Locker said, “and it takes a lot of facets of our offense out. It just changes (things) not having somebody that any time you get the ball in his hands has the opportunity to go the distance. And that allowed (Cedar Cliff) to treat us a little bit differently.”

Another one of Warwick’s playmakers gave the Warriors a spark right out of the gates when junior Justin Gerhart returned the opening kickoff to the Colts’ 38-yard line. On the next play, Glass (3-40 receiving) hauled in a 28-yard pass from sophomore QB Joey McCracken (13-of-28, 165 yards), but the drive eventually stalled and Pietro Elliott kicked a 24-yard field goal with just 1:32 elapsed, giving the Warriors an early 3-0 lead.

Special teams again took center stage, this time in favor of the Colts, as they ran the ensuing kickoff to the Warriors’ 21. Five plays later, Cedar Cliff junior running back Jaheim Morris (30-138 rushing) barreled for a seven-yard TD run to give Cedar Cliff its first lead, 7-3, with 8:19 left in the first.

Just over four minutes later, Warwick got a break when a high snap over the head of the Colts’ punter gave them the ball at Cedar Cliff’s 6-yard line.

From there, Glass hauled in a seven-yard TD pass in the right corner of the end zone. The PAT kick was no good, but the Warriors led 9-7 with 3:02 remaining in the opening stanza.

Warwick, though, managed only two more first downs the rest of the half, as the Colts’ D held them to minus-21 rushing yards in the first two quarters.

“We didn’t commit to (the ground game) as much as we probably should have,” Locker said. “We were kinda committed to doing what we do, which is trying to get the ball in our playmakers’ hands. They did a nice job scheming and took away some things that we normally get. And when Trey got dinged, it really changed some stuff.”

Meanwhile, Cedar Cliff regained the lead with 5:16 left in the half on an eight-yard TD pass from senior QB Chris Dare to junior receiver Jaheim Reynolds, capping a 10-play, 68-yard scoring drive and making it 13-9, which is how it stayed at half.

Dare finished the night completing 17-of-25 aerials for 189 yards with no INTs.

“He played better tonight than he played on film,” Locker said. “Maybe that’s our mistake for believing what we saw on film. He’s OK. Mine’s better.”

The Dare-to-Reynolds connection struck a second time after Cedar Cliff received the second-half kickoff, this time for a 29-yard touchdown which pushed the Colts’ lead to 20-7 with 9:12 left in the third quarter.

With an improved ground attack in the second half, the Warriors appeared to answer on a 34-yard TD run by Nick Fucci, but the play was brought back by a penalty. No matter, however, as Joey McCracken hit Conor Adams on a seven-yard TD pass, and then the also combined for a two-point pass, cutting their deficit to 20-17 with 6:27 left in the third quarter.

Reynolds then returned the kickoff to Warwick’s 22 to put the Colts in business, but the Warriors’ D made a stand, stopping Dare on a fourth-down run to keep it a three-point game.

But starting at their own 5, Warwick went three-and-out, with a couple of dropped passes, and punted the ball back to Cedar Cliff.

“We failed to execute at times tonight,” Locker said. “The conditions stank, but the difference at this point in the playoffs is teams that execute, move on. I have wonderful kids and it was just a tough night. We just didn’t execute a couple of times when we needed to and that was the difference.”

In Whalen, Cedar Cliff has a dangerous play-maker at different spots on the field, grabbing eight receptions for 96 yards and rushing the ball eight times for another 55 yards.

“(Whalen)’s a fantastic athlete,” Locker said. “He’s a lot like Trey Glass and he had a huge night tonight because he was on the field all night.”

It was Whalen’s seven-yard TD run — after lining up in the Wildcat — with 7:32 to go in the final stanza which made it a two-possession game, putting Cedar Cliff up 26-17.

But Gerhart again gave Warwick a shot in the arm with a 50-yard kickoff return.

“We did some things special teams-wise,” Locker remarked. “The kids never quit, but I didn’t think they ever would. I’ve never seen them quit once the entire season.”

A McCracken-to-Hilton Michael (3-64 receiving) hook-up for 16 yards got Warwick inside the red zone, but Elliott’s 34-yard field goal attempt was blocked with 6:06 remaining.

Then from there, the Colts countered, with Morris carrying the bulk of the load on an 11-play, 85-yard scoring drive, capped by Whalen’s three-yard run with 1:23 to play, making it 33-17.

Warwick kept its hopes alive when McCracken tossed an 18-yard TD pass to Michael down the right sideline with :48.2 remaining, cutting Cedar Cliff’s lead to 33-23.

But the two-point attempt was unsuccessful and then the Colts recovered the onside kick to seal it.


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