Warriors improve to 2-0 with 62-0 shutout of Garden Spot

By on September 5, 2018
Warwick  junior  wide  receiver  Justin  Gerhart  collides  with  a  Garden  Spot  defensive  back  and  lunges forward for a first down with a 10-yard reception in the Warriors’ 62-0 win last Saturday. Photo by Cathy Chapis

Warwick junior wide receiver Justin Gerhart collides with a Garden Spot defensive back and lunges forward for a first down with a 10-yard reception in the Warriors’ 62-0 win last Saturday. Photo by Cathy Chapis

Nick Fucci and Justin Gerhart will each have a steak dinner awaiting them at season’s end.

You see, Warwick assistant Todd Smoker has a deal with the defensive players that in exchange for a pick-six, they get treated to a New York strip.

And the two Warrior DBs did their part on Saturday night.

“I couldn’t let Gerhart show me up there, so I had to get one myself,” smiled Fucci, who answered his teammate’s 57-yard first-quarter return with a 32-yarder of his own in the second.

Their interception returns were all part of a well-rounded game from the Warriors, who scored on offense, defense and special teams while improving to 2-0 with a 62-0 shutout of Garden Spot in a non-league game at Joseph Grosh Field in Lititz.

“A shutout is a great thing. Special teams-wise, we showed we have some weapons,” Warwick coach Bob Locker said. “Trey Glass is a pretty good football player. But the picks, the fumble recovery … we did a lot of things pretty well tonight.”

Looming big now this Friday night is a showdown at back-yard rival Manheim Central, also 2-0 following a 28-7 win over Hempfield, as Warwick looks to carry its fast start to a win over the Barons for the first time since 1983.

“I just can’t wait to see how it goes next week,” Fucci said. “I think honestly if we just play our best, it’s going to be a great game.”

Rushing the ball only six times against the Spartans, the senior running back gained 54 yards and scored three more touchdowns, giving him seven though the Warriors’ first two games.

In all, Warwick overpowered Garden Spot 380-88 in total offensive yardage, while holding a 19-5 advantage in first downs.

Senior QB Adam Ricketts was 7-of-9 for 139 yards with a touchdown, and two of his incompletions came on the opening drive, for 22 and 23 yards to junior receiver Conor Adams.

Then with 9:39 left in the first quarter, Fucci went up the gut for a two-yard TD run, capping a quick-strike four-play, 50-yard scoring drive to give Warwick a 7-0 lead.

“The passing game was perfect — we did well against their man coverage, we recognized coverages and we were able to beat them,” Fucci said, “and then when it came down to the run game, we could just move them off the ball.”

The Spartans (0-2) picked things up on their next offensive series, as John Dykie ran for eight and then sophomore QB Jesse Martin (4-17-2, 65 yards) found Zebulon Fisher for a 21-yard connection. But Martin’s next aerial ended up in the hands of Gerhart, who sprinted 57 yards down the left sideline for a 14-0 Warrior lead.

Less than two minutes later, after Warwick held GS to a three-and-out, linebacker Austin Bufis blocked the Spartans’ punt and Hilton Michael pounced on the loose ball in the end zone.

Just like that, with 6:45 left in the opening quarter and Warwick having run just four offensive plays, the Warriors led 21-0.

“I’m sure I’m going to be shocked (after watching film) at how few plays we ran tonight,” Locker said. “We had a list of things we wanted to try to look at tonight and we didn’t get anywhere near it. It’s a fine line. I’m not trying to embarrass people. I mean, a kick return, two picks, a fumble recovery, you’re taking 28 off the board right there. If you do that, it’s not like that many offensive possessions, and some of those were, like, one play to Glass.”

The Warriors’ quick-strike capabilities were again on display on their final possession of the first quarter. Following a 19-yard Ricketts-to-tight end Hayden Rucci pass, Fucci barreled for 26, Glass hauled in a 10-yard reception, and Fucci’s three-yard TD run made it 28-0.

Meanwhile, with linebackers Jakob McCracken and Bufis making their presence felt on the defensive side of the ball, GS managed only 23 yards on the ground, and when Dykie was stopped on fourth-and-short, the Warriors took over with great field position at the Spartans’ 29-yard line with 10:37 left in the half.

Two plays later, Fucci scored his third TD of the night, using a nice second effort at the goal line to complete a 14-yard scoring run to push the Warriors’ lead to 35-0.

“With our size up front, we were just a bit bigger than them, so we could move them a little easier and create holes,” Fucci said.

Garden Spot then answered with its best offensive drive of the night, including a first-down run by Martin after a bad punt snap. Later, when the sophomore signal-caller picked up a four-yard gain, the Spartans had a 3rd-and-5 at Warwick’s 19. But then Rucci knocked down a pass and a fourth-down attempt fell incomplete.

From there, the Warriors needed just one play to get back on the scoreboard when Glass caught pass over the middle from sophomore QB Joey McCracken (2-of-3, 87 yards) and outraced Spot’s secondary 76 yards to paydirt, making it 41-0 with 4:37 to go in the half. Glass finished with three catches for 133 yards and two scores.

Just over two minutes later, Fucci — from his cornerback position — stepped inside of a Spartan receiver and pirated Martin’s aerial, and with nothing but green in front of him, he needed to return the ball just 32 yards for a 48-0 Warrior halftime lead, and oh yes, a steak dinner.

Warwick appeared to score for a second time on special teams when the fleet-footed Glass found a seam and went 84 yards with the second-half kickoff. The play was brought back by a penalty, but no matter, as the junior wideout still managed to score on a 47-yard pass from Ricketts with 2:20 elapsed in the third to push the lead to 55-0.

A four-yard TD run by Warwick’s Sean Badessa (12 carries, 47 yards) with 1:09 to go in the third quarter completed the scoring.

“We had weapons and I think we did a pretty good job taking advantage,” Locker said. “Badessa ran the ball well in the second half and the quarterbacks are doing their jobs.”

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