Warriors shut down the Red Tornado

By on September 26, 2018
Warwick nose guard Caleb Goss (left) and defensive back Nick Fucci (right) drag down McCaskey running back Donovan Trowery in the Warriors’ 49-0 win last Friday night. Photo by Cathy Chapis

Warwick nose guard Caleb Goss (left) and defensive back Nick Fucci (right) drag down McCaskey running back Donovan Trowery in the Warriors’ 49-0 win last Friday night. Photo by Cathy Chapis

Owen Campbell and Caleb Goss might not be as big as some of their teammates.

Neither stands taller than 5-foot-10.

They both look up to a couple of beasts like Nick Coomer and Hayden Rucci to their left and right.

But make no mistake, Warwick’s two sophomore nose guards get their job done.

“God bless them, they’re not real big,” Warrior coach Bob Locker said, “(but) they’re very quick and they make trouble for people.”

Campbell, Goss and the rest of Warwick’s defense caused headaches for McCaskey last Friday, limiting the Red Tornados to just 2.7 yards per carry on their way to a 49-0 drubbing in a Section One game at Joseph Grosh Field in Lititz.

It was the third shutout of the season for the Warriors, who improved to 2-0 L-L (4-1 overall).

And although they don’t get the ink like many of their teammates do, Campbell and Goss combined for nine tackles against McCaskey. Each also has a sack this season for a Warrior defense whose 33 points allowed in five games is the fewest in the Lancaster-Lebanon League.

“They did a real solid job,” Locker said. “We try to align them and use defenses to take advantage of their quickness and they disrupt things.”

It’s not only the defensive side of the ball that Warwick has play-makers, however. While piling up 351 yards of total offense, the Warriors had six different players get into the scoring parade, and Caleb Schmitz returned an interception in the fourth quarter to seal the deal.

“We did spread it around and we got a lot of people involved tonight,” Locker said, “so that’s pretty cool.”

Rucci, a 6-foot-5 senior tight end for Warwick, was involved from the get-go, hauling in a 10-yard TD pass from senior quarterback Adam Ricketts (7-of-13, 71 yards, 2 TDs, INT) in the back of the end zone with 3:30 elapsed in the first quarter. Tanner Haines added the PAT and Warwick led 7-0.

“I saw Adam open and all I was thinking in my head was, ‘Don’t drop it,’” Rucci smiled. “Adam gave me a perfect ball and I couldn’t have asked for anything else.”

In all, the Warriors started their first three possessions in McCaskey territory — at the Red Tornados’ 40, 42 and 38 — but still led only 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.

McCaskey, meanwhile, capitalized on the speed and elusiveness of receiver Jamiere Gray (8 receptions, 113 yards) and running back Isaiah Jackson (12 carries, 26 yards) to drive to the WHS 36 on their next possession, only to see the Warriors’ defense make a stand.

Donovan Trowery (13-41 rushing) led a Tornado ground attack with finished with 89 yards, while QBs Isaiah Thomas and Ben Desmairis combined to go 11-of-19 for 129 yards, with two INTs.

“They owned us for awhile in time of possession, and we were giving up yardage, but we didn’t give up scores,” Locker said. “The defense is playing outstanding football.”

From there, sophomore QB Joey McCracken hit Trey Glass (6 receptions, 46 yards, TD) for a third-down conversion and went on to lead the Warriors on a seven-play, 79-yard scoring drive. Junior receiver Conor Adams scored on a 28-yard TD pass on a slant pattern, putting Warwick up 14-0 with 5:42 remaining in the half.

For the game, McCracken finished 8-of-10 for 152 yards, with a pair of touchdown passes.

“I’ve said week after week, we’re going to play both (Adam and Joey),” Locker said. “I don’t know where or when or how much. Maybe that’s a little tough on high school kids, but I’m not going to say, ‘You get two, you get two,’ because you’ve got to do things sometimes in the flow of the game. I thought we needed a little bit of a spark, so we put him in. He did a nice job throwing the football, so that was good to see.”

The Red Tornado countered with a drive to the Warriors’ 33, threatening to get on the board, but a 12-yard sack by Warwick forced a punt.

“That was just an awesome stop,” Rucci said. “That’s exactly what our defense is predicated on, just making big plays at the right moment.”

Starting from their own 15 with only 1:40 left in the half, Warwick looked like it would take a 14-0 lead into the half. But McCracken and Hilton Michael had other ideas, connecting on a 62-yard catch-and-run on a post pattern over the middle for a TD with just :38.2 on the clock, making it 21-0.

Michael finished the game with three receptions for a team-high 102 yards.

“Beautiful catch, and (Hilton) ran away from them,” Locker said. “I thought they had an angle on him, but he did a nice job getting away.”

Coomer, too, did a nice job when he scooped up the second-half kickoff at Warwick’s 24. Then at 6-foot-4, 285 pounds, he proceeded to rumble 33 yards to the McCaskey 43-yard line to give the Warriors excellent field position.

“Was that impressive or what?,” Locker said. “He’s a 4.7, 4.8 (time in the) 40 kid, we always knew that, but when he caught that thing and took off, we were like, ‘Whoa.’ That was pretty cool. I’m looking forward to seeing that on film.”

Fucci, who gained 44 of his 55 rushing yards in the second half, scored on a three-yard inside run to push the Warriors’ lead to 28-0. The senior running back carried the ball four times for 17 yards on the possession, and a McCaskey penalty on fourth down extended the drive.

Just over three minutes later, Glass scored on a 10-yard screen pass from Ricketts, invoking the mercy rule, and then the first of Schmitz’s two INTs in the game set up a two-yard TD run from Sean Badessa with :32.9 left in the third which stretched the Warriors’ advantage to 42-0.

Finally, with 9:26 left in the game, Schmitz stepped in front of an aerial from McCaskey junior QB Ben Desmairis and returned it 35 yards to paydirt, making it 49-0 and completing the scoring.

“We knew we couldn’t come out here sleeping,” Rucci said. “We go week-by-week and just make sure we’re not overlooking any team. Everybody’s preparing just to be ready to go Friday. That’s what we’re going for next — Cedar Crest is all we’re thinking about.”

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