Opportunistic Warriors retain Male Trophy
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
The George Male Trophy went home with Chad Messimer. Probably slept with the darn thing.
Lord knows, he and his fellow Warriors earned it Friday night in Ephrata. Messimer, who began his high school career as a Mount, had a big hand in Warwick’s 30-14 victory Friday.
The senior linebacker contributed 13 total tackles, a sack and a key fumble recovery to pace the Warriors defensively. Offensively, Warwick took advantage of three Ephrata turnovers before grinding out the win with an impressive run game that churned out 213 yards on a whopping 50 carries.
"I thought the kids did a pretty phenomenal job considering the shape we are in in terms of injuries and where we are physically," Warwick coach Bob Locker said. "Tonight, I’m not going to lie but I wasn’t sure what we were going to get. Initially we made some mistakes in the first half, but in the second half with the turnovers, that seemed to spark us a little bit and I thought they did a good job finishing the opportunities that were given to them, and that’s important."
With the win, Warwick (2-1 Section One, 2-4 overall) won its sixth-straight against Ephrata (0-3, 0-6) and evened the overall series at 38-38-6. Warwick also now holds a 19-17-1 edge since the Male Trophy was first handed out.
Messimer, who transferred to Warwick from Ephrata a year ago, is one of the few who have been on both sides, and Locker said he definitely earned his stripes on this night.
"I thought he played his butt off," the Coach said. "He lived here (in Ephrata) and came to us, and he’s worked extremely hard to become a good high school football linebacker. And it wasn’t easy. He busted his hump. He’s one of the hardest working kids in the weight room and does whatever we asked. I think it’s pretty cool he got his reward tonight. We told him he can take the trophy home on the bus tonight since he’s been on both sides of it. I thought he played a whale of a game and I feel great for the kid."
Despite Messimer’s exploits, Ephrata was probably its own worst enemy Friday night. After squandering a chance to take a lead into the half with a fumble deep in Warrior territory late in the second quarter, the Mounts looked to get out fast in the third quarter trailing just 10-7. However, on the first play of the second half, quarterback Jeremy Franck fumbled and Warwick’s Tom Devenney pounced on the loose football at the Mounts’ 42.
"The turnovers, and the fumbles especially, really seem to be our Achilles Heel," Ephrata Coach Jim Vieland said. "I felt we could do some things (in the second half). And all of a sudden the fumble right off the bat killed us. It just gave them a short field."
Six plays later, quarterback Tyler Farnan (8-for-14, 100 yards), who returned this week after suffering a Week One concussion, hit wideout Korey Johnson in stride for a 33-yard touchdown to up the Warwick lead to 17-7.
The Mounts did respond with an 11-play, 79-yard drive to cut the lead back to three at 17-14 on a two-yard run by Tim Murray. But after Warwick missed a 37-yard field goal attempt on its next drive, Franck lost a snap on first down and Messimer was there to pounce on it at the Ephrata 20.
Five plays later, Brady Forney, Warwick’s Wildcat QB, danced in from five yards out to up the Warrior lead to 23-14.
"You only have so many opportunities in a game regardless of who you are playing, so you need to capitalize and score," Vieland said. "When you squander those and have turnovers…You don’t get too many chances in football so it’s vital to cash in when you get opportunities. Wins don’t come easy for us."
A Messimer fourth-down sack ended Ephrata’s next drive, and the Warriors then leaned on their ground game to put it away. Anthony Boak, who led his team with 121 yards on 30 carries, toted the ball on 10-straight running plays as Warwick drove from its own 48 deep into Ephrata territory. Farnan then closed out the drive with a two-yard TD run with 2:07 to play to clinch the victory for the Warriors.
"We talked to the kids about just leaving it on the field," Locker said. "That whatever else happens in games the one thing you have total control over is your effort and your ability to leave it on the field and play with all you have. Defensively at times this year we’ve done some good things. We’ve made some mistakes…We had a couple blown coverages tonight. But we are playing some real young kids. But they stepped up tonight when they had to. The turnovers were huge, and we were physical."
Warwick drew first blood on its initial drive of the game after a 20-yard fake punt run by Albert Powell kept the possession alive. Kicker Shawn Mearig drilled a 35-yard field goal with 5:41 to go in the first to give his team a 3-0 cushion.
Ephrata answered back on its first possession, driving 81 yards on 11 plays. Franck cashed in on a one-yard sneak with 43 ticks left in the first to give the Mounts what turned out to be their lone lead of the game.
Warwick grabbed the lead for good at 10-7 on its ensuing drive as Farnan went 3-for-3 through the air before Forney finished it off with a two-yard run at the 8:48 mark of the second.
"We just need to play football," Vieland said when asked where his team goes from here with four games to go. "We are our own worst enemy. Playing a team like Wilson this week, I told the guys its a great opportunity because you are going against the best. How many times do you get to do that? I want them to be men and step up to the challenge and hopefully they can do that. Then we have three games to finish the year against teams who are comparable to where we are. They are struggling with a lot of the same things we are struggling with, and I think if we do things like taking care of the football we have a chance to win out." More MOUNTS, page B-6