Warren defense blanks Union Local in 35-0 win
VINCENT — Every once in a while, even a good offense needs help from its defense until it can officially get going. This was exactly the case for the Warren Warriors in their home matchup with Union Local Saturday afternoon.
Matt Kimes’ point-stopping unit holding scoreless a Jets team hoping for an upset and allowing its offense some breathing room was really making things hard on their visitors. They did this via intercepting three passes, scoring on a fumble recovery, and holding the Jets to 152 total yards of offense.
It was just a continuation of what has been a good unit all year for the blue and white.
“We’ve been playing really good defense pretty much the whole season besides a couple busted assignments here or there. The last 10 quarters nobody has scored on us and that is two games and a half and we needed to play good defense early today and keep them off the scoreboard until the offense got rolling,” coach Kimes said.
And even once the offense found its spark with 14 unanswered second-half points, the defense had essentially already put the game away for good. Hunter Vincent’s 69-yard scoring scamper off a forced fumble by teammate Josh Welch gave the Warriors’ a 21-0 lead in the third quarter en route to a 35-0 win.
Maybe it wasn’t the fastest score of the day, but Vincent’s rumble certainly breathed life into the sideline. Many laughs, delights and smiles were had during and after No. 21 ran from Union Local’s 31 to paydirt.
It also was the turning point of the game according to Kimes. “They were kind of driving and we made a great play to get the ball out and from there on out it kind of took the wind out of them and kind of gave us the momentum,” he said.
Vincent’s score also provided a brief laugh and moment of levity between head coach and player. “When he came running off the field I told him ‘Man you are going to need some oxygen after that,” he said. “He is such a great kid and puts the time in and he is our signal caller and just really proud of him.”
From the three-score lead, Kurt Taylor and company went to work over the final two quarters to secure win No. 5 for the Warriors. By the time everything was said and done, Taylor added two more passing touchdowns to his running and air score from the first half.
By finding Welch twice on passes of 34 and 28 yards respectively, the senior also drew closer to Dylan Leffingwell’s career passing record.
He now stands 214 yards away from history after completing 14 of 26 passes for 236 yards.
Evan Gandee caught the other touchdown pass from Taylor. It also came on a 28-yard strike and with 5:40 left until halftime.
Kimes said it was still refreshing to see Taylor and company get on the board after halftime.
“Offense is a rhythm thing. It isn’t just the quarterback and receivers being on time. The playcaller has a lot to do with it and when you get it going and start mixing your formations and mixing your personnel groups it keeps a defense off balance and that is an advantage to our offense,” he said.
Union Local actually opened the game with what appeared to be an advantage on offense. Running back Jacksan Price’s hard running providing the majority of yards gained set up the visitors with a first and goal at the 10-yard line with four minutes left in the opening half. Yet, in a sample of things to come, the Warriors sent their visitors back to the sideline with no points. Turnovers or punts on the remaining possessions then made it an overall miserable day for the Jets.
Two of the few bright spots came in Price’s running and the Jets’ defense in the opening quarter. Price’s 125 yards on 32 carries attempting to set a tone, established a physicality to the Jets that made Warren earn their points all afternoon. The effort wasn’t lost on Kimes.
“Anytime you leave with a 35-0 win on homecoming Saturday, it is nothing to be ashamed of. Union Local may have struggled a little bit this year but we will take a win anytime,” Kimes said.