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Warren looks to keep rolling Saturday

VINCENT — The Warren Warriors are feeling good going into Saturday’s 1 p.m. matchup against Union Local this week.

Warren is off to a 3-1 start to 2020.

Defensively, the Warriors have allowed more than 14 points in a game just once. Offensively, quarterback Kurt Taylor and wide receiver Evan Gandee are just some of the firepower at Warren’s disposal.

“I think we match up well,” Warren head coach Matt Kimes said of Union Local.

“I really like where we’re at in terms of how we’re playing. The guys up front are getting better every week. I feel like we’re being multidimensional offensively, mixing up our offense and keeping defenses on their toes. We’ve been playing well on special teams as well.”

Warren shut down a banged up Meigs team 41-0 last week, that win coming off a 28-14 victory over Logan. Warren’s only loss came to Division VI, No. 2 ranked Fort Frye after a 28-6 win over rival Marietta in week one.

It’s no surprise Warren had been able to put up points, but keeping the opposition from putting up points has been the biggest key.

“Just our physicality,” Kimes said of what he’s from his defense. “We’re playing really physical. We’d have even less points given up without busted assignments here and there, but we’re being aggressive. We’re bringing some pressure, and we’ve got guys who are covering well.”

The Jets (1-3) of head coach Bernie Thompson have some weapons who could test the Warren defense. Quarterback Carter Blake is capable of airing it out, while Jaksan Price and Hayden McCrate are two talented options out of the backfield.

“You look at them offensively, and they’re not very predictable,” Kimes noted. “Out of the formations they do, they’re pretty 50-50 with their run-pass. You can’t set up and know it’s going to be run or pass. We’ve got to be disciplined with our eyes and be able to respond to however they’re trying to attack us.

“This year they’ve been competitive in all their games. They’re 1-3, but each game has been within a couple scores. They’re going to come ready to play.”

Through four games, Taylor has completed 46 of 86 passes for 753 yards. He’s thrown seven touchdowns and four interceptions. Gandee has 500 yards on 24 catches and five TDs. Gandee eclipsed 2,000 career receiving yards in the win over Meigs, while Taylor passed his dad, Shawn, for second on the school’s career passing list. He sits 449 yards from the school.

“It’s nice to see him set records,” Kimes said of Gandee. “That’s not why he’s in it, but it’s a testament to the work he’s put in. He’s had a catch in every high school game he’s ever played in, starting as a sophomore.

Warren has even been using Gandee in the backfield this season.

“We know we have to guarantee him touches,” Kimes said. “We put him in the backfield and we’ve got a couple nice wrinkles when he’s back there. We can put him as our widest receiver, we can put him in the slot. He creates a lot of matchup issues.”

Defensively, Josh Welch leads Warren in sacks (2), interceptions (2) and tackles for loss (5).

After going 6-4 last season and starting 3-1 this season, Kimes is off to a 9-5 start to his coaching career at Warren. Over the six seasons prior to his arrival, the Warriors won just eight total games.

“We do talk about the playoffs,” Kimes said. “We expect to make some noise, but we’ve got to continue to progress. We need to make sure we’re playing our best football of the season.”

Jordan Holland can be reached at jholland@mariettatimes.com.

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