The Class 4-A No. 6 Minutemen throttled Wawasee 54-7 in a league matchup to remain undefeated on the season.
Concord got things going on the ground early in the first quarter with a 34-yard touchdown run from senior DuWhan Alford. After a Warrior turnover, the Minutemen offense showed of its passing game. Senior quarterback Ryan McKibbin connected with fellow senior Dakota Simon for a 30-yard strike to give the home squad a 14-0 advantage with just over five minutes remaining in the first quarter. A series of red zone turnovers kept Wawasee out of the end zone in the first quarter.
The Warriors biggest play of the game came midway through the second quarter when sophomores Gage Reinhard and Clayton Cook connected for a 78-yard touchdown pass putting the Warriors back in the game.
After exchanging possessions several times, Concord put an end to its scoring drought when McKibbin snuck in for a one yard score giving the Minutemen a 21-7 lead with just under a minute to go in the first half. Wawasee failed to score and punted back to Concord and the Minutemen connected on a big pass play to set up a first and goal. The Minutemen would punch it in two plays later with Alford as time expired giving Concord a 28-7 advantage going into the locker room.
Wawasee head coach Tom Wogomon on the sequence before halftime, “We had some big plays on us at the end of the first half. There were a couple of long passes that hurt us.”Things did not go any better for the Warriors in the second half. The Minutemen scored on the opening drive of the third quarter when McKibbin found Adam Glanders for a 60-yard strike. McKibbin finished his day completing 14 passes on 27 attempts for 259 yards and two touchdowns. Glanders also had a great night finishing with five receptions for 195 yards and the third quarter touchdown.
Junior Jackson Marlow got in on the scoring barrage in the fourth quarter when he punched it in from five yards out to give the Minutemen a 42-7 lead.
Wawasee looked as if they were going to score late in the fourth quarter when Reinhard’s pass was tipped and intercepted by junior linebacker Nick DeFreese who returned the interception an unbelievable 95 yards for a touchdown. The Minutemen made a seemingly odd decision during the extra point attempt when they elected to kneel down instead of tacking on the extra point, keeping the score at 48-7.
The interception was Reinhard’s fourth of the night. The sophomore finished his second career start going 10 for 22 with 169 yard and the second quarter scoring toss.
The Minutemen added yet another touchdown when sophomore Jerrell Poindexter broke several Warrior tackles and ran 34 yards to give his team a 54-7 lead, the Minutemen again elected to not kick the extra point.
Concord finished the night with 180 yards rushing led by Eastern Michigan recruit Alford who contributed 85 to that total on 10 attempts. The usually run heavy Warrior offense finished with only 51 yards on the ground after 37 rushes. The run game was led by senior tailback Derrick Sorensen who had 32 yards on 16 carries.
After the game, Wogomon focused on the sequence of plays before halftime as what really took his team out of the game mentally. The coach also talked about his team’s inability to take care of the football. “We had half a dozen turnovers I think tonight and you can’t do that against a team like this.”
The Warriors did turn the ball over six times, losing two fumbles and throwing four interceptions. Wogomon finished his interview with a simple statement, “Turnovers and physicality. That’s what this came down to.”
The loss drops Wawasee to 2-2 on the season and 1-1 in the NLC. Concord improves to 4-0 on the year and 3-0 in conference play. The Minutemen have now won 17 straight NLC games.
Wawasee will look to change its luck next week when it welcomes in NLC rival NorthWood to Syracuse. The Warriors have taken two straight regular season matches from NorthWood but it’s the Panthers who have bragging rights after stealing a 14-10 decision from Wawasee in the first round of last year’s sectional. The Panthers and Warriors will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. at Warrior Field.