FORT WAYNE – The odds were stacked against the Warsaw football team on Friday night at Carroll High School but that did not deter the underdog Tigers from going toe-to-toe with one of the state’s toughest teams.
The Tigers frustrated a talented Charger squad for most of the game but after taking a 7-0 lead, Warsaw watched Carroll rattle off 42 unanswered points to claim a 42-7 victory in the 2013 IHSAA Class 6A Sectional 3 Championship.
Warsaw wasted no time in showing Carroll that it came to play as the Tigers surprised the host Chargers by recovering an onside kick to start the game. Unfortunately the trick would not lead to a score on the opening drive by Warsaw and the Tigers were forced to punt. The second drive for the Tigers fell short on a failed fourth-and-one conversion attempt at the Carroll four yard line but the Tigers defense was there to clean up the mess.
On the ensuing Charger possession Warsaw’s Caleb Wooldridge recovered a Chandler Boggs’ fumble and returned it four yards to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead, which Warsaw would keep into the second quarter.
Quarter number two became a showcase for Carroll’s number two, Drue Tranquill. The senior receiver tied the game up with some great hand-eye coordination by going up and over a Warsaw defender and keeping both feet in-bounds then racing for the end zone to complete a 79-yard pass and catch from Boggs. Tranquill would strike twice more in the quarter. Once on a 67-yard touchdown run that was even more impressive than advertised and the final score of the quarter was on a 24-yard reception to give Carroll a 21-7 lead going into the locker room. Tranquill gashed the Tigers with 218 all-purpose yards and the three scores on the night.
Boggs’ spread the ball around more in the second half as he found Tyler Winkeljohn for two scores and Zac Edgar for another. Boggs was 9-18 with 224 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. Tristan McClone was the offensice standout for Warsaw gaining 104 yards on the ground. The other highlight on the stat sheet for Warsaw was winning the turnover battle three to one, but even that effort was not enough to get the Tigers past Carroll.
Falling at the hands of the No. 11 team in 6A was not the plan for Warsaw but after finishing the season at 7-4, Tiger head coach Phil Jensen knows his players have no reason to hang their heads.
“I am proud of our guys,” began Jensen. “Ours kids did exactly what we asked of them tonight and all week. The got after the other team tonight. The defense played its tail off but they (Carroll) have the ability to be that good and they are that good. They were able to make big plays.
“Even when we got down 21-7, our guys kept fighting and did not give up. This is just an excellent group of young men. They have been great representatives of our community both on and off the field. This team will be missed. We had a lot of fun all week in practice. Good fun. Enjoying each other, enjoying being out on the field, that’s what hurts the most. We don’t get to do that anymore.”
No. 11 Carroll (9-2) will play host to No. 6 Carmel (8-3) next Friday night with kickoff set for 7 p.m.