MIDDLEBURY – The Warsaw football team had a leg up on their opponent again Friday night.
Kicker extraordannaire Andrew Mevis made sure of that fact as he has done all season for his squad.
The senior with the big right leg was a huge factor all night long as the Tigers rolled to a dominating 34-2 win over Northridge in Northern Lakes Conference play.
Mevis, who does it all in the kicking game for Warsaw, hit a pair of field goals and also boomed every kickoff into the end zone on the night.
Warsaw, which rolled to a 27-0 halftime lead en route to the easy win, improves to 3-2 overall and goes to 2-1 in NLC play. Northridge falls to 1-4 overall and 1-2 in league action.
The Tigers, who have won five of their last six games versus the Raiders, now lead the series 22-8.
Mevis, a well-chisled 5-11, 190-pounder, is quite the weapon for the Tigers.
“Incredible,” responded Warsaw coach Phil Jensen when asked about the impact Mevis has on a game for his team. “Absolutely we know how valuable he is to this team. We always talk about all three phases of the game and normally with special teams it’s the return game. But, now the talk is “Boom” with Andrew.
“He changes field position for us. He’s the best kicker, by far, that I have coached. He means a lot to our team that’s for sure.”
Just how good is Mevis?
Warsaw’s kickoff coverage guys have not had to make a tackle all season.
Mevis has drilled every kickoff into the end zone this season, except for two on-side attempts in the loss to East Noble.
The young man with Division I talent humbly talked about his big time ability, which many times gets lost in the shuffle, following Friday night’s win.
“I’m not worried about the attention,” said Mevis. “I’m just here to do my job for the team. Every day I try to go out and work my butt off to improve on things. It comes down to doing the little things to be successful. I still have goals that I want to meet.
“I feel like I’ve grown a ton. I’ve really worked on my hands as a punter. This is a big boost for my confidence tonight making those two field goals. I have a great holder in Kyle (Kyle Hatch).”
Mevis is 3-4 on field goals and 21-22 on PATs this season. He is also averaging 36 yards per punt.
Mevis drilled a 41-yard field goal on Warsaw’s opening drive of the game to make it 3-0. The Tigers were in complete control after Michael Jensen hit D’Andre Street on a sweet crossing route that the senior speedster turned into a 21-yard touchdown strike to make it 10-0.
Jensen had big day through the air as the senior quarterback was 16-23 passing for 252 yards with three touchdowns.
Warsaw’s defense shut down the Raiders at every turn in the opening half. The Tigers had a pair of interceptions and knocked gutty Northridge starting quarterback Nick Hooley out of the game in the second quarter.
The Tigers led 24-0 at halftime after a 17-point second quarter. Mason Faas bulled in from a yard out on the first play of the second stanza, then Jensen hit Jeremy David with a 48-yard touchdown pass. Mevis capped the scoring with a 30-yard field goal.
Coach Jensen saw his team dominate a Northridge team that upended Plymouth 22-14 last week. Two weeks ago, the Tigers dropped a 17-10 final at Plymouth.
“This is the kind of performance we expect and want every day from our kids,” said Jensen. “We got better tonight. They really came out ready to play at the beginning against a good team coming off a big win last week.
“Our kids responded mentally and physically. We just played really well. We got turnovers to set up scores. We ran the ball hard and our receivers made plays. The key too is that we didn’t turn the ball over tonight.”
Warsaw made it 34-0 in the third quarter when Jensen hit AJ Villarreal with a two-yard touchdown toss. The Raiders avoided the shutout when they stopped Will McGarvey in the end zone for a safety after an interception by Faas stopped Northridge at the Tiger three-yard line.
The Tigers had a 5-0 edge in takeaways in the win. The quartet of Faas, Zach Riley, Rob Sullivan and Kendall Miller each had an interception. The trio of Dyllan Hernandez, Faas and Jack Tucker led the stout Tiger defense in tackles.
Warsaw outgained the Raiders 323-151 in total yards. Northridge was just 4-16 passing for 43 yards. McGarvey had 18 carries for 44 yards for the Tigers. David had five receptions for 124 yards, while Devin Street had five catches for 52 yards and D’Andre Street two grabs for 43 yards.
Warsaw hosts Goshen (4-1, 2-1) and Northridge plays at NorthWood (5-0, 3-0) in league action next Friday night. Goshen beat Concord 28-25 and Class 4-A No. 3 NorthWood topped Wawasee 53-30 Friday night.