WARSAW – Warsaw football coach Phil Jensen challenged his team three weeks ago after a tough loss at Plymouth.
The Tigers have responded in a resounding way.
Warsaw clicked on all cylinders Friday night in blowing past Goshen 43-14 in Northern Lakes Conference play at Fisher Field.
The Tigers scored in all three phases of the game, including 16 points in a lightning quick stretch of the second quarter, to claim their third straight win.
Quarterback Michael Jensen tossed four touchdown passes, three to the electric D’Andre Street, as Warsaw improved to 4-2 overall and 3-1 in NLC action. Goshen drops to 4-2 overall and 2-2 in the league.
Goshen, coming off a huge comeback win at Concord last week, led 7-0 late in the opening period.
From there, it was all Warsaw.
The Tigers tallied the next 43 points to send a large Homecoming crowd home happy.
“They’re responding,” said coach Jensen after the dominating win. “The thing is that these kids love each other. They have great chemistry. We talk about having a grateful heart and you are seeing that from these kids. We have a great school, a great community and great support from a great student cheer block.”
“We beat a good football team tonight. The thing is that we have to continue to get better. We can’t be satisfied.”
Senior signal caller Jensen was brilliant. The 6-1 quarterback went 14-22 through the air for 341 yards. He connected with Street on touchdown tosses of 11, 6 and 10 yards.
The sweet Street made a pair of great scoring catches in the second quarter late as the Tigers tallied 23 points in the period.
Senior tight end Jeremy David had an 82-yard touchdown reception that featured him juking out a pair of Goshen defenders with some nifty footwork and stiff arming another to tie the game at 7-7.
“We have a lot of weapons, obviously,” noted coach Jensen. “We had guys making plays all over the place tonight. Michael was putting the ball in right spots and guys like D’Andre and Jeremy were making plays. They are understanding our offense. They can’t take everything away from us. I thought our offensive line did a great job tonight in pass protection.
“It’s just exciting to see all phases of the game clicking for us right now. Our defense is creating turnovers and we can put points on the board.”
Goshen, which has now lost its last nine games versus the Tigers, took a short-lived 7-0 lead on a five-yard touchdown run by Dylan Back late in the opening period.
The Tigers evened the score on David’s catch and amazing run after it for the 82-yard equalizer. A 3:19 span of the second quarter put the hosts in complete command. Warsaw made it 14-7 on an 11-yard scoring strike to Street, set up by an interception by Kendall Miller. Following a gorgeous punt by Andrew Mevis that pinned Goshen at its own two-yard line, the Warsaw defense tackled Jeff Stoll in the end zone for a safety to make it 16-7. Zach Riley then took the kickoff after the safety and raced 77 yards to make it 23-7.
Warsaw made it 30-7 at halftime as Street nabbed a six-yard toss from Jensen with 1:55 to play in the second quarter. The Tigers completed the scoring in the third period as Street snared a 10-yard touchdown pass and Jack Tucker snagged an interception and took it to the house to make it 43-7.
“It’s always my goal when they are on me 1-on-1 to go up and get the ball,” said the 6-1 Street, who just took the ball on his tremendous touchdown catches away from smaller Goshen defensive backs. “Michael and I trained over the summer and that helped a lot.”
Street has been a touchdown machine for the Tigers. He leads his team in receptions with 28 with nine of those grabs ending up in the end zone.
The Tigers had a 4-1 edge in turnovers as the defense played big all night long again. Warsaw has allowed just 22 points the last three weeks in dominating wins over Elkhart Memorial (49-6), Northridge (34-2) and Goshen (43-14). The trio of Tucker, Miller and Collin Marshall each had an interception. The trio of Lane McClone, David and Miller led the Tigers in tackles.
David had four receptions for 165 yards, while Street had four catches for 67 yards. Will McGarvey led the ground game with 16 carries for 57 yards.
Jeff Stoll led Goshen with 23 carries for 104 yards. Backup quarterback Charlie Collins, playing in place of injured starter CJ Detweiler for the third straight game, was 13-25 passing for 129 yards. Detweiler did play for a series in the final half.
Warsaw is now tied for second place in the NLC standings with Plymouth at 3-1. The Rockies beat Wawasee 33-16 Friday night. Undefeated NorthWood continues to lead the league at 4-0 after downing Northridge 14-0 Friday night.
Warsaw plays at Wawasee (3-3, 1-3) and Goshen hosts Northridge (1-5, 1-3) in NLC action next Friday night.