WARSAW – To say the Warsaw defense was hungry may have been an understatement as the night went along against Goshen. A goal-line stand in the waning seconds of a 35-0 Tiger victory Friday night had the defense eating up a job well done.
And Bart Curtis checking for his wallet.
“I’ve got to pony up. I told them if we had a shutout and 10 or less loafs, we’d have breakfast (this morning) at American Table,” Curtis said. “So I’ve got to figure out, I may have to make a trip to the bank. But hey, I’m happy to do it because they are playing with a lot of enthusiasm and effort.”
While the ‘Flexbone’ has become part of normal football vernacular in Tiger Town, the defense often gets lost in the conversation. What Warsaw did Friday night really has become normal in its 2018 season, and Goshen was no exception.
Warsaw held Goshen to just 132 total yards on the night, neutralizing talented wide receiver Daveyon Sandford to just 53 yards on five catches, and put the cherry on top in the final seconds. With Goshen mounting its best drive of the day on the final series of the night, the RedHawks sat at fourth and goal from the three. As Colin Turner’s pass sailed off the hands of his receiver, Warsaw’s largest eruption of the night signified its shutout was complete.
“It’s about the team,” said Curtis, whose defense has held five of its six opponents to 14 points or less. All five of those tabs are in victories. “Obviously, we do some things that are unique in all phases of the game. Our defense and our defensive staff does and incredible job of working with the kids on what they are going to see that week and putting it into action.”
Jaxon Wagoner had a sack and a tackle for loss, Blake Marsh had an interception in the end zone to thwart another Goshen drive, and Warsaw held Goshen to just six first downs for the game.
With the Tiger defense doing a number on the RedHawks, the offense just continued to chug along. Eli Owen opened the game with a long kickoff return out past midfield, which Warsaw turned into seven points after Bryce Garner ground out a fourth down conversion, then got the call again to finish the final four yards for the touchdown.
Warsaw’s next two touchdowns were off of similar drives. Grinding out a long series of positive plays, Josh West and Kane Dawson each punched in short touchdowns.
Keeping future opponents on call, Warsaw mixed in a run-pass option for its fourth score. Facing fourth and three from the Goshen four, Curtis decided to call for West to roll out rather than dive up the RedHawks gut. As Goshen sold out to stuff the run, West found a wide open Garner for the four-yard passing play and a 28-0 lead.
West later called his own number to punch the ball in from three yards. Warsaw got into that position when Juan Jaramillo took off for 32 yards to set up first and goal at the five.
West led Warsaw with 82 rushing yards on 17 carries, and the Tigers overall had 275 rushing yards. West was just 1-6 throwing the ball, the one for the Garner touchdown. Dawson had 78 yards on the ground and Jaramillo had 55 yards on five carries, but had a handful of plays called back for a penalty which may have put him over 100 without the fouls.
On a jovial homecoming night where lineman Daytona Hill and classmate Reagan Merchant were named King and Queen, Warsaw has been dealing aces of late sitting at 5-1 overall and heading into the annual ‘W’ Game next week at Wawasee.
“You want to represent your school in a positive way and obviously we worry about the W, we worry about Warsaw,” Curtis said. “We want to make sure Warsaw is doing things right Sunday through Thursday. Sunday with the coaches, and then Monday through Thursday with the kids to make sure we can take care of
business on Friday night.”