ELKHART – Juan Jaramillo likely slept well Friday night.
The junior running back for Warsaw carried the ball an incredible 42 times for 249 yards, answering the bell on numerous occasions as the Tigers held on for dear life, 38-35, at Elkhart Memorial Friday night.
“He was a man carrying the ball,” Warsaw head coach Bart Curtis said of Jaramillo’s night. “He had some very big carries for us. Not just the touchdowns, but some big conversions on third and fourth down, and he just ran the ball very well tonight.”
The Tigers rushed a team-record 68 times and piled up a whopping 459 yards, and Jaramillo made his touches count scoring three touchdowns, including what amounted to the game winner with 4:09 left in the fourth quarter. The game itself saw Warsaw dominate the first half, Memorial take control of the second half, and Warsaw being forced to match the Chargers score for score as time dwindled late in the game.
Jaramillo’s first score, an eight-yard run right up the middle, had Warsaw sitting with a 21-0 lead. A Harrison Mevis 20-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in the half had Warsaw up 24-7 and feeling pretty good about itself. Mevis’ field goal tied the school record of 16 made tries, formerly held by Matt Franco. Mevis would miss a 42-yarder in the third quarter.
The second half, however, saw the tide turn. With quarterback Wyatt Amiss and running back Blake Marsh both on the sidelines with injuries sustained in the first half, Memorial got its offense going while Warsaw was stalling out. Tyler Lehner connected with Tyren Mason for a pair of scores of 15 and 65 yards, and counting Mason’s 58-yard touchdown catch in the first half, Memorial cut the lead to 24-21.
Warsaw and Memorial would then trade touchdowns on the next four possessions, Jaramillo closing out both of Warsaw’s drives, then Lehner finding Derrick Woods Jr. for a 69-yarder and Mason for another 65 yards. Mason’s fourth touchdown came with 3:53 to go, but that was the last time Memorial would touch the ball as Warsaw would run out the clock with some savvy execution.
Backup quarterback Aaron Greene and running back Julius Jones, filling in for Amiss and Marsh, along with Jaramillo ran out the final four minutes to allow Warsaw to escape.
“The second half we could not take a break,” Curtis said. “It’s one of those that makes you old in a hurry in this profession. That one, both sides, track meet on their end and obviously doing what we do on our end. We were very fortunate to get a 24-7 lead at the half.”
Marsh opened the game with a 39-yard sweep rush for a score and Amiss caught Memorial off guard in finding Keagan Larsh wide open in the flat for a 31-yard touchdown pass. Warsaw only attempted two passes in the game. Marsh had 104 yards rushing before aggravating a shoulder injury and Amiss had 44 yards on the ground before rolling an ankle and was only able to provide service as a holder for Mevis’ field goal attempts.
Lehner and the Charger offense were the polar opposite from Warsaw. Memorial only rushed 13 times for 14 yards, but Lehner was 13-21 for a career-high 359 yards and the five touchdowns. Mason had 11 catches for 243 yards and Woods Jr. had three catches for 91 yards.
Warsaw moves to 3-1 on the season and 1-1 in the NLC. Memorial falls to 1-3 and 1-2 in the NLC. Warsaw will host Northridge and Memorial will entertain Plymouth next week.