By Nick Goralczyk
WARSAW – The execution was far from perfect for the Warsaw football team Friday night, but the result was one the team has become familiar with in recent weeks. The Tigers extended their win streak to four games with a 41-28 Homecoming victory over the visiting Goshen RedHawks.
Aaron Greene got the Tigers on the board with a five-yard run on the game’s opening drive, putting the Tigers up 7-0. The Warsaw defense matched the offense on its first drive with a score of its own. Caden Silveus intercepted a Colin Turner pass and took it back 20-yards for a touchdown, the second Tiger touchdown in 15 seconds, to put the home team up 14-0.
In the second quarter Mason Martz found pay dirt on a three-yard run for the Tigers, bumping the lead to 21-0. The score by Martz seemingly broke the game open for Warsaw, but Goshen was not ready to wave the white flag just yet.
Following the Martz touchdown for Warsaw, Turner led the RedHawks on a 69-yard scoring drive that was capped with a six-yard run by Quinn Bechtel with 4:42 to play in the second quarter.
A missed 38-yard field goal gave Goshen the ball back with 1:24 to play. Turner connected with Brayden Hinkel for a 52-yard pass to set the RedHawks up and then went back to the junior wideout for a 24-yard score with just 22 seconds to play. Goshen was suddenly back in the game at 21-14 and in line to receive the second half kickoff, but Warsaw head coach Bart Curtis was not letting the RedHawks steal momentum that easily.
Though Halloween is still over a month away, Curtis treated Goshen to some trickery in the final seconds of the half. Though the Tigers had less than 20 seconds to make something happen, it proved to be more than enough time. A sweep to the left picked up 11 yards and that set up the play of the game. Greene pitched out to Julius Jones on a sweep back to the right and Jones fooled everyone when he stopped and launched a pass downfield, hitting Luke Adamiec in stride. The pass went for 67 yards, giving Warsaw a 28-14 lead at the break.
The Tigers never looked back.
When asked about the play, Curtis was appreciative of his halfback’s arm,“We usually practice our trick plays on Thursdays, we didn’t this week for some reason. But, we figured, ‘What the heck, take a shot.’ We had just run a sweep our way, so we ran a sweep the other way and Julius made a really nice throw to Luke Adamiec.”
Despite the excellent execution on that trick play, the Tigers were far from crisp on the field as they saw big plays called back on more than one occasion due to penalties. To put it simply, the old ball coach was not pleased with the poor execution.
“Too many,” Curtis said when asked about the mistakes his team made in Friday’s contest. “Inexcusable mistakes. First downs called back. Touchdowns called back. Just bad football. But, credit to (Goshen), they have a very good passing game and we didn’t put enough pressure on (Turner). We got beat on a few plays and just made mistakes that should not be being made in game six.”
The Tigers were able to expand their lead in the third quarter with a touchdown run from, making it 34-14. In the fourth quarter German Flores-Ortega became the sixth Tiger player to score a touchdown in the contest with a two-yard rumble, giving Warsaw a 41-14 lead. Goshen added two scores in the final eight minutes of the game, runs from Turner and Bechtel, respectively.
Despite more mistakes than usual from Warsaw’s team, the Tigers still managed to hang 40-plus points on the scoreboard for the third time this season. A lack of execution does not equal a lack of effort, and Curtis made sure that point was clear. The effort from the Tigers has led to five wins so far this season, the execution can take Warsaw to the next level.
“We’ve just got to play better,” Curtis explained. “We’re playing hard, we’re just not finishing plays and making plays when we need to make them.”
Warsaw ran for 401 yards, led by Jones’ 170 rushing yards. Greene ran for 74 yards and Juan Jaramillo tallied 54 on the ground for the home team. Turner led Goshen with 276 yards through the air.
Warsaw (5-1, 4-0) will continue its quest for a Northern Lakes Conference title when it travels to Wawasee (2-4, 0-4) next week. The Tigers will be looking for their sixth straight win in the ‘W’ Trophy Game series. Goshen (1-2, 0-2) will host Northridge.