By Mike Deak
SYRACUSE – There’s something to say about being able to replicate assets in practice. When you don’t have the size or the speed to match up with an opponent in preparation, things can get away quickly under the bright lights.
Wawasee found that out in short order Friday night as a faster and more physical Concord team did much of what it wanted to do in a 44-0 drubbing of the Warriors at Warrior Field.
Concord scored on four of its first five possessions, and once again, mistakes crushed Wawasee in trying to keep pace. Concord’s first possession came on a short field after a Wawasee punt, and combined with a pass interference call deep in its own territory, Wawasee was already up against it. A nice catch inside the Wawasee two by Jack D’Arcy set up a one-yard Titus Hackworth touchdown plunge.
A botched punt attempt by Wawasee later in the quarter again gave Concord a short field to work with, and the Minutemen took advantage. Converting a third and 10, the Minutemen had Hackworth rush to the three, then saw Hunter Dutton throw a ball only 6’3″ Amarion Moore was going to catch on the boundary for a score. At 14-0, it was already rolling downhill quick for Jon Reutebuch’s crew.
“I counted three or four plays where we almost made the play,” Reutebuch said. “They were in position, but we’ve got to make some plays. Really, in the first half, it came down to three or four plays that had we made them, it would have been a lot tighter.”
Concord’s quick strike ability brought Dutton to throw a beautiful ball to D’Arcy racing down the edge just a minute into the second quarter. Dutton later found Malik Robinson for a 34-yard touchdown as the Minuteman quarterback was picking apart the Warrior defense.
Wawasee felt like it had some good fortunes coming right out of the half, recovering a Concord fumble on the kickoff, Aidan Monds with the recovery. But as Reutebuch has seen far too many times from his team this season, capitalization was replaced with miscalculation as the Warriors fumbled the ball away deep in Concord territory.
It would be the last time Wawasee would hold possession inside Concord’s 40 the remainder of the game.
“Coming out in the second half, it’s 27-0, we get a turnover on the kickoff and we’re driving down, the crowd is alive, the kids are feeling it. We’re inside the 10 and then we fumble,” Reutebuch said. “That kills you. Then they march right down and they score. That is what we have to quit allowing to happen. That mentally weak not going (to the) next play. Letting it fester and giving up an easy touchdown.”
Hackworth would orchestrate the impressive drive by his lonesome, accumulating all 86 yards of the drive that followed the fumble recovery including a 60-yard run on the first play and a seven-yard scamper to paydirt.
Hackworth finished with 16 carries for 137 yards and two catches for 27 more. Dutton threw for 195 yards and four touchdowns, and both Robinson and D’Arcy each finished with 69 yards receiving.
Wawasee’s offensive woes continued against the Minutemen, running 45 plays for just 104 total yards. Lucas Ringler had four catches for 36 yards including a nice crossing route for a big gain in the first half, and Brandon Kelly piled up 35 yards on the ground.
The Warriors haven’t beaten Concord in the regular season dating back to 2003 and have lost 19 in a row to the Minutemen going back to a 2004 playoff win.
But in a Northern Lakes Conference where defense wins championships, the Warriors (0-4, 0-2 NLC) gave up 407 yards to Concord (3-1, 2-0 NLC) and are now minus-86 in aggregate scoring two weeks into the calendar and have just two touchdowns to its credit in four total games.
“Right now it’s getting the guys to believe in themselves,” Reutebuch said. “We play well in spurts, but if it doesn’t go well in that spurt, we lose traction very quickly. That has to end. We have some games coming up where we actually match up pretty well, but we have to believe in ourselves that we can win it.”