Fantastic finish: Warren rallies from halftime deficit to beat South

VINCENT – In just one play and seven seconds the Warren Warriors found themselves down by seven points and fighting an uphill battle against the Parkersburg South Patriots, who rattled off 26 unanswered points to start the contest.

And with one flip of a yellow flag, the Patriots found themselves playing as though they were behind despite the fact they were winning on the scoreboard.

The result was the Warriors taking command on both side of the ball to outscore South 47-13 en route to a 47-39 victory in a game that took more than three hours to play in Vincent Friday night.

“We wanted to start off well,” said Warren football coach Andy Schob. “They had the big TD run and then the blocked punt. They had all the momentum the first quarter and a half, but once we got the momentum we just fed off it.”

Leading 26-0 with just over five minutes in the first half, the Patriots watched a punt transform the game as a South player was ejected for landing a punch on the Warriors’ David Ryan.

That punch ignited a fire in the Warriors, who went from managing just 70 yards of total offense to a juggernaut, pounding out 220 yards on the ground while tallying seven of the next eight scores.

“It (penalty) helped turn the momentum our way. Once we get going, we’re a pretty good team,” said Warren quarterback Austin Klintworth, who ran for 88 yards and two touchdowns while throwing for two more.

Immediately after the ejection of South’s Brandon Moss, who took the first play from scrimmage 78 yards to paydirt, the Warriors found the endzone for the first time when Jake Powell scored from 10 yards out.

It was an omen of what was to come.

“Adversity hit and it didn’t just hit. It hit like a storm,” said Parkersburg South football coach Mike Eddy. “We went from being on top of the world to being under the bus. Everything started with that altercation we had at the end of the second quarter.”

Trailing 26-6 at the break, the Warriors kept the energy that began with what was the eighth and ninth penalties of the first half against the Patriots to start second half play.

A halfback pass from Andrew Henthorn to Cole Wigal just four plays into the third quarter continued the comeback, as Warren picked up more yards from scrimmage in the third quarter alone than the entire first half of play.

“It (lack of offense) was simple mistakes. We knew what we did wrong and we corrected it the second half,” Ryan said.

Schob agreed.

“We had some things we saw we liked the first half, and we missed a block here, a block there,” he said.

Those corrections saw the Warrior quarterbacks complete four of five passes for 97 yards and three scores, while the ground game picked up 150 yards on 26 carries to physically wear down the Patriots in the second half.

A pair of Patriot fumbles assisted the cause, as Parkersburg South had six fumbles and lost three of them in the final two quarters.

“As soon as they fumbled, we’d score in a couple plays,” Schob said.

A lost fumble gave the Warriors the ball at the Patriots’ 16-yard line, and after a sack, Klintworth found Ryan for a 25-yard scoring strike. Alex Miller’s point after put the Warriors ahead for the first time in the contest, 27-26.

“We had a 26 point lead that got erased in just a matter of plays because of miscues,” Eddy said.

More importantly, the drive signaled the continuing fall of the Patriots, as South lost its second player to an ejection, part of 155 penalty yards on 16 infractions for the squad.

South would rally the fort one final time, reclaiming the lead thanks in part to the passing of quarterback Garrett Gilkeson, who connected with Brendon Schwendeman and Cody Boggs to drive the Patriots 83 yards to the endzone following Ryan’s TD reception.

Boggs one-handed leaping catch put South ahead for the final time, 32-27, with 2:34 to play in the third quarter.

Warren claimed the lead for good as Klintworth scored from two yards out with 11:23 to play in the game. Another lost fumble by the Patriots set up the Warriors’ fifth touchdown drive, with Klintworth again capitalizing, this time from 14 yards out with 9 in regulation.

A three-and-out by the Patriots on their next offensive series gave the Warriors renewed life, and a steady dose of the ground game lead to the final score for the Warriors. A nifty play-action by Klintworth found Ryan for an easy 20 yard touchdown pass with just 3:31 to play.

“You give Dave an opportunity to catch it, and he’s going to come down with it,” Klintworth said.

That catch put the Warriors ahead two scores, and they needed both as South tried one final time to get back into the contest.

Gilkeson connected with Boggs on a 38 yard pass to set up the Patriots final score, when he found Schwendeman from nine yards out with 2:45 to play.

That proved to be the final score, as the ensuing onside kick attempt went out of bounds and the Warriors ran off the rest of the clock.

“Great team win, definitely,” Ryan said. “We needed that.”