Rockies outslugged by Warsaw
PLYMOUTH — While there may be light at the end of the tunnel, it was still far from Blueberry Festive at Plymouth on Friday night as the Rockies (1-2) dropped their second straight game at home and their first Northern Lakes Conference game of the season to rival Warsaw, 26-7.
Plymouth dug a hole in the game’s first half and could never quite recover in spite of the return of several starters to the lineup in the second half and the emergence of some new players that could be key as the season progresses.
In the first quarter the Rockies ran just nine offensive plays netting just 8 yards of offense, and a promising second quarter drive stalled with first and goal at the nine.
Taylor Fulton’s fumble recovery on Warsaw’s first possession boded well for the Rockies, but after a three and out the Tigers were able to march down the field between the tackles and score on a 20 yard Tristan McClone run — his first of two scores on the night. Moments later in the opening quarter McClone ran 75 yards for another score. He ended the quarter with 144 yards rushing and ended the night with a game high 248 and two TDs.
“We got caught in some stunts on the big plays,” said Plymouth head coach John Barron of the Tigers’ success up the middle. “We were running by blocks all night is what the kids told us, but that’s hard to see on the sideline. We’ll look at the film. It’s real simple, we aren’t going to make any excuses, Warsaw was better than us tonight and they won.”
The second half was a different story with the game slowing down to the smashmouth style both teams employ.
Plymouth’s Justin Drudge gave the home crowd a reason to cheer with a third quarter score on the Rockies’ first drive of the half, but the hope was to be short-lived. The sophomore ended the night with 79 yards on nine carries and showed a glimpse of what could be.
“It’s really nice as a coach to watch a kid get an opportunity and take advantage of it,” said Barron. “We will definitely keep him in the mix, he has good hands, great vision and speed.”
It may be even more important to find those options as workhorse three-year letterman running back Sam Stevens was hobbled by an early ankle injury Friday, but returned to action in the second half.
“We really hope it’s just a sprain,” said Barron. “He came back and went both ways in the second half, that’s really tough to do. We really hope this isn’t something that’s going to be serious.”
Warsaw moves to 2-1 (1-0 NLC) and plays at home against Elkhart Memorial next Friday. Plymouth will be at Northridge.
• WARSAW 26, PLYMOUTH 7
Score by Quarters
Warsaw 14 6 0 6 — 26
Plymouth 0 0 7 0 — 7
W — Tristan McClone 19-yd run (Jason Taylor kick), 4:14
W — McClone 75-yd run (Taylor kick), 1:00
W — Taylor Cone 63-yd pass from Austin Head (Taylor kick failed), 4:59
P — Justin Drudge 6-yd run (Jake Frantz kick), 7:00
W — Head 4-yd run (Head pass failed), 7:23
Warsaw 48-299:Tristan McClone 32-248 2TD, Austin Head 8-23, 1 TD, Dylan Campbell 5-16 Jason Taylor 2-10.
Plymouth 36-135: Justin Drudge 9-79, 1 TD, Brady Ruffing 8-44, Kyle Lacefield 8-5, Sam Stevens 7-19, Kyser McCrammer 1-3, Elijah Nixon 1-2.
Warsaw Head 4-5-0 85, 1 TD, Plymouth Kyle Lacefield 2-7-1 11.
Michael Garrity 8, Sam Stevens 7.
Records: Plymouth 1-2 (0-1 NLC), Warsaw 2-1 (1-0 NLC)