PLYMOUTH - It DID live up to the hype.
In their history of 100 meetings the early season match up between Plymouth and Warsaw will always have its drama, but the Tigers riding high from two big wins to start their season fell just short to the Rockies by a 24-19 score.
"That was a really good high school football game," said Plymouth coach John Barron. "It could have gone either way. My hats off to our kids. We dug deep and made the plays we needed to make to get out of here with a win."
It was a tale of two styles. Warsaw's grind them out offense with a fast swarming defense, and the Rockies with the big play and a defense that bends but doesn't break. The key to the game was a 66 yard touchdown pass from Joe Barron to Seth Rundell on the third play of the game.
"They (Warsaw) are so precise in what they do and they are very good at it," said Barron. If you get behind those guys it's really tough to play catch up with them because they play keep away."
"The score by Rundell for us really set the tone early," said Barron. "It really helped to get ahead of them, then holding them to a field goal really helped too."
After Plymouth's score Warsaw marched down the field but penalties killed a tying drive and forced the Tigers to settle for three. It was the same scenario later in the first half when Plymouth hit a big play for six more and then forced the Tigers to kick again on a long ensuing drive.
"When they get behind they still have a potent attack it's just a little tougher (for Warsaw)," said Barron.
"We played a lot of kids two ways tonight but we really needed to," Barron said of his defense rising to the occasion. "This is a different style of running attack. They challenge you. They're going to outwork you, they are going to out tough you then they'll out scheme you."
Other than the big play the Rockies had difficulty getting any traction with a swarming Warsaw defense that stifled the running game and kept Plymouth out of the end zone on key opportunities.
"(Warsaw's) defense is very good too," said Barron. "We had the ball inside the 10 a couple of times and didn't score. Thats something that we have to shore up."
Rundell put the game out of reach with his second scoring pass, what would end up as a 39 yard score. After appearing to be tackled for a short gain, Rundell somehow escaped the pile, reversed field and escaped the entire Warsaw defense ending in the end zone putting the Rockies up 24-12 a lead they would not relinquish.
“They stunted and twisted on us a few times,” said Barron. “They are playing with a lot of linebacker type kids and they scheme very well, but I'll take our skilled guys, they get open and make plays.”
Nathaniel Derifield forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff that was recovered by Zephan Nixon allowing the offense to run precious time off the clock and hold on to the win.
Ivan Winkle again lit up the offense with a 70 yard touchdown run on his first touch of the night on offense.
“What can you say about Ivan?” said Barron. “He is a highlight reel. He's in the backfield for the very first time and takes it 70 some yards for a touchdown. We have to find a way to keep getting him the ball.”
“And welcome back Seth Rundell,” he said. “Joe's (Barron) got some weapons to throw to.”
Plymouth moves to 2-1 with a big game at home against Northridge next week. Warsaw also moves to 2-1.
•PLYMOUTH 24, WARSAW 19
Plymouth 7 10 0 7 — 24 Warsaw 3 3 6 7 — 19 Scoring Summary: 1st Quarter
09:34 PLYM — Seth Rundell 66 yd pass from Joe Barron (Adrian Cardona kick). 01:37 WARS — Mevis 39 yd field goal. 2nd Quarter
03:59 WARS — Mevis 35 yd field goal. 03:42 PLYM — Ivan Winkle 80 yd run (Adrian Cardona kick). 00:12 PLYM — Adrian Cardona 29 yd field goal. 3rd Quarter
04:46 WARS — Jaramillo 3 yd run (Larsh rush failed). 4th Quarter
10:26 PLYM - Seth Rundell 39 yd pass from Joe Barron (Adrian Cardona kick). 05:10 WARS — Adamiec 0 yd fumble recovery (Mevis kick).
RUSHING — Plymouth-Ivan Winkle 9-123, Joe Barron 8-34, Bradley Pittman 5-20, Seth Rundell 2-2. Warsaw-Jaramillo 36-155, Marsh 9-45, Amiss 8-38, Larsh 4-26. PASSING — Plymouth-Joe Barron 12-26-2-202. Warsaw-Amiss 5-9-0-60, Marsh 1-1-0-10. RECEIVING — Plymouth-Seth Rundell 5-128, Garr Schrameyer 3-35, Joe Styers 3-34, Jake Reichard 1-5. Warsaw-Adamiec 5-64, Marsh 1-2, Jaramillo 0-4. INTERCEPTIONS — Plymouth-None. Warsaw-Adamiec 1-38, Silveus 1-0. FUMBLES — Plymouth-None. Warsaw-Jaramillo 1-0, Larsh 1-1, Amiss 1-0.