Warriors’ rush offense and tackling shine in week one win

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By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register

 

Heading into the season opener, Central football coach Joe Koehn made note of how the Clarksville Indians run a similar offense to the Warriors and had decent size to impose their will at the line of scrimmage. It was imperative that the Warriors win those battles at the line of scrimmage on defense, while asserting their physical toughness in establishing the run on offense. “Strength,” said Koehn, would be the key.

 

“The low man always wins, so if we use the strength that they demonstrated in the weight room this off season and get low, things will work in our favor,” he said. 

 

Koehn also told the team that, whether it’s the first game of the season or the last, they needed to “treat it like it’s the last game and fly around the ball and execute their assignments.” 

 

On Friday night, that’s exactly what the Warriors did. It didn’t come easy, though. 

 

The first half went back and forth, and the Warriors were actually down 22-16 at halftime, but team pulled together, putting up two touchdowns in the third quarter. 

 

When the Indians scored in the fourth with about three minutes to go, the game looked to be in doubt, but Central continued to hold up, showing that strength Koehn spoke about. The Warriors dominated at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, flew around on defense, clogging the seams and running lanes, and executed their assignments en route to a hard-fought 30-28 victory.

 

“The kids have been down before in games, and fighting through this adversity will only make them stronger. We as coaches gained a lot of confidence seeing some of our kids come off the bench and excel this last Friday. This will help moving forward,” Koehn said. 

 

The Warrior offense was led by senior Evan Schroeder, who rushed for 256 yards on 20 carries, with three rushing touchdowns. Senior Sean Wilwert added another 46 yards on 10 carries, while junior Elliot Kelly rushed for 34 yards on 11 carries and sophomore Noah Diersen compiled 16 yards on three carries with a rushing touchdown. 

 

In total, the offense rushed for 365 yards, averaging 7.4 yards per carry, which is up four yards over last season. 

 

“The kids wanted to win the line of scrimmage and they did for the most part. They blocked with purpose and pushed the ball down the field. Schroeder did a great job running the ball and the offensive line did a good job blocking for him, too. Also, our fullbacks got some good kick out blocks as well,” Koehn said. 

 

While the rushing game looked vastly improved, the passing game is still a work in progress. Schroeder and Kelly combined for two completions on nine attempts, for 40 yards and one interception. Junior Nathan Shirbroun caught the only two completed passes. 

 

Defensively, Central amassed 65.5 total tackles—53 of them solo and  six for a loss of yardage. Kelly led the defense with 17 solo tackles and two tackles for a loss, while sophomore Ryan Schroeder totaled seven solo tackles. Two players, Evan Schroeder and sophomore Sam Fettkether, each had six solo tackles and combined for three tackles for a loss. 

 

The defense held the Indians to just 197 rushing yards, while recovering three fumbles. The passing defense, however, gave up 116 yards and one touchdown, and the Clarksville quarterback finished with a 119.6 passer rating. 

 

“They are flying to the ball, finishing tackles and making the correct reads, and putting the time in in practice is helping propel them to the next level,” Koehn said of the defensive performance. 

 

The Warriors will take the week of practice to work on areas of weakness, especially in the passing defense, as they have a tough matchup against the 1-0 Easton Valley River Hawks, who threw for 318 yards and eight passing touchdowns in their week one win over Don Bosco. The game will be at Easton Valley Elementary School on Sept. 3, with a 7 p.m. kickoff. 

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