Warrior comeback falls short

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Kyle Doeppke rolls out of the pocket, in search of an open receiver, during Central’s 32-24 loss to Tripoli on Sept. 8. (Photos by Bev Hamann)

Kyle Reinhart returns a kickoff versus the Panthers.

Several Warriors team up on a tackle in last week's game versus Tripoli.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


There was a great atmosphere for Central’s Sept. 8 home game versus Tripoli, as fans flocked to Dittmer Sports Complex to support the Warriors. 


The game got off to a shaky start for the Warriors, as the Panthers jumped out to a 6-0 lead after the first quarter and started to pull away in the second, extending the lead to 20-6. But Braxton Bormann blocked a punt, giving the team what coach Ben Heitland called a “spark.” It led to two Warrior touchdowns, cutting the lead to 20-12 by halftime. 


“The team really never quit. It never felt like we were too far out of the game. The effort and energy were there throughout the game. I felt like the team really fed off of each other, and celebrated the big plays. They also helped to lift each other up after mistakes. It was great to see such great effort and passion from everyone,” Heitland said. 


Coming out of halftime, the Warriors looked to remain balanced on offense, while continuing to flow to the ball on defense, collecting team tackles and swarming the ball carrier. With improved play at the line on both sides of the ball, some great blocking at the point of attack and creating opportunities though turnovers, including a key interception by Kyle Reinhart in the second half, Central was able to close the gap to 26-18 with a little over six minutes left in the fourth quarter.  


A few minutes later, though, through a series of untimely turnovers which stalled drives, the Panthers increased their lead to 32-18. While the Warriors fought back, pulling within eight points, they ran out of time, losing 32-24. 


“The team bought in and played as hard as they could. Unfortunately, we came up just short…[but] I think Friday night, although we didn’t get the win, will go a long way in building momentum,” Heitland said. 


Individual stats were not available for the game. 


The Warriors will look to continue getting better and bring that same team energy into their next game on Friday, Sept. 15 against Turkey Valley (2-1). Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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