The Warriors are on a Warpath

The Warriors defeat the Rockets to extend their win streak to three in a row.
The warriors pink out honoring those who are or have been affected by cancer.
The warriors pink out honoring those who are or have been affected by cancer.
Image/Graphics by Alisa Liptak

On Friday, October 6th, the West Branch Warriors took on the Southern Huntingdon Rockets. Steady rain began before kickoff, but rain was not the only thing that flooded the field that night. Puddles of emotion filled the field. This began with the Warriors’ acknowledgment of breast cancer awareness. As many may have known, a member of the Warrior’s tribe was diagnosed with breast cancer. In addition to recognizing this individual, tributes were paid to those affected by cancer. The Warriors also recognized the young members of the tribe through the youth night tradition. Although the night was filled with emotion, the Warriors remained focused on the task at hand. 

This task began when the Rockets had won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff. After the Matt Eirich kickoff, the Rockets began their opening drive on their forty-yard line. The Warriors’ defense started the relentless night with three straight negative yard plays which forced the Rockets to punt. West Branch then took over on their twenty-nine-yard line. Similar to the defense, the offense started fast with a twenty-one-yard play from scrimmage. This first play was a pass from Tyler Biggans to Brayden Williamson. This pass had multiple meanings for the Warrior Nation, as it not only signaled a fast start but was also a tribute to Brayden’s mom who had been diagnosed this fall with cancer. The next play was another pass for the Warriors, with Tyler Biggans completing a twenty-one-yard gain to Wyatt Schwiderske. WB then completed their opening drive with Tyler Biggans calling his number, and taking the ball in from fifteen yards out. After an Emma Bucha extra point, the Warriors took the lead and made the score seven to zero. The Rockets then took over at their thirty-yard line after the Matt Eirich kickoff. The relentless defense, however, forced the Rockets to another three and out. After taking over at their thirty-three-yard line, the Warriors’ offense stalled out, and had to give the ball back to the Rockets at the visiting team’s forty-five-yard line. The defense continued to hold strong and forced the Rockets to a turnover on downs. West Branch started the next drive on their forty-four-yard line. The Warriors then utilized the rushing attack to move the football down the field. WB moved the ball down to the Rockets’ twenty-five-yard line. The next play was a pass from Tyler Biggans to Craig Fluck which put the Warriors on the Rockets’ ten-yard line. As this pass was completed, time expired, ending the first quarter. 

After the intermission, the Warriors attempted three unsuccessful passes, and ultimately turned the ball over to the Rockets on their three-yard line. The defense continued their domination to this point and forced Southern Huntington to another three and out. The Rockets’ punt was caught by Craig Fluck and brought back to the Rockets’ twenty-five-yard line where the Warriors would begin their next drive. West Branch would again rely on the rushing attack to move the football into scoring position. From the Rockets’ ten-yard line, Tyler Biggans would again find an open receiver. This time it was Azadio Vargas who caught the pass and outran the defense for the touchdown. The Warriors then called on Emma Bucha to extend the lead to fourteen to zero. On the ensuing kickoff, the Rockets’ return team was unable to maintain possession of the ball, and the Warriors’ Luke Liptak was able to recover. Unfortunately, on the next play from scrimmage, West Branch turned the ball over to the opposing defense. The consistent Warriors’ defense forced the Rockets’ to another three and out. After the Rockets punted the ball to the thirty-yard line, the Warriors methodically moved the football down the field. West Branch utilized both the rushing and passing attack to move the ball down to the Rockets’ ten-yard line. This time Wyatt Schwiderske caught the Tyler Biggans pass and outran the defense to get into the endzone. The Emma Bucha kick was blocked, and the Warriors settled for the twenty-to-zero lead. The Rockets took over at their own twenty with two minutes left in the half. SH attempted to use the remaining time on the clock and get to the break. After three unsuccessful plays, they had to give possession back to the Warriors with five seconds remaining in the half and lined up to punt. The Warriors had different plans, however. Azadio Vargas blocked the punt, and Connor Danko ran it in to add to the Warriors’ lead. Emma Bucha added the extra point, and the teams separated for the half. West Branch went into the locker room with a twenty-seven to zero lead. 

When the teams rejoined after the half, the Warriors lined up to receive the second-half kickoff. The kick was taken in by the return team, and the home team started their possession at their own thirty-seven-yard line. The Warriors began the second half with a couple of miscues and were faced with a fourth and four attempt to retain possession. Tyler Biggans called his number and took the ball fifty-seven yards for the Warriors’ score. Emma Bucha kicked the point after, and the Warriors extended their lead to thirty-four to zero. The Rockets took possession on the ensuing drive. Southern Huntington had more success on this drive and got their first first-down of the night. The Warriors defense, however, continued to pressure the Rockets and forced another punt. WBs’ punt return team brought pressure once again, and the kick was blocked by Scott Smeal, and recovered by Luke Liptak. On the next play from scrimmage, Biggans handed the ball to Wyatt Schwiderske, and he punched the ball in from twenty-two yards out. The Emma Bucha extra point was good, and the Warriors extended their lead yet again, forty-one to zero. With the game in hand, and the clock running, the Warriors’ coaching staff decided to give the Junior Varsity team a chance to play. The Junior Varsity team was able to find success and put points on the board, though they also gave up two touchdowns. The Warriors’ success came in the form of a Coby Kephart rushing touchdown from eighty-four yards out. In addition, Stephen Michael Page stepped in front of a pass from the Rockets and returned it seventy-six yards for the final WB points of the night. The Warriors won the game fifty-four to twelve and improved their record to 3-4 on the season. They also extended their win streak to three games, and hope to continue the warpath next week at home vs. the Glendale Vikings for senior night. Senior linebacker Luke Liptak said, “We played sound defense all around and the offense made many big plays.”

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