Warriors Lose Back and Forth Battle to Knights


Courtesy of Tyler Kolesar

Travis Rothrock scored his first career touchown on his only reception of the night.

Houtzdale- Friday Night’s edition of the West Branch-Moshannon Valley rivalry did not disappoint, as the Warriors and Black Knights literally went down to the wire. Football is commonly referred to as a game of inches, and that statement couldn’t have been more true during this contest. With under two minutes to go, the Warriors trailed 31-27. West Branch was faced with a 4th & 3 on the Knights 37 yard-line. Quarterback Ayden Gutierrez rolled to his left, and after avoiding pressure, decided to try and run for the first down. Gutierrez dove full extension for the first down marker as he was hit by a Knight defender and was taken onto the sideline. The official was taken out on the play, and as he was attended to, the entire stadium fell silent as they awaited the call. The officials ruled that Gutierrez didn’t reach the marker, resulting in a turnover-on-downs. The Knights were able to take a knee and end the game.

Moshannon Valley won the coin toss and elected to receive. The Knights’ goal was to establish the run game early, and they were able to do just that. They marched right down the field right into the redzone. The Warriors buckled down and stopped the Knights on fourth down. The Warriors completed a first down pass, but then were forced to punt. The following two drives would result in touchdowns: Joe Bacher would run for a score on the first play following the punt, and Gutierrez would find Eddie Dale in the endzone for six. Sarah Betts’ extra point put the Warriors up 7-6.

Bacher and Gutierrez would be the two main weapons for each offense. Bacher ran the ball 29 times for 344 yards and four touchdowns, while Gutierrez was 20-40 for 327 yards and four touchdowns. Eddie Dale hauled in eight passes for 191 yards and three scores.

Bacher would run for another long touchdown on the first play following the kickoff. The PAT was missed once again, so the Knights led 12-7. The Warriors would once again respond, as Gutierrez hit Dale in stride for another Warrior score. The PAT by Betts would go through, making the score 14-12. Betts would finish the night 3-4 with PAT’s.

Late in the first half, the Warriors fumbled the ball, and the Knights would recover. On the very next play, Bacher would find the endzone once again to put the Knights up 18-14 going into the break.

The Warriors came out of the break ready to play, as they received the opening kickoff of the second half and drove right down the field for another score. Gutierrez found Junior Travis Rothrock in the endzone for his first career touchdown. Gutierrez’s third touchdown of the night put the Warriors up 21-18.

“It felt amazing,” Rothrock said. “The amount of adrenaline that shot through my body was one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever had.”

With five minutes to go in the third quarter, Bacher would score his fourth touchdown of the night to put the Knights up 25-21. Both teams would then stall out, with each squad being forced to punt on back-to-back drives. As the fourth quarter began, the Warriors started to find some life. After a few first downs, Gutierrez and Dale once again connected for the duo’s third score of the night. Gutierrez found Dale deep down the sideline, and Dale won the jump ball against his defender.

Dale stated, “Taking advantage of the defenders weaknesses helped tremendously on Friday. I believe some differences in height and speed played a big role, and we were able to keep them off balance with a couple of big runs.”

After a handful of punts by each team, the Warriors were looking to put the game away. Gutierrez found a seam and went 75 yards to the house on a designed quarterback run, but the officials called a hold on the offense, taking away the touchdown. The Warriors would then punt, giving the Knights a shot to take the lead late in the game.

Everyone knew that the Knights would run the ball, but yet the Warrior defense failed to stop the Moshannon Valley rushing attack. The Knights scored with three minutes remaining to take the lead, setting up the controversial ending to the ballgame.

West Branch (0-2) travels to Claysburg-Kimmel (1-1) this Friday.


Score By Quarters

MV– 12   6   7   6 = 31

WB–  0  14  7   6 = 27

Individual Statistics


Ayden Gutierrez 20-of-40, 327yds., 4 TD’s


Ayden Gutierrez 13-9

Will Herring 10-7

Aidan Kephart  1-(-1)


Eddie Dale- 8-191 (3 TD’s)

Noah Hoffner 3-55

Camden Kopchik 4-53

Will Herring 2-11

Chance Eboch 1-11

Travis Rothrock 1-6 (1 TD)