West Branch Gains First Victory in the Battle of the Warriors


Elishea Reed

The West Branch captains walk onto the field for the captains meeting.

Everett– With three minutes to go in the game, West Branch was holding onto a 14-6 lead. Everett began to drive down the field in hopes of tying the game. This three-minute drive felt like an eternity, as West Branch was plagued with two pass interference penalties. With just over a minute to go, Everett faced a 1st&10 from the West Branch 20-yard line. With their backs against the wall, the Warrior defensive front went on a tear, sacking the Everett quarterback twice in a row. Everett faced a 3rd&45 and elected to try and gain all 45 back in one play. Everett’s QB received the snap and chucked it deep. He overthrew his receiver by 20 yards, with the pass going right to Ayden Gutierrez for the game-sealing interception. In a battle of the win-less Warriors, the tribe from West Branch took home a 14-6 victory for the first time this season.

West Branch lost the coin-toss, but received the ball to start the game. After nearly throwing an interception, West Branch punted the ball. Everett responded by going three-and-out as well. West Branch put together a promising drive and got into the redzone. After setting up a first and goal from inside the five yard-line, Everett stuffed West Branch three plays in a row to force a fourth and goal. Gutierrez ran a speed option to the right, kept the ball, broke a tackle, and lunged into the endzone for the game’s first points. Sarah Betts was once again a dead-eye, going 2-2 on the night in her PAT opportunities. From that point on, it was a defensive showcase for both squads. West Branch had opportunities to put points on the board throughout the night, but once again drops and penalties plagued the Warriors.  Late in the first half, West Branch elected to punt on a fourth down deep in their own territory. The snap rolled back to Eddie Dale, and as he picked it up and tried to get the punt off, Everett blocked it, scooped up the ball and walked into the endzone. The PAT was no good, as West Branch led 7-6.

As time was expiring in the first half, Everett faced a fourth down near the West Branch 20-yard line. They set up to attempt a 30-yard field goal, but Chance Eboch and Eddie Dale both got pressure off the edge, with Eboch blocking the kick. West Branch took a knee, and with it took a 7-6 lead into the break: their first of the season.

“Eddie and I were lined up at the wing, and I kinda just had a feeling,” Eboch said. “I got through the gap in front of me and I blocked it. It felt amazing, I didn’t even feel the pain of where it hit me. I was pumped.”

The second half was no different, as both defenses showcased their abilities all night long. Although West Branch did not commit any turnovers, Everett did a great job in limiting their big plays. However, the West Branch defense was on a whole other level. Along with forcing a fumble, the Everett warriors faced many 3rd-and-forever situations throughout the night. The pass rush was present all night long, and Everett had little success in the run game. Both teams went scoreless in the third quarter.

Midway through the fourth quarter, West Branch was looking to put the game away. The Warriors drove down the field and put themselves in a first-and-goal situation. Everett again stalled out West Branch, stopping them on three straight plays. As Gutierrez was forced to throw the ball away on third-and-goal, West Branch faced another critical fourth down. Gutierrez rolled right, fired a pass, and found Camden Kopchik in a tight window for a Warrior touchdown. West Branch then led 14-6. Everett would get the ball back, but did little with it and was forced to punt. West Branch, with a chance to run out the clock, failed to get a first down and punted as well. Everett got the ball one final time, and the drive ended with the Gutierrez interception.

West Branch (1-5) travels to Bellwood-Antis(6-0) this Friday.

Score By Quarters

WB 7  0  0  7 = 14

EV  0  6  0  0 = 6

Individual Statisitcs:


Ayden Gutierrez 12-of-31, 137 yds., 1 TD


Will Herring 12- (-2)

Ayden Gutierrez 11-15 (1 TD)

Aidan Kephart 3-2


Noah Hoffner 4-50

Trent Bellomy 4-65

Will Herring 2-16

Cam Kopchik 1-5 (1 TD)

Eddie Dale 1-1