Warriors take down Knights
By Rich Murawski
For the Mirror
MORRISDALE — After showing the ability to take over a game in last week’s win over Philipsburg-Osceola by scoring 26 straight, fourth-quarter points, the West Branch football team was at it again Friday night at L.T. Drivas Memorial Field.
Trailing 13-7 with 6:02 left in the first quarter, the Warriors ripped off 28 unanswered points to take a 35-13 lead to the half against rival Moshannon Valley before holding off the Knights 35-20.
West Branch piled up 372 total yards in the first half with 297 coming in the 28-point run.
“We’re dangerous,” West Branch coach Kevin Hubler said. “I preach trying to be balanced. That first drive we cam out in a twins I set and they stacked the box and we saw a seam and we were able to take advantage of it.
“Having weapons on the outside and then obviously having (Derek) Yingling in the backfield is definitely a two-headed monster.”
“It was one quarter,” Mo Valley coach Michael Keith said. “That’s the story of the game … one quarter. I said at halftime, ‘let’s go out and win the second half,’ and we did. But we have to put a complete game together.”
The Warriors opened the scoring in a fast-paced first quarter when quarterback Ayden Gutierrez found Eddie Dale for a 47-yard touchdown pass with 9:22 to go in the first.
Mo Valley responded in a hurry, getting a 78-yard touchdown pass from Ben Murawski to Jake Matchock less than a minute later to tie the game.
The Knights kept the momentum on defense when Nathan Beers picked off Gutierrez on a deflected pass attempt inside the Warrior 20 and rumbled to the 10 to set the visitors’ offense up in prime real estate.
Three plays later, Murawski kept the ball on a read option and scored from 8 yards out to make the score 13-7 just six minutes into the game. The conversion attempt failed.
Gutierrez bounced back quickly from the interception, hitting Eddie Dale in stride on a fly pattern for a 64-yard TD pass and Kyle Godin booted the second of his five extra points to put West Branch on top with 5:34 still left to play in the first. Dale had three receptions for 126 yards in the game.
After the big pass play, the Warrior defense dug in and held Mo Valley to a three-and-out. In fact, West Branch only allowed two more Knight first downs the rest of the half.
In the meantime, the Warriors turned to Derek Yingling and the running game.
Yingling had just 6 yards on his first eight carries before ripping off gains of 10, 10 and 20 on consecutive plays. After adding a 4-yard gain, he punched it into the end zone from 12 yards out with 5:55 left in the first half to make the score 21-13.
Yingling busted off a 44-yard run on the next Warrior drive, which covered 59 yards in five plays and was capped by a Gutierrez 6-yard run.
West Branch scored one more time before the half on a Yingling 53-yard gallop. Gutierrez hit Will Herring for a 33-yard gain the play before.
“The kids responded,” Hubler said. “We weren’t playing bad by any means on defense. Matchock made a heck of a catch and made a man miss and he was in the end zone and then we turned the ball over at the 10-yard line and they punched it in. I was happy the offense responded and got it back to even and then they really put the pedal down to end the first half.”
Yingling ended the half with 159 yards on 15 carries, while Gutierrez accounted for 178 yards through the air. Yingling finished the game with 223 yards on 27 carries.
The Black Knights set up shop at their own 40 to start the second half and Jon Dale busted off a 45-yarder on the second play from scrimmage before capping the drive two plays later on a 3-yard run. Joe Bacher picked up a 12-yard run in between the two Dale runs.
The Dale touchdown came with 10:22 left in the third quarter and ended up being the last score of the game.
Mo Valley had the ball deep in Warrior territory again on the next drive, but had a first down conversion on a fourth-and-2 from the 27 nullified due to a holding penalty and Murawski was intercepted by Herring on the next play to end the threat.
The Knights got to the Warrior 23-yard line late in the quarter, but the West Branch defense stuffed Dale on a fourth-and-1 play and the offense ran out the clock to preserve the win.
Score by Quarters
Mo Valley 13 0 7 0 — 20
West Branch 14 21 0 0 — 35
WB–Dale 47 pass from Gutierrez (Godin kick), 9;22.
MV–Matchock 78 pass from Murawski, (Matchock kick), 8:17.
MV–Murawski 8 run, (pass failed), 6:02.
WB–Dale 64 pass from Gutierrez, (Godin kick), 5:34.
WB–Yingling 12 run, (Godin kick), 5:55.
WB–Gutierrez 6 run, (Godin kick), 2:38.
WB–Yingling 53 run, (Godin kick), 0:40.
MV–Dale 3 run, (Matchock kick), 10:22.
TEAM STATS MV WB
First downs 10 18
Rushes-yards 34-126 44-281
Comp-Att-Int 4-14-1 7-16-2
Passing Yards 123 194
Total Plays-Yards 48-249 60-475
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-0
Punts 5-34.4 3-26.3
Penalties-Yards 6-64 8-82
RUSHING–Moshannon Valley, Dale 18-113, Bacher 4-28, Murawski 10-2, Matchock 1-6, Team 1-(23). West Branch, Yingling 27-223, Herring 7-29, Gutierrez 7-27, Dawes 1-4, Kephart 1-1, Team 1-(-3).
PASSING–Moshannon Valley, Murawski 4-14-1-123. West Branch–Gutierrez 7-16-2-194.
RECEIVING–Moshannon Valley, Matchock 4-123. West Branch, Dale 3-126, Cantolina 2-34, Herring 2-34.