Blondin, defensive line push Warrenton to district finals

By John Rohlf, Sports Editor
Posted 11/8/23

After controlling most of the second half, the fate of Warrenton’s undefeated season fell on the right foot of Parkway North kicker Henry Reeves. 

With just four seconds remaining and …

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Blondin, defensive line push Warrenton to district finals


After controlling most of the second half, the fate of Warrenton’s undefeated season fell on the right foot of Parkway North kicker Henry Reeves. 

With just four seconds remaining and the ball sitting at the 7-yard line, Reeves lined up for a 24-yard field goal with Friday night’s district semifinal tied 21-21. After Warrenton head coach Jason Koper called a pair of timeouts, Reeves’ 24-yard field goal attempt sailed wide of the left upright and sent Friday night’s game to overtime. 

“That does give us a lift. It gives us a major lift,” Warrenton defensive end Javon Jones said. “And going into overtime with that missed field goal, all the energy was just sky high right there and it really gave us that extra effort.” 

Just three plays into overtime, Warrenton (11-0) struck first on quarterback Charlie Blondin’s 19-yard touchdown run. Blondin faked a handoff and scampered 19 yards down the sideline to give Warrenton a 28-21 lead. 

“We put that plan in probably last week, two weeks ago,” Blondin said. “We ran it probably three times in practice. But I mean, it worked out perfect. The lineman blocked perfect.”

After a pair of incomplete passes to start Parkway North’s overtime possession, the Warrenton defensive line made a pair of crucial plays to push Warrenton into the district championship game. 

With Parkway North (8-2) facing a 3rd and 10 from the 25-yard line, senior Jacob Ruff broke through the line to sack Parkway North quarterback Sam Boydston to put the Vikings in a 4th and long situation. With the Vikings needing 15 yards to save their season, Jones broke through to sack Boydston to put the finishing touches on Warrenton’s dominating overtime performance.

“It’s really just our whole D-line,” Jones said. When we all work together and when everything is going fluent, things happen like they’re supposed to happen. So when we all work together, it goes right.”

Warrenton Head Coach Jason Koper was confident after the missed field goal that the Warriors would walk away with an overtime win. 

“I had zero doubt that we were going to be able to pull that off,” Koper said. 

Prior to the overtime period, Friday night’s district semifinal clash was a back and forth affair. Throughout the whole game, neither team led by more than seven points. 

The Warrenton defense, which did not surrender any points in the first half, forced a couple of early turnovers. Brandon Johnson intercepted a pass on Parkway North’s second possession. With the Vikings in the red zone at the start of the second quarter, Kadin Stroer forced a fumble that was recovered by Ruff to keep the game scoreless. Parkway North’s lone score of the first half came after the ensuing Warrenton drive stalled. The Warriors punted and Parkway North’s Messiah Smith returned the punt 55 yards for a touchdown. 

Warrenton responded with a 75-yard touchdown drive on the following possession to tie up the game with 5:43 remaining in the first half. An 11-yard run by Joe Goldsmith and a 14-yard reception by Mason Thompson put the Warriors near midfield. The Warriors converted a 3rd and 2 from the Parkway North 31-yard line on Blondin’s 7-yard pass to Chance McPike. The Warriors capped off the drive on Blondin’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Mason Thompson. 

The Warriors were unable to cash in on two more red zone trips before halftime. The Warriors recovered a squib kick after the touchdown. Warrenton drove the ball to the Parkway North 18-yard line but settled for a field goal attempt. Tyler Faerber’s kick was no good. 

With just over one minute remaining, Warrenton blocked a punt and took over at the Parkway North 33-yard line. The Warriors got down to the 3-yard line but had to settle for a 27-yard field goal attempt. The kick was blocked and the game went into halftime tied at 7-7. 

“I think if we execute in the red zone, we really run and take control of this game from start to finish,” Koper said. “But that’s something we struggled with at the beginning. It’s the best defense we’ve seen all year. It’s not even close. Their defense is fantastic. They fly around the football. They have great pursuit. They’re very talented football players. So we’ve just got to clean up the red zone. If we clean up that red zone efficiency, I like our chances against anyone right now.”

The Warriors took their first lead of the third quarter on their opening drive. Running back Austin Haas scored the first of his two touchdowns on a 5-yard touchdown run. The Warriors were set up by Blondin’s 31-yard pass to Peyton Dawson on 3rd and 16. Jones also picked up a 14-yard run to put Warrenton into the red zone. 

“You look at the way we drove the ball on offense… Recover that onside kick and essentially eliminate the third quarter,” Koper said. “It’s just spectacular and that’s exactly what we needed to do tonight to keep that going.”

Parkway North tied the game on Smith’s 7-yard touchdown run on 4th and 1 just over four minutes into the final quarter. 

The Warriors responded with a 60-yard touchdown drive. Haas scored his second touchdown of the game on a 3-yard touchdown run with 4:05 remaining in the final quarter. The Vikings took over on the Warrenton 39-yard line on their ensuing drive and scored 59 seconds after Warrenton’s score on Boydston’s 25-yard touchdown pass to Hank Mohrmann. 

Warrenton took over at their own 23-yard line with 3:04 remaining. Blondin connected with Thompson for 14 yards to move the chains on Warrenton’s first set of downs. With Warrenton facing a 4th and 5 from their own 44-yard line later in the drive, Koper elected to keep the offense on the field and try to get the first down. Blondin’s pass intended for Thompson fell incomplete with 1:25 remaining in regulation

After the turnover on downs, Parkway North drove to the Warrenton 7-yard line in 1:21 to set up the field goal attempt. 

After the game, Koper said the Warriors should have punted and forced the Vikings to drive the ball down the field at the end of regulation. 

“I liked what we had seen in the route combination that we ran on that play,” Koper said. “It came open. Just a miscommunication. We were a little deeper than what Charlie expected. Otherwise that might be a walk in touchdown for us. But I felt like in this scenario when you’re the four seed and you’re the underdog, you go for the win. Whatever it takes, you go for the win and don’t really second guess it. But it wasn’t right.”

Warrenton will square off against Hannibal in the district championship game at 7 p.m. Friday at Hannibal High School. The Warriors fell to Hannibal 62-7 last season in the district semifinals. 

“Got to stop Eneyas Williams,” Koper said. “I mean, that’s probably the best player in the state of Missouri. So we’ve got to stop him. Hopefully, we play our best game. That’s just all you can do this time. You go out and you try to play your best and hopefully we can do that. That was what I wanted tonight. Guys were the underdogs. Let’s just go play the best we can and see what happens.”