‘Spectacular’ first half keys Warrenton’s road win

By John Rohlf, Sports Editor
Posted 9/27/23

The Warrenton Warriors struck early and often in their convincing win over conference foe St. Charles West Thursday night. 

Warrenton (5-0, 2-0 GAC North) cruised to a 53-14 win over St. …

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‘Spectacular’ first half keys Warrenton’s road win


The Warrenton Warriors struck early and often in their convincing win over conference foe St. Charles West Thursday night. 

Warrenton (5-0, 2-0 GAC North) cruised to a 53-14 win over St. Charles West Thursday night. Warrenton scored less than one minute into the game and led 46-7 at halftime. 

“We got to halftime and I told the guys that was the best possible scenario it could have been,” Warrenton head football coach Jason Koper said. “They played absolutely spectacular. It’s probably one of the best offensive halves in football I’ve had the privilege of coaching. We executed absolutely flawlessly.”

Koper also credited the strong play of the Warrior defense and special teams. 

Warrenton needed just one offensive play to get down to the 1-yard line. Warrenton took over at their own 42-yard line after the opening kickoff. Charlie Blondin connected with Austin Haas on a 57-yard pass on the opening play.

“Good call by the coaches,” Haas said. “I mean, they called the first play… We came out in empty motion to it and then I played a lot of slot last year. So it helped out and then, yeah, so saw the missed coverage by them and it worked out, got down at the one and punched it in.”

Haas scored his first touchdown of the day on a 1-yard touchdown run on second down. 

The St. Charles West offense drove into the red zone on their opening drive. The Warrenton defense stopped St. Charles West one yard short of the first down at the 8-yard line to regain possession of the ball. 

“It’s crazy that we just expect our defense to make plays like that and they do every single time this year. Our defense is just phenomenal,” Koper said. 

Haas took the first play of the ensuing drive 92 yards for a touchdown to put Warrenton up 12-0. 

“It was great. Had a little stutter step and then had made one guy miss,” Haas said. “And then the line, I mean, pretty good hole. I mean, I had my receivers blocking, I had everybody blocking and outran some people and made it happen.”

Warrenton scored five more touchdowns in the opening half to lead 46-0 with just under five minutes remaining in the opening half. Chance McPike and Mason Thompson hauled in touchdown passes from Blondin. Haas added three more rushing touchdowns. 

“Our offensive line, I don’t give them enough credit,” Koper said. “But they have really made the biggest jump for our team this year and the holes that they opened up, the time that Charlie had. It was remarkable and I just couldn’t be more proud of those guys.”

Warrenton took a 46-7 lead into halftime, triggering a running clock for the entire second half. The Warriors extended their lead over St. Charles West on Brandon Johnson’s interception on St. Charles West’s first drive of the half. Johnson returned the interception for a touchdown to put Warrenton ahead 53-7.

“During film, we had seen the running backs leak out,” Johnson said. “I knew they were going to leak out sometimes because nothing else is open. And me and I think Joe was on it. He threw it, I don’t know why and was just to the end zone.”

Haas led the Warrenton offense with 286 yards from scrimmage. He had 13 carries and rushed for 222 yards. He caught two passes for 64 yards. Thompson caught two passes for 60 yards. Blondin went 9-12 passing for 189 yards and two touchdowns. Kadin Stroer led Warrenton with six solo tackles and six tackles assists. Cole Meyer added five solo tackles and four tackle assists. Meyer and Jack White each recovered one fumble. Treyvian Guthrie had two sacks.

With the win over the defending conference champions, Warrenton moved to 2-0 in the GAC North. They also vaulted into the top-10 in the Class 4 Missouri football media rankings. Warrenton is ranked No. 10 in Class 4. 

“For me, the biggest thing was to just play four complete quarters,” Koper said. “And we did that. And anything else for me is kind of just a bonus. But I was just glad to have us play four complete quarters and execute really well. And you know, the scoreboard obviously helps the mentality for them. But for me, I look at the execution more than anything else. It was great and that’s what we want.”

Warrenton is slated to host Union in a non-conference matchup Friday. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Warrenton High School.