A 54-yard touchdown pass from Charlie Blondin to Austin Haas and a defensive stop to end the first half turned the tide in Warrenton’s GAC North conference championship clinching win over …
A 54-yard touchdown pass from Charlie Blondin to Austin Haas and a defensive stop to end the first half turned the tide in Warrenton’s GAC North conference championship clinching win over Orchard Farm last week.
Warrenton (8-0, 4-0 GAC North) won their first outright conference championship since 1995 with a 42-19 win over Orchard Farm (6-2, 3-1 GAC North). Warrenton most recently earned shares of the conference championship in 2017 and 2020.
“I thought going into this year, we would have a good chance to win a conference championship,” Warrenton head coach Jason Koper said. “And we didn’t really talk a lot about goals this year. Our goal was one game at a time and I think we’ve really played with that mentality.”
After Warrenton’s first drive stalled on Austin Haas’ fumble, the Warrior defense stopped Orchard Farm on fourth down to regain possession of the ball. Haas rushed for a pair of touchdowns later in the half to put Warrenton up 13-0 with under eight minutes left in the first half. Orchard Farm responded with a pair of touchdowns to tie the game with 3:28 remaining in the half.
After Warrenton converted a first down to open the ensuing drive, Blondin connected with Haas on a 54-yard touchdown pass to help Warrenton regain the lead. Haas converted the two-point conversion to put Warrenton up 21-13.
“Hats off to Charlie,” Haas said. “He called that one. I’m not gonna lie. I look at him and he’s like fake it and go to the seam. I’m like, all right, let’s do it. And I look back and I don’t see him and the next thing I knew, I see the ball. So it was great. I mean, good call on him and that was amazing by Charlie.”
Orchard Farm threatened to erase Warrenton’s lead at the end of the half. They drove down to the 7-yard line before the Warrenton defense stopped Orchard Farm on four plays to take the lead into halftime.
“That’s a game changer really,” Haas said. “They stepped up when they needed to step up and they have all year.”
Warrenton extended their lead to 28-13 midway through the third quarter on Blondin’s 23-yard touchdown run near the right sideline. Warrenton led by at least two touchdowns the rest of the game.
Warrenton’s Javon Jones scored his first touchdown of the season early in the fourth quarter. Haas added his third rushing touchdown and fourth total touchdown later in the quarter.
Warrenton rushed for 361 yards in Friday night’s win. Haas carried the ball 34 times for 241 yards.
“We wanted to run the ball. That was kind of our game plan going into here,” Koper said. “We knew the field conditions were probably gonna be suspect at best, after rain. We believed that we could run the ball effectively. And, absolutely, they did. And that goes to our offensive line. I thought they played one of their best games, getting the push and so that was just executing our game plan.”
The Warrenton defense shut out Orchard Farm in the third quarter and only allowed one touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Warrior defense recorded eight sacks and forced multiple turnovers. Jones and Cole Meyer each registered multiple sacks. Joe Goldsmith and Brandon Johnson had interceptions.
“The big difference was our defensive line pressure and blitzes getting home,” Koper said. “And then making the tackles in the second half. It seemed like in the first half, we were right there. Just couldn’t finish them off.”
Warrenton will look to wrap up a perfect regular season with a home game against Mexico High School before beginning district tournament play the following week.
“Hopefully we can go get the win at home next week, which is senior night,” Haas said last week. “We’ve got to go do it for them seniors. So we got to go get it and then districts all in, we’re all ready for it.”
Kickoff for Friday night’s game is slated for 7 p.m. at Warrenton High School.