Warrenton beats Winfield, will play for conference title Friday

By John Rohlf, Sports Editor
Posted 10/11/23

Warrenton scored three  touchdowns in the final six minutes of the second quarter to take control of Friday night’s GAC North clash. 

Warrenton (7-0, 3-0 GAC North) beat Winfield …

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Warrenton beats Winfield, will play for conference title Friday


Warrenton scored three  touchdowns in the final six minutes of the second quarter to take control of Friday night’s GAC North clash. 

Warrenton (7-0, 3-0 GAC North) beat Winfield 42-6 Friday night to remain unbeaten and set up a clash with Orchard Farm this week for the conference championship. 

“Overall, I was, gotta go back and look at the film, not very pleased with the performance,” Warrenton Head Coach Jason Koper said. “We didn’t play as well as what we have the last several weeks. We didn’t have a lot of fire but it’s a good win…It’s hard to complain about that. But I feel like, at halftime, we had more questions than answers about our performance. So I want to clean that up. I want to break down the film and really evaluate that.”

Warrenton took the lead on their second offensive drive of the first quarter. Quarterback Charlie Blondin connected with Mason Thompson on a 36-yard touchdown pass with just under four minutes remaining in the opening quarter. Blondin finished the game with 239 yards passing. Thompson had a team-leading four receptions for 87 yards. 

After Blondin scored on a 4-yard touchdown run with just under six minutes remaining in the second quarter, Warrenton cashed in on a pair of interceptions to take a four touchdown lead into halftime. Austin Haas, who finished the game with 123 yards rushing and three rushing touchdowns, scored his first touchdown of the game after Joe Goldsmith’s 54-yard interception return to the Winfield 10-yard line. 

“They had trips left, I think it was and I saw it all game,” Goldsmith said. “They had two crossers coming over the middle and I saw the third receiver doing a post and I just read it perfectly and picked it off.”

Warrenton narrowly avoided running out of time at the end of the first half to take a 28-0 lead. With five seconds remaining, Warrenton had the ball on the Winfield 1-yard line. The Warriors fumbled the ball but were able to recover the ball and take a timeout with one second remaining. Haas scored on a 2-yard touchdown run to give Warrenton the 28-0 lead. 

Brandon Johnson’s interception deep in Warrenton territory gave the Warriors the ball back with a chance to score late in the half. 

“Brandon shouldn’t have had to be in that position to make the pick, but we missed a tackle to play before to give him a first down,” Koper said. “So proud of the big plays. But like I said, we just got to clean up those mistakes. We made too many of them tonight.”

Warrenton added a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter on touchdown runs after long passes. Peyton Dawson hauled in a 47-yard swing pass to put Warrenton deep in Winfield territory. Joe Goldsmith finished off the Warrenton drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. The touchdown was Goldsmith’s first offensive touchdown since the 2021 season. Goldsmith missed all of last season with a knee injury and was cleared to play offense starting in Week 6. 

“I’ve come through a lot of adversity to play running back and football in general,” Goldsmith said. “It just feels good.”

Koper said his highlight of the night was Goldsmith’s rushing touchdown, along with the second quarter interceptions. He said the touchdown was a testament to Goldsmith’s “character and resilience to keep battling through.”

Koper stressed they are trying to work Goldsmith back into the lineup more slowly than Goldsmith wants. 

“He’s ready to go play two ways and get 120 plays a game,” Koper said. “As a coaching staff, he’s too valuable to us. We don’t want to jeopardize him. We don’t want to put him in a position where he could get injured. So we’re trying to ease him back into it and hopefully get him 10,15 reps here and there. And then, as we get the more critical games looking into next week, hopefully playing for the conference championship title here, we would like to see him out there more.”

Warrenton added their sixth touchdown of the game on Haas’ 7-yard touchdown run with just under three minutes remaining in the third quarter. Blondin connected with Peth on a pass to put Warrenton on the 7-yard line. Peth led Warrenton with 97 receiving yards in the win. 

The Warrenton defense held Winfield scoreless until the final play of the game, when Conner Martin scored on a 31-yard touchdown run. 

Javon Jones and Jacob Ruff each had two sacks to lead the Warrenton pass rush. Warrenton registered nine sacks as a team. Jones led the Warriors with eight solo tackles. 

Warrenton will travel to Orchard Farm (6-1, 3-0 GAC North) in a matchup to determine the GAC North champion. Warrenton earned a 35-25 win over Orchard Farm last season. 

Koper said Orchard Farm is a “very good football team.” He noted their defense has some of the same type of numbers put up by the Warrenton defense. He added they have “one of the better running backs” Warrenton will have faced this season. 

“We’re going to have to take it up another notch for sure,” Koper said. “And that’s going to start with coaches. We’re going to prepare them better. We’re going to be harder. I told them we get into next week and there’s going to be zero excuses, no tolerance for nonsense. We’re going to get back to the physical, tough football team and the mentality we had going into weeks one, two and three. We’re going to get back to it and the guys will respond. They’ve done it all year. So, I’ve got the utmost confidence that they’ll respond to that.”

Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. Friday at Orchard Farm High School.