The numbers were not in the favor of the Warrenton football team last Friday, as both the temperature and the opponents’ roster count surpassed 90. This resulted in an insurmountable task for …
The numbers were not in the favor of the Warrenton football team last Friday, as both the temperature and the opponents’ roster count surpassed 90. This resulted in an insurmountable task for the Warriors’ sparse varsity lineup, which struggled to handle the heat during a 28-14 Week One setback at home against Liberty High School of Wentzville.
“I was very pleased with our effort,” said Jason Koper, making his debut as Warrenton head coach. “They played like Warriors. Even though we got tired, I never questioned our effort and that’s all you can ask for in a situation like this.”
Despite having only 22 players available, Warrenton remained tied with its opponent until the midway mark of the fourth quarter. But with quadruple the personnel, Liberty substituted its lineup every four to five plays, eventually capitalizing on the Warriors’ fatigue for the go-ahead touchdown.
“When we get that lead, we’ve got to be able to keep our guys in and finish that, because it was there for the taking on Friday,” said Koper. “We’ve got to execute better offensively. We had a few too many missed blocks and tackles and just weren’t able to finish out the game.”
The Warriors fell behind early, giving up a 30-yard touchdown after surrendering the ball on a fumble during the opening kickoff return.
They countered with a 23-yard scoring pass from senior quarterback Caelon Weir to junior Joe Goldsmith on the ensuing drive, putting Warrenton ahead 8-6 after a two-point conversion run by senior Issiah Jones.
Junior Colton Brosenne cushioned that lead by returning an interception 41 yards for a touchdown.
The game entered halftime in a 14-14 deadlock, after a Liberty running touchdown and two-point conversion.
“Execution in the first half was great,” said Koper. “The bulk of our yards came from the first quarter into the second. Once we got into the second half, we were dealing with cramps and injuries and just didn’t move the ball nearly as much.”
Neither team scored again until the 6:30 mark of the fourth period. Warrenton managed to stop the Eagles on a fourth and goal, but a fumble on the next possession put Liberty in prime position for the winning touchdown.
“They didn’t score a touchdown starting on their own side of the 50, which is very impressive to me,” said Koper. “That’s a very physical downhill team. To be able to make them punt and force fumbles with our low numbers — I was very pleased defensively.”
The Warriors were led defensively by Jones, with 14 total tackles, including nine solo. He also contributed 68 rushing yards on 15 carries.
Goldsmith added 12 total tackles, while freshman Carter Tittel stepped in to make 11 tackles.
“When we started having to put our freshman in, they did a great job,” said Koper. “We don’t have many upperclassmen on our roster right now.”
Offensively, Weir completed eight of 17 passes for 66 yards and had 14 yards on four carries.
Senior Joe Evans led the Warriors with five receptions for 31 yards.
Warrenton will travel to Troy this Friday for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
“Troy is going to be a very tough opponent,” said Koper. “In the past they’ve always been a true triple option team. Now they’re a spread shotgun style RPO (run-pass option) team. They’ve got great skill players and a solid line. It’s going to be a tough game for us.”