Chargers’ Bag Tigers 36-0 for section title
HUNTERTOWN – Braden Steely, a second Carroll Chargers kick returner, returned Mason Smythe’s opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown using a perfectly executed wall on the touchline left. The hosts have never looked back, ruling out the Warsaw Tigers 36-0 to win one of 48 sectional championship trophies awarded this weekend among Indiana’s six football classes.
The Tigers believed they circled Steely around the Chargers’ 25-yard line before things fell apart early in the evening’s action.
“We had guys out of the lanes, and from there it goes down,” Warsaw coach Bart Curtis said. “We dropped the ball when we had a good practice. It did not work in our opinion. Very disappointing that we went out and played like this.
The errors cited by Curtis put the Tigers behind 29-0 at halftime, and Carroll had only one goal scored from their side of the field, but still found a rematch when the State of South Dakota hired Jeff Becker ran 65 yards on a quarterback with 52.9 ticking on the clock.
“It was a draw,” Curtis noted. “Our supporters came out to cover the pass. He found the seam.
Becker, who threw for 228 yards in last year’s 42-35 playoff loss to Warsaw, has been a nuisance on the field this year, gaining 131 yards on nine carries with three touchdown passes (one yard, 65 yards, 13 yards).
Accuracy was more of an issue this year. Becker connected on five of 15 attempted passes for 59 yards and a touchdown pass to AJ Lazoff with 7:12 left in the first half.
The Tigers, who were scored in six of Charger’s seven important possessions for the game, put Carroll in a position where they didn’t need to make long runs for a score. Warsaw’s first four possessions ended with a fumble, a bad kick resulting in a 19-yard loss, another fumble and a turnaround on the downs.
Warsaw fans are used to seeing their team perform such brutal offensive efficiency, but that didn’t happen last night in Huntertown. The Tigers have had their first shutout since Curtis took over the program in 2018.
Warsaw limited its hosts to 58 second-half yards and one touchdown, while the Oranges and Blacks rushed for 125 yards in the same two periods.
The Tigers remarkably conceded 16 first tries against the Chargers’ eight, but Warsaw spent the evening getting in its way.
“We came out in the second half and we fought like mad on both sides of the ball,” said Curtis. “You can’t give up a kick return for a touchdown and grope the ball three times and expect to win.”
“Bad things happened so quickly,” Curtis continued. “We didn’t react very well. We’re kinda wide eyed, and it’s my fault. I have to prepare my children for this kind of scenario ”
The Tigers ended their 2021 campaign with a 7-3 overall record, including six straight wins before two straight losses to Concord and the Chargers last night. Warsaw had two back-to-back trophy matches (conference, section), but couldn’t finish well enough to hoist the material at the end of either of those matches.
“I am proud of the children. The season didn’t end the last two games as I had hoped, ”Curtis said of this year’s campaign. “It was a little disappointing, especially with the start we had for most of the year.”
“I hope the seniors can learn from football that they are a better person,” said Curtis. “I certainly enjoyed training them. “
Julius Jones, who got most of his reps on the B-back last night, had 101 yards on 24 carries. Tucker Curtis added 62 yards on 15 totes. Jace Sawyer (17 cars. 49 yards) and Bryson Brown (4 cars. 20 yards) completed Warsaw’s offensive outing. They didn’t make a pass in seven attempts.