By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
There's an old adage in football at any level that defense wins championships.
The Concord Minutemen needed every bit of that adage to overcome four turnovers, including two on their very first two plays from scrimmage, in a 34-9 win over the Warsaw Tigers to clinch a share of the NLC title.
“It’s a tribute to our defense,” Concord coach Tim Dawson said. “We knew what Warsaw wanted to do. Coach (Brad) Myers and his defensive staff had a great game plan.”
It’s the third straight NLC championship for the Minutemen, something that has never been done in school history before.
The Minutemen lost the ball on fumbles giving the Tigers the ball at the Concord 25 and the Concord 29 the first two times Concord touched the ball.
“It’s not like us to turn the ball over like that,” Dawson said. “We were lucky not to be down 14-0.
“Our offense struggled in the first half. But I think we turned it around in the second half.”
The Tigers scored off the second turnover when junior tailback Tristan McClone scored on a 1-yard run.
Concord turned the tide in their favor in the second with a pair of TDs to take a 14-7 halftime lead. Junior quarterback Trevor Wilmore scored on a 20-yard run at 10:43 and junior wide receiver Adam Glanders caught a 21-yard scoring pass from Wilmore at 7:15.
Glanders caught a second TD from Wilmore at 11:37 of the third to put the Minutemen up 21-7,
Glanders had a great night snaring nine passes for a total of 132 yards. He had six catches for 96 yards in the opening half.
Wilmore had a productive night running the Concord offense. He was the team’s leading rusher with an even 100 yards on 14 carries. He scored his second TD of the contest on a 2-yard run at 9:08 of the fourth quarter.
Wilmore completed 13-of-31 passes for 202 yards.
“Wilmore had a good night,” Dawson said. “He had a good game throwing the ball and I’m sure he was our leading rusher again.”
Junior Larry Smith added an insurance TD for the Minutemen with a 38-yard run with 4:49 left to play.
Special teams played a big role for the Minutemen and sophomore Jerrell Pointdexter had a hand in that. He blocked a punt in the second period that set up Concord’s first TD and a Warsaw field goal attempt later in the period.
“We use him on special teams because he is so fast,” Dawson said. “We felt going into the game we had a chance to block a kick.”
If that was enough on special teams for Pointdexter, he returned the second-half kickoff 30 yards to the Warsaw 45 setting up Concord’s first score of the second half.
The second half nearly began like the first for Concord. Wilmore was in the shotgun formation and the center snap was low and the ball was laying on the ground. This time, however, instead of the Tigers recovering the ball Wilmore scooped it up and broke through the Warsaw defense for 40 yards to the Warsaw 5. On the next play, Wilmore tossed a 5-yard TD to Glanders.