By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Tim Dawson got a double Gatorade shower Friday night and despite the chilly temperature the veteran coach didn’t mind one bit.
The Concord Minutemen got off to a fast start and blanked the Warsaw Tigers, 28-0, at Jake Field to capture the program’s fourth straight NLC title.
“I’m proud of the kids,” the coach said. “I told them before the game to go out and create some memories that will last a lifetime. That is just what they did. To win four titles in a row in the NLC says something.”
Concord set the tone early. Warsaw won the toss and deferred their choice to the second half. The Minutemen took the ball and senior Chris Martin returned the opening kickoff 58 yards to the W-40.
“That set the tone,’ Dawson said.
Concord moved the ball and scored in six plays as senior quarterback Trevor Wilmore sprinted the final 17 yards for a touchdown at 9:30 of the first period.
The Warsaw offense took the ball at their own 21 and marched all the way to the C-15 before turning the ball over. An attempted pass to the running back was ruled a lateral and Concord senior Nick DeFreese scooped the ball up and returned it to midfield. The Minutemen couldn’t capitalize on the turnover and turned the ball over to the Tigers on downs at the W-32.
“I wondered in that first drive if we were going to have trouble stopping No. 20 (Warsaw senior tailback Tristan McClone),” Dawson said. “Our kids were smart enough to recognize the play and pick the ball up, The defense helped get the momentum back on our side.”
Concord’s Strike Force defense and the special teams really got the momentum back for the Minutemen in the second quarter as the Minutemen scored a pair of TDs in the span of :23.
Senior linebacker Jake Kronk started it off when he intercepted a Warsaw pass and returned it 63 for a score with 1:48 left before halftime. The Tigers fumbled the ensuing kickoff and senior Brendan Smith recovered for the Minutemen at the W-24, Following an incomplete pass on first down junior Jerrell Pointdexter sprinted around the corner for a 24-ayrd TD run to give Concord a 21-0 halftime advantage.
“I was an awesome feeling to score,” Kronk said. “I’ve done it before ,but I think the second time is even more exciting. I have to give a hand to my teammates for the blocking.
“It’s awesome to win the conference again. This time I get to celebrate with my senior teammates and the younger ones on the team get a taste of what it’s like.”
The Pointdexter scoring play was the end of the night for Wilmore as he injured his leg and sat out the second half.
“He should be fine. The trainer said it was not a knee,” Dawson said. “His leg just stiffened up. We are hoping it’s just going to a nasty bruise.
Concord (7-2, 6-1 NLC) has a week off before hosting Elkhart Memorial on Friday, Nov. 1 in the Class 5A sectional.
“We have a lot of guys banged up so the week off is a good thing,” the coach said.
With Wilmore out of action junior Cullen Fisher became the “Next Man In” for the Minutemen. He responded by rushing the ball eight times for 22 yards and completing 3-of-6 passes for 58 yards,
He guided the team to a third-period score following an interception by DeFreese that he returned to the W-29. Senior Jackson Marlow capped the drive with a 1-yard TD at 1:33 of the third.
Concord’s defense held McClone to 62 yards on 18 carries.