SYRACUSE — Wawasee took down Goshen in the battle of the Warhawk trophy, 37-21.
The Warriors overcame a late RedHawks comeback to finish the regular season 3-6, as Goshen fell to 1-5.
The RedHawks opened up the scoring on the very first play from scrimmage with a 70-yard rollout flea flicker touchdown pass from Quinn Bechtel to Noah Alford at the 11:47 mark of the first quarter, putting the RedHawks up 7-0 with the kick by Alex Olguin Castillo.
After a quick three and out, the Warriors defense held up, and on the ensuing drive, Wawasee quarterback Parker Young scrambled to his right out of the pocket and took off down the sideline for a 22-yard score with 7:16 left in the first. The Warriors attempted a fake-kick 2-point conversion but failed, making the score 7-6 in favor of the RedHawks.
“It was a well-executed play,” Goshen head coach Kyle Park said. “It paid off and it was really a great throw.”
On the kickoff following Young’s scramble score, the RedHawks fumbled, and the Warriors recovered at the Goshen 35-yard line.
Following an 11-yard sweep, Nathan Larson punched the ball in from the four yard line to make it 12-7. The Warriors then went for two and converted on a shovel pass from Young to Kameron Zalzar, putting Wawasee up 14-7 at the 4:37 mark of the first quarter.
Following a Wawasee punt that backed the RedHawks up to their own 1-yard line, defensive lineman Haegan Slusher broke through the RedHawk line and forced Goshen quarterback Colin Turner to throw the ball out of bounds. With no receivers in the area, the play resulted in an intentional grounding penalty, which lead to a safety, putting the Warriors up 16-7 with 1:17 remaining in the first.
At the end of the first, the Warriors were up 16-7.
The special teams miscues continued for the RedHawks as a poor snap sailed over a Goshen punter’s head, resulting in a turnover on downs.
The Warriors took advantage of the good field position and quickly marched down the field scoring on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Young to tight end Zach Smith at 1:41 of the second quarter. A kick made by Caleb Clevinger put the Warriors up 23-7.
Wawasee’s defense held on the ensuing drive, and went into the half with the lead, 23-7.
Park was unhappy with his offensive line in the first half, citing defenders running free on nearly every play.
“We can throw the ball when we have protection,” Park said. “I really thought we had pass protection cleaned up.”
The Warriors scored 23 unanswered following Goshen’s opening play score.
Young was impressive on the Warriors’ opening drive to start the second half with a pair of first down scrambles and a 20-yard completion. Following a RedHawks pass interference penalty, Dominic Blair punched the ball in from the 1-yard line. A kick by Clevinger put the Warriors up 30-7 with 5:43 remaining in the third quarter.
Following a Goshen three and out, Wawasee avoided a three and out of their own with a 26-yard completion to Adam Beer. The Warriors picked up 10 more yards on Goshen’s second pass interference penalty of the game, but were stopped at the Goshen 19-yard line. The Warriors’ kick attempt by Clevinger was no good.
The RedHawks following drive started off at the 19, and following a clutch 3rd down and long conversion, Turner hit Betchtel for a 42-yard score with 9:45 remaining in the fourth. Turner completed the 2-point attempt to make it 30-15 in favor of the Warriors.
After an offensive three and out, the Wawasee defense held up at midfield with a 4th-down sack, forcing a turnover on downs.
The Warriors’ drive went nowhere, and the Goshen passing attack took over, with Turner guiding the RedHawks to the Wawasee 17 on a series of intermediate completions. Betchtel then came out of the backfield, took a swing pass from a Turner, and cut upfield for the score at the 3:57 mark of the 4th. The extra point snap was fumbled and the kick was no good, making it 30-21 in favor of Wawasee.
With the RedHawks backed up against their one end zone, Turner was intercepted by Kameron Salazar with 1:45 remaining, and Salazar returned it for the score to seal the Warriors win. Clevinger’s kick was good, making it 37-21.
Park said he was happy with his team’s performance despite the loss.
“I’m proud of the effort that they came out with in the second half,” he said. “There wasn’t a lot of positives other than the first play in the first half. They came back out and they fought until the end.”
Following a quick four and out, the Warriors took the victory formation to run out the clock and come out with the win, 37-21.
WAWASEE 37, GOSHEN 21
Wawasee: 16 7 7
Goshen: 7 0 0
G – (11:47) Zach Smith 70 yards from Jason Meek; kick Alex Olguin Castillo
W – (7:16) Parker Young 22 yard run; failed 2-point conversion
W – (4:37) Nathan Larson four yard run; two point conversion successful
W – (1:17) Saftey; Goshen penalized for intentional grounding in the end zone, rush by Haegan Slusher
W – (1:41) Zach Smith 3 yards from Parker Young; kick made by Caleb Clevinger
W – (5:43) Dominic Blair one yard run; kick made by Clevinger
G – (9:45) Quinn Betchtel 42 yards from Colin Turner; two point conversion pass from turner to Alford was good
G – (3:57) Betchtel 17 yards from Turner; extra point fumbled, no good.
W – (1:45) Interception: Turner intercepted by Salazar, retuned for the touchdown. Kick good by Clevinger