Mustangs pull rank on Lions in title tilt
Posted: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 12:02 pm
By KEVIN WEAKS
Classification didn’t matter. Rankings did.
Playing for the same championship of the regular season but headed to different brackets when the postseason begins, Huntingdon’s No. 1 turned out to be better than Dresden’s No. 5.
The Mustangs capped an unbeaten regular season and won the District 13A title with a dominant 42-13 win over the Lions Thursday night at Rotary Field in Dresden.
“We got beat by a better team,” Dresden head coach Scott Hewett said. “It was obvious. It’s the same thing I told the kids. You have nothing to be ashamed of when you get beat by a team that’s better than you. That happened tonight.”
Huntingdon improves to 10-0, its first unbeaten regular season since 1975, while Dresden falls to 8-2. The Ponies are one of two automatic qualifiers from 13A for the playoffs and head off to the Class 1A bracket.
Dresden, finishing behind Huntingdon and McKenzie, gets an at-large bid to the Class 2A state playoffs.
Huntingdon came in as the top-ranked 1A team in the state and proved worthy of that title with a brutal ground attack that was good for every one of the team’s 396 total yards on the night.
Quarterback Tyler War-britton was the leader of the tight double-wing set, carrying 17 times for 174 yards and four touchdowns. Corbin Jordan added 62 yards and a score, Torey Watson carried 13 times for 55 yards and Jamal Currie capped the scoring with a 67-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
But, despite all that, Dresden was showing in the first half that its No. 5 rank in the Class 2A poll was well-earned, too.
Using its own strong ground game that moved down the field in small increments, the Lions followed up Huntingdon’s game-opening scoring drive with a methodical march to the end zone.
With quarterback Gatlin Hatchel keeping seven times for 28 yards, Dresden moved 63 yards on 16 plays for a touchdown to pull within 7-6 with 37.5 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
No play in the drive went for more than seven yards, Hatchel and Eric VanDyke each having a rush attempt for that amount. The drive ended, ironically, on a pass as Hatchel hit Colin Kanehl with a short fade to the right side of the end zone, the TD play covering four yards.
“We started running the ball and ran it well,” Hewett said. “I thought we would be able to set up the run with the pass, but we were having success running the ball early so we stayed with it.”
Huntingdon scored midway through the second quarter and then intercepted a pass deep in its own territory to thwart another potential Lion scoring drive, sending the game into intermission with Huntingdon holding onto a 14-6 lead. The Ponies’ TDs came on runs of six yards by Warbritton at 9:07 of the first and two yards by Jordan at 5:19 of the second.
A big-play defense and opportunistic defense helped the Ponies double their point total by the midway point of the third.
The Warbritton brothers, Tyler and Jacob, each had interceptions in the early minutes of the third, and both set up scores as Huntingdon pushed its lead to 28-6.
Jacob Warbritton came up with the first turnover, setting up a 52-yard scoring drive that Tyler finished with a one-yard run at 8:18. The QB also had a 40-yard run in the drive.
Tyler Warbritton then ended Dresden’s next drive with a pick-off and scored two plays later on a five-yard run at 5:58.
Huntingdon’s signal-caller scored on a six-yard run at 9:02 of the fourth, and after the Mustangs held on fourth down, Currie raced 67 yards for the final Huntingdon score at 3:45.
“We stated making mistakes, and once that happened, we started to collapse,” Hewett said. “It started with a turnover, then we had a stupid personal foul penalty when we picked up a first down. When that stuff happens, you have to rise up.”
Dresden ended on a high note when Colter Swafford followed Currie’s big play by taking the ensuing kick for a TD at 3:31. Published in The WCP 11.1.11