Warwick Strikes Early and Often For Eleventh Straight Victory Over Rival Ephrata
It’s hard to find a more tradition-rich rivalry in the Lancaster-Lebanon League than Warwick and Ephrata. The Mounts and Warriors, or Pretzels if we are going back that far, have been going up against each other since 1930 and in that time, the series has seen ebbs and flows between the two schools as they have battled it out for the George Male Trophy. For those that are just getting immersed into this rivalry however, all they have seen is Warwick domination in the form of the Warriors winning ten straight. When these two neighboring rivals matched up again Friday night in Lititz, the script didn’t stray much from its recent history.
Warwick wasted little time getting the offense cranked up. It took the Red and Black just 25 seconds to find the end zone as junior tailback Isaac Rissinger raced 53 yards to the house for the ultra-quick Warwick jab.
Following an Ephrata three and out, Warwick was in great shape again as they set up shop at the Ephrata 45 yard line. Sophomore running Nick Fucci got in the mix on the drive with runs of 11 yards and seven yards to keep Warwick’s offense in gear. Warwick sputtered slightly following two straight flags, but it didn’t seem to matter as quarterback Tyler Trimarchi eluded Mount defenders all the way home after he was flushed out of the pocket initially. Following the PAT, Warwick held at 14-0 advantage with 7:11 still left in the first.
Ephrata tried to garner some momentum on the ensuing kick in the form of a reverse, however a block in the back really put the Mounts behind the proverbial eight ball as they started in the shadows of their own goalposts at the ten. Ephrata was able to move the ball somewhat on the drive as displayed when Adam Smith picked up a first down on the ground, but Ephrata eventually had to punt when Hayden Rucci read the shovel pass perfectly to stop Ephrata’s play for a minimal gain.
Once again, Warwick had great field position following the Ephrata punt taking over at the Mount 43. Warwick used another quick score to get a third touchdown advantage as Trimarchi found Carter Forney along the sideline for a 35 TD connection to make it 21-0 Warriors with still 3:49 showing on the first quarter clock.
Following a trading of turnovers, first with Dakota Enck picking off an Ephrata pass, later followed by Dawson King scooping up a Warwick fumble, Ephrata found themselves in punt mode again as their drive after the fumble could not move the sticks.
Warwick was on the move again with Rissinger picking up 13 yards and Trimarchi finding Evan Popalis across the middle down to the Ephrata 24. Once there, Rissinger collected his second TD of the night as he juked his way in from 24 yards out to give Warwick a commanding 28-0 lead after the first quarter.
Warwick’s offense kept the pedal down as they scored the next time they touched it, aided by a long run by Fucci which set the Warwick offense up at Ephrata 10. From there, it was Jordan Cruz taking the bubble screen in for Warwick’s fifth TD of the half to make it 35-0.
The next two Warwick drives also yielded touchdowns as well before the half was complete. First came by way of Ryan Deibler ripping off a monster 80-yard run to take it down the Ephrata two-yard line which he capped off by going in standing up to make it 42-0.
The final score of the half was keyed by Carter Forney getting behind the secondary and hauling in a 26-yard pass to the Ephrata one yard line. Isaac Rissinger capped off this first half hat trick with his third TD to make it 48-0 Warriors going into the break.
Needless to say, the second half provided more bright spots for Ephrata than the game’s first twenty four minutes. Ephrata’s first drive resulted in points as the Mounts moved 65 yards down the field to crack the scoreboard. A pivotal play on the drive came when Tyler Mentzer picked up the first down on fourth & three to keep the drive alive. The drive was ultimately capped off when quarterback Brendan Holbritter found Alex Rummel for the Ephrata TD which made it a 48-7 Warwick lead.
Ephrata got the ball back once more after Daulton Fry got loose and collected a sack for the Mounts to end the next Warwick drive. The Mounts would hit paydirt once more as Holbritter scrambled to pick up a fourth & three for the Mounts as they were driving deep in Warwick territory with the fourth quarter underway. Holbritter’s efforts were rewarded as his sneak from one yard out allowed Ephrata to rattle off 14 straight points.
Warwick would have the final say on the scoreboard, literally and figuratively, as Ryan Deibler’s 30 yard touchdown closed the scoring, giving Warwick the emphatic 55-14 victory over Ephrata to keep the George Male Trophy inside the halls of WHS for the eleventh consecutive year.
NEXTUP: Warwick will ride their mojo of two straight victories, both of which were 50+ point performances, as they are the first to try and snap Wilson’s Lancaster Lebanon League Section 1 winning streak which dates back to 2007 at home in Lititz.
Ephrata will tangle with Cedar Crest in Cornwall in a game of Section 2 newbies. Cedar Crest comes down from Section 1, while Ephrata is making the transition back into Section 2 after spending the last two years in Section 3.
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