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Warrior Run overcomes first-half turnovers to top CMVT, likely clinch final D4 3A playoff spot

Written by: on Saturday, October 27th, 2018. Follow Matt Beltz on Twitter.


TURBOTVILLE – Close but not quite enough. That, along with missed opportunities, has, unfortunately for them, been one of the themes of Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech’s 2018 season.

It was again the theme in Week 10, and although it took until the fourth quarter, Warrior Run was the beneficiary as the Defenders scored three touchdowns, including two off CMVT turnovers to break open what was a scoreless game after three quarters, and top CMVT 22-6. The win likely clinches the final playoff spot in District 4 Class 3A for Warrior Run, and a trip to either Danville or Montoursville, although final official power rankings and playoff matchups won’t be available until later in the weekend.

The loss could mean the end to CMVT’s season, as it had entered Friday’s game points behind Shikellamy for the final playoff spot in District 4 Class 4A despite having two more wins on the season. Shikellamy also lost on Friday to a 3A team in Milton, so either way, it will likely come down to just a few percentage points as to which team earns the right to play on the road at what will likely be top-seeded Jersey Shore next week.

“I think we eventually wore them down with the run game,” said Warrior Run coach Chris Long, whose team team outrushed CMVT 256-138. “Early on, we had drives and fumbled the ball away so that was back breaking in the first half but we finally got it going in the fourth quarter.”

After giving away fumbles on three straight drives in the first half, including one at the goal line, Warrior Run held onto the ball in the second half, and was able to take advantage of both of CMVT’s second half turnovers. That contrasted the Rams, which were unable to convert any of their three takeaways into points.

We battled the whole game but just make too many mistakes especially in the first half.,” said CMVT coach Mark Varner. “I’m certainly not upset with how we played, they fought to the end, we came back but just fell a little short.

“Our first three games we had leads in the fourth quarter and things like fumbles and offsides and penalties killed our drives and the same things happened tonight. That’s been the theme of this season but the other theme is we’ve been there to battle. There have been other seasons where at halftime, we’re in the mercy rule and have nothing to play for in the second half so I’m proud of them.”

The Defenders took over at their own 37 late in the third quarter after recovering a fumble that came on a muffed snap. They then put together a nine-play, 63-yard drive capped by a Denver Beachel 7-yard touchdown run to finally break the scoreless tie with 8:30 remaining in the game. Beachel, who finished 83 yards on 18 carries while seeing snaps at running back, receiver and quarterback, also completed a 24-yard wide receiver screen pass to Nathan Michael one a 3rd-and-9 to extend the drive.

The Rams answered right back as Cole Simpler found Michael Starr for a 50-yard touchdown pass down the left sideline on just the fifth play of CMVT’s ensuing drive. The two-point conversion failed, however, when Jake Shotwell was stuffed just shy of the goal line.

Warrior Run then countered with a 52-yard touchdown run by Hoyt Bower on the first play from scrimmage of their next drive after they recovered an onside kick by the Rams to go up 14-6. Bower finished with 106 yards on just seven carries, all in the second half.

“We’ve been working on our run game very hard in practice so it was good to finally see that go,” said Long. “Hoyt ran really hard. He’s one of our faster kids and we’ve been trying to figure out where to use him appropriately and we hit on some stuff tonight that they were giving us that some other teams haven’t given us in the past. He’s naturally fast and is a good athlete.”

On CMVT’s next drive, Beachel picked off a Simpler pass near midfield and returned it to the CMVT 31, and two plays later, broke off a 28-yard touchdown run for his second score of the night to put the game away.

One of the reasons that CMVT was unable to take advantage of Warrior Run’s three first half turnovers was due to it going 1-of-5 on fourth down conversions. The Rams’ first drive of the game, which was started after a 42-yard return on the opening kickoff by Shotwell, stalled on a 4th-and-3 from the Warrior Run 19 as Ty Babb was stuffed for a six-yard loss.

Warrior Run’s first lost fumble came with 4:21 left in the first quarter, but CMVT gave it right back just three plays later with a fumble of their own. The Defenders then coughed it up on their goal line on their next possession, and the Rams were unable to make it even to midfield and were forced to punt.

The Defenders then fumbled it away on their third straight possession with 6:57 left in the second quarter at their own 35. The Rams took over and after converting on a nicely-executed fake punt to extend the drive, stalled at the Defender 7 after being stuffed for a one-yard loss on another 4th-and-3 play.

“We battled the whole game but just make too many mistakes especially in the first half,” said Varner. “That first drive we need to put that in when we had the momentum and then after the fake punt we needed to put that score in,” said Varner. “If we put those two scores in, it’s a different ballgame. We left them in the game and that’s something we did a little too much this year. We’ve let teams in the game and then one letdown or mistake really hurts us.”

Warrior Run 22, Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech 6
CMVT (3-7)               0    0    0   6  –  6
Warrior Run (3-7)      0    0    0  22 – 22

Fourth quarter
8:30 – (WR) Denver Beachel 7-yard run (Beachel kick), 9-63, 4:26
5:46 – (VT) Michael Starr 50-yard pass from Cole Simpler (run failed), 5-65, 2:44
5:35 – (WR) Hoyt Bower 52-yard run (Beachel kick), 1-52, :11
2:57 – (WR) Denver Beachel 28-yard run (Beachel run), 2-31, :50

VT                    WR
First downs                                 10                     14
Rushes-net yards                    45-138             37-256
Passing yardage                        98                     43
Passing                                   4-8-1-1             2-6-0-0
Fumbles-lost                             3-2                    3-3
Penalties-yards                        7-50                  5-35

RUSHING: CMVT: Mekhi Mundrick (19-69), Jake Shotwell (15-40), Ty Babb (6-31), Cole Simpler (4-(-2)), Ed Early (1-0); Warrior Run: Denver Beachel (18-83-2), Hoyt Bower (7-106-1), Pete Reasner (7-69), David Gearhart (4-10), Corderman Remington (1-(-12))

PASSING: CMVT: Cole Simpler (4-8-98-1-1); Warrior Run: Corderman Remington (1-4-19-0-0), Denver Beachel (1-2-24-0-0)

RECEIVING: CMVT: Michael Starr (3-91), Mekhi Mundrick (1-7); Warrior Run: Nathan Michael (1-24), Ahmahd Keyes (1-19)

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