WARREN, Pa. – Warren head football coach Mark Morelli indicated that the Dragons’ defensive line was going to be a team strength heading into the 2021 campaign.
If Friday’s season opener against Region 5 foe Conneaut is any indication, that unit, along with the rest of the Warren defense is going to be a force to reckoned with after a 33-0 blanking of the Eagles.
“I thought we would do well, but not quite that well,” Morelli said. “I think in my five years at Warren, that’s only the second shutout we’ve had. We got a glimpse of what the defense could do in the scrimmage against Bradford. Tonight, they took it to another level.
“The front line just dominated them. I was really pleased with the way they performed and the way they played and executed liked they hoped we would.”
That front line includes the likes of Easton Hultberg, Alan McAllister, Justice Greene and Tristan Dolan.
And as much as they were the story, the offense shined as well.
Sophomore Eric Dippold stepped in for an inured Landon Douvlos at quarterback and threw a pair of touchdown passes to senior Ben White, while also rushing for a score.
That 1-yard plunge by Dippold got the Dragons on the board in the first quarter to make it 6-0.
“I thought Dippold looked like a seasoned veteran playing quarterback,” Morelli said. “I think the team, as the game went on, got more and more confidence. Eric didn’t crack under the pressure as a sophomore. He handled the whole week with a lot of poise, he absorbed what we were telling him, stuck to the game plan and didn’t get rattled.”
The speedy White hauled in touchdown passes of 33 and 42 yards, while Tommy Nyquist and Ethan Senz carried the rushing attack.
Nyquist scored on a 2-yard run in the second quarter that, coupled with the 2-point conversion, made it 20-0 Dragons. He finished with 100 yards on the ground on 23 carries, while Senz had 11 carries for 68 yards and a 20-yard fourth-quarter touchdown.
“You always hoped the first game, you’re functioning in the same direction and fortunately tonight we did,” Morelli said. “Credit to the kids, all the hard work they put in during the summer, focusing on football and playing the game the way the coaching staff has pushed them to play all summer. The most important thing that I saw is that we rotated a lot of kids, a lot of kids got playing time and played well.”
Defensively, the Dragons limited the Eagles to just 100 yards of total offense.
They’ve now won five in a row dating back to last season and will look to carry that momentum into next week’s game with Harbor Creek.
“I told them to enjoy this one because the road continues to get harder,” Morelli said. “We have to build off tonight. Harbor Creek is going to be a pretty stern test next week for us.”
Warren 33, Conneaut 0
Conneaut 0 0 0 0 — 0
Warren 6 14 0 13 — 33
W-Eric Dippold 1 run, 1:55 (run fails)
W-Ben White 33 pass from Dippold, 6:27 (pass fails)
W-Tommy Nyquist 2 run, 2:37(Justice Greene pass from Dippold)
W-White 42 pass from Dippold, 10:39 (Ethan Senz kick)
W-Senz 20 run, 5:21 (kick fails)
Rush-Nyquist 23-100, TD; Senz 11-68, TD; Sam Harvey 1-6; Dippold 3-1, TD; Carter Pascuzzi 1-(-1).
Pass-Dippold 7 of 13 for 122 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT.
Receive-White 2-75, 2TD; Gage Shaffer 3-30; Senz 1-12; Nyquist 1-5.
Rush-Logan Groover 16-49; Braden Groover 5-(-9), Ethan Stright 10-4; Rayge Michaud 1-2, Dylan Lehmann 2-13.
Passing-L.Groover 2 for 13 for 41 yards, 2 INT.
Receiving-Michaud 1-32; Stright 1-9.