Warriors’ mistakes lead to first week setback

CHARGING AHEAD — Warrenton senior Nick Mertens plows through a pair of defensive players during the Warriors’ 34-6 loss to Wentzville Liberty Friday night. Mertens was one of eight Warriors to contribute to the ground game. Derrick Forsythe photo.
Derrick Forsythe
Staff Writer

In many ways, last Friday’s season opener was an initial opportunity for longtime Coach Steve McDowell to clearly assess his Warrenton football team. Void of all their usual camps and scrimmages against other schools, the 34-6 setback at Wentzville Liberty was the first time the Warriors had lined up against unfamiliar uniforms.

“This has been one of the weirdest summers we’ve had,” said McDowell. “This was the first real competition we’ve seen, and it revealed a lot about our team and what we need to work on. We made a lot of mistakes, and it cost us. We didn’t take care of many things we should have.”

Liberty imposed its will in the running game, scoring all of its touchdowns on the ground, while attempting just seven passes. Turnovers limited scoring in the first quarter, with Jackson Ward pushing the Eagles ahead 7-0 midway through the period with the first of his three touchdowns.

The Warriors’ attempt to create balance offensively was thwarted by turnovers, forcing them into a more one-dimensional approach.

“We missed some opportunities in the passing game and couldn’t connect with some kids that were open but just didn’t hit,” said McDowell. “We were hopeful to get the run game established as best we can to really open up the passing game as well.”

Quincy McRoberts was looked upon most frequently to run the ball, leading Warrenton with 43 yards on 12 carries.

“Quincy did a good job running the ball really hard,” said McDowell. “He made things happen that weren’t there. Hats off to him to do what he does. He’s a very talented young man.”

Despite his efforts, McRoberts struggled to find any openings to the end zone or keep pace with Liberty, which raced out to a 27-0 lead by halftime.

“We had a lot of first-time Friday nighters out there,” said McDowell. “We’re still developing and trying to gel together as a unit. We’ll get there. It’s going to take a little time to consistently answer those assignments.”

By the time Isaiah Jones crossed the goal line on a four-yard run to finally put the Warriors on the board with 3:05 remaining, Liberty had long secured its victory. Many on the frontline for Warrenton were physically exerted, given the team’s limited personnel.

“We don’t have a lot of guys to put out there, but they maintained the fight,” said McDowell. “We’ve got to minimize the mistakes to become a better ball club.”

Jones finished with 34 yards on six carries, while Jacob Parker added 25 yards on six touches.

Quarterback Caelon Weir completed 5 of 9 passes for 38 yards and an interception, sharing time under center with Connor Tittel.

Andrew Cox was the Warriors’ leading receiver, with three catches for 19 yards.

“I really like his effort at linebacker, along with Nick Mertens,” said McDowell. “Kolbe Meine also came up and made some key plays defensively. The effort of the boys was there. They flew around and didn’t give up.”

Colton and Shane Brosenne also contributed on all levels, with Colton returning two kickoffs for 44 yards.

“Those two really stepped up in their roles,” said McDowell. “Shane is one of the surest tacklers we have. Those guys did a really nice job.”

The Warriors will welcome Troy this Friday for the home opener at 7 p.m.


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