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By Dennis Atwood - email@example.com
STEPHENS CITY -- Visiting Musselman (W.Va.) scored a touchdown two minutes and 16 seconds after the opening kickoff, but Sherando responded before The Applemen's celebration ended as, a mere 15 seconds later, senior tailback Tre Porter returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown.
The Warriors kept pouring on the offense and played tight defense to capture a runaway 49-21 victory at Arrowhead Stadium on Friday night.
The solid victory rebalanced the cross-state border ledger, following Sherando's 7-0 loss to Martinsburg, the reigning West Virginia Class AAA state champion, last Friday.
One of the Warriors' problems against Martinsburg was leg cramps, suffered by several players beginning before halftime. One of those experiencing the malady was senior tailback Joe Ojo.
Ojo was cramp-free against Musselman, ripping off 144 rushing yards on 19 attempts, gaining 67 yards on three pass receptions and scoring three touchdowns (all via the run).
Ojo ground out tough yardage, broke off a long gainer of 44 yards and advanced 55 yards on a pass from sophomore quarterback Reid Entsminger.
"The offensive line blocked good for me tonight and the coaches called the right plays at the right time and I was able to bust through," Ojo said. "I hydrated well this week and that was [my] main focus, to stay hydrated and do everything I could so I didn't cramp up and hurt my team.
"We kept pushing the pedal to the metal [in the second half] because we want to be that dominant team and just powerhouse everyone. That's our mentality, we just want to come out with high-scoring victories."
Entsminger was fond of 55 again, as he took off over left guard from the Sherando 45-yard line, on a third-and-1 play and scampered 55 yards for the Warriors' final score with 5:59 remaining in the game.
"It was third-and-1 and [Sherando coach Bill] Hall sent in the QB sneak," Entsminger said. "I was looking to get a first down. I didn't know I was going to score a touchdown. I looked ahead, it was clear, and I just put my jets on."
"I broke free of the blitzing [line]backer, and I saw Joe [Ojo] flashing his hand and I just threw the ball and let him do his work."
At quarterback for Sherando, senior Jalen Brisco was 6-for-7 for 76 yards through the air, with two TDs, and gained 14 yards on three rushing attempts.
Entsminger was 3-for-5 with 70 yards passing and gained 62 yards on three rushes, with a TD.
Musselman's touchdowns came on as 28-yard pass from quarterback Caleb Dembeck to Darrin Zombro to open the game, a 56-yard punt return by Josh Ferguson with 8:59 remaining in the third quarter, and an 84-yard kickoff return for a score by Ferguson with 5:43 remaining in the game.
Sherando dominated the running game with 349 yards to 110 for Musselman, and gained 146 yards in passing to 78 for the Applemen.
"It was good to get the win, after last week," Hall said. "Being down a touchdown, [Porter's] kickoff return was a huge confidence-builder for us, and that's what we needed.
"The two-quarterback situation is working well for us. Both guys also play defense, so they get to have that perspective of the game, too. They're both dangerous players for any defense we face.
"We've got a huge upside for us, but what we've gotta do is focus on that daily as a daily process. If we do that, we have a chance to be pretty good. We took a step forward [tonight], but I think -- from watching from the sideline -- I think we have a lot we can improve on."