By Tommy Keeler Jr. -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WOODSTOCK -- Central coach Mike Yew knew how talented Warren County wide receiver Matt Nicholson is, but he didn't know too much about Chris Larsen. After Friday night's game, Yew knows just how good Larsen is.
Larsen had two receiving touchdowns to help the Wildcats defeat the Falcons 28-7 in nondistrict action.
"We knew how good Nicholson was," Yew said. "We didn't know about [Larsen]. We watched film and we didn't see it. I might've just missed it, but obviously he's pretty good, too."
Both of Larsen's touchdowns came on third downs. In their second possession of the first quarter, the Wildcats put together a solid drive. They took seven plays to move the ball from their own 6 to the Central 40.
Facing a third-and12 from the Central 40, Warren County quarterback Tyler Post connected with Larsen on a pass down the right sideline for a 60-yard touchdown. Larsen barely kept his balance on the catch to keep from going out of bounds and raced into the end zone with 4:52 left in the first quarter for a 6-0 lead.
"I just saw my defender fall down, and thought, 'I better make it into the end zone,'" Larsen said.
Larsen finished the game with three receptions for 115 yards. Post said having receivers like Nicholson and Larsen help make his job even easier.
"That's just dropping back and heaving it up in the air and letting him go get it," Post said. "I think a lot of times, Matt's [Nicholson] is drawing two guys on him and that allows the other receivers to make plays. I have confidence in all of them."
Warren County sacked Central quarterback Hayden Bauserman twice on the next possession to force the Falcons to have to punt from their own 5-yard line. Nicholson returned the ensuing punt 29 yards to the Central 21 to set up another Warren County score.
After a Warren County penalty, Wildcats running back Timmy Green 26 yards for a touchdown to put the Wildcats up 14-0 with 1:46 left in the opening quarter.
Central put together one of its best drives of the night on the next possession. The Falcons used 12 plays, and were aided by a roughing the punter penalty which kept the drive alive.
Central running back Daniel Molina had the biggest play on offense with a 22-yard run to move the Falcons to the Warren County 16. However, that's where the drive stalled. On fourth-and-11 from the 17, Bauserman completed a pass to Jordan Umstead, but he came up two yards short of the first down.
The Wildcats put the game away in the third quarter. An interception by Jacob Hill gave the Wildcats the ball at the Central 42. Facing a third-and-goal from the Central 22, Post again connected with Larsen for a touchdown to give Warren County a 21-0 lead with 5:06 left in the third quarter.
Post also made a big play with his feet during the drive as he had a 28-yard run on a third down. Post finished the game with 98 yards rushing on 14 carries.
"Tyler ran the ball really well," Warren County coach Tony Tallent said. "I thought the line did a good job blocking and played really well tonight."
Warren County's Jontae Rollins put the finishing touch on the night as he intercepted a Travis Cooper pass and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats had four interceptions on the night, including two by Post. Warren County now has seven interceptions in the first two games of the season.
"That's our defense right there," Post said of the secondary. "We just try to make a play. We owe a lot to our D-line. They put a lot of pressure on the quarterback and that helps us out a lot."
The Wildcats were able to constant pressure on Bauserman, which helped result in an 11-for-26 night for the Central passing game.
"I was a little disappointed in our offensive line tonight," Yew said. "I feel like our offensive line should be one of our strengths. I think our offensive line does well, we'll do well. If they struggle, we're going to struggle."
The Wildcats are now 2-0 on the season, but the players said they're trying to stay focused on taking it one game at a time.
"I feel we still have a lot to work on, a lot of things we can improve on," Post said. "But, 2-0 feels pretty good."