Sports / The Northern Virginia Daily/nvdaily.com
Wildcats remain perfect with win
By Jeff Nations
FRONT ROYAL -- You could read it in the eyes of Warren County's football team Friday night, hear it in their voices as they clustered into a heaving mass of maroon and silver to celebrate.
That one felt so, so good.
A year after getting shredded by Evergreen District rival Fauquier's offense, the Wildcats returned the favor with a defensive effort every bit as dominating in a 14-0 Homecoming shutout.
"We wanted a little revenge on that side of the ball," said Warren County senior quarterback Tyler Post, who starts at cornerback on defense. "They tore us up last year, honestly, and we didn't want that to happen again this year."
Warren County (7-0, 2-0 Evergreen) limited the Falcons' offense to a paltry 47 yards and sacked senior quarterback Colin Diehl four times. It was dominating, pure and simple, as the Wildcats took over sole possession of first place in the district standings.
"Our defense tries to look at the field as though it's not just them pushing forward, but we can also try to take some land back," Warren County coach Tony Tallent said. "That's just a mentality I think we've developed so far."
That attacking approach was evident on the game's first play, as Wildcats defensive lineman Glen Pinard surged into the backfield to flatten Diehl for a 6-yard loss on a sack.
Fauquier (5-2, 1-1) punted that opening possession away, the Wildcats made them pay for it with a 10-play, 45-yard touchdown drive. The Falcons nearly stopped it by forcing a fourth-and-10 at their own 15 to set up an apparent field-goal attempt -- except it wasn't, as holder Matt Nicholson spirited the ball away for a 12-yard run down the sideline. One play later, Timmy Green broke through for a 3-yard touchdown run to put the Wildcats ahead.
Warren County struck again in the second quarter, as Post produced the biggest play of the night with a 51-yard scramble on third-and-16 from the Wildcats' 19. Post capped the 12-play, 76-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown dive to end the scoring at the 6:06 mark of the second quarter.
"That's kind of part of the plan sometimes," Post said of his pivotal run. "You get into big situations, and you've just got to trust the O-line to open up a hole somewhere."
Post led all rushers with 104 yards on 14 carries, and completed 10 of 18 passes for 127 yards on a night when offense was in short supply.
"He's not just a running quarterback," Tallent said. "The kid knows how to read defenses. A couple of those balls that we got hands on, normally we make those catches."
Limited to 24 yards in the first half, the Falcons found themselves in more trouble early in the third quarter. Post connected with wide receiver Chris Larsen on a 43-yard pass play, and Nicholson hauled in a 16-yarder with a personal foul-penalty tacked on to help move the Wildcats' to Fauquier's 5. Three straight runs only netted three yards, and Blake Steele's 19-yard field goal was blocked to leave the margin at two touchdowns.
The Falcons seemed to rally after that, but penalties helped snuff out their ensuing drive. A long run by Spicer Sabruno netted 21 yards but would have been much more if not for a penalty during the play, and a holding penalty completely wiped out another good run by Briar Thomas as Fauquier eventually had to punt from the Warren 45.
Fauquier never even got close to the end zone after that as the Wildcats went into shutdown mode.
"We knew going in that the battle would have to be won up front," Fauquier coach Jamie Carter said. "If we were going to have a chance, we'd have to win that battle up front. Tonight our offensive line got exposed a little bit as being young and inexperienced guys."
Last year, Diehl demonized the Wildcats by tossing three touchdown passes and running for two more in the Falcons' 42-20 victory. Warren County had to wait 363 days for redemption -- Diehl had 10 passing yards on three completions and was well into negative yardage on the ground thanks to the sacks.
"He's the best quarterback we've played so far. If you let him have time, he picks you apart," Tallent said. "We just didn't let him have time."
The Wildcats had their own troubles with the Falcons' formidable defensive line, the core of a unit that Tallent also rated as the best his team has faced so far. Warren County managed 196 rushing yards as part of its 323 yards in total offense.
Senior starting tight end/linebacker Zane Grudzinski, who had one of the Wildcats' sacks, said Warren County was determined to bring heat from the start.
"This was a trench war," Grudzinski said. "They had a lot of hard-hitting D-linemen, but we had some good plays on offense as well. We knew right from the get-go today that it wasn't going to be an easy game, so we were going to have to earn every yard that we gained."
Contact Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137, or email@example.com