By Jeff Nations
FRONT ROYAL -- Warren County's offense put on an impressive display in front of its home fans on Friday night against Brentsville.
The Wildcats rolled up 454 yards of total offense in their 37-14 victory -- and those are just the ones they got to keep.
Warren County (1-1) was penalized 10 times for 93 yards, and lost close to 100 more in call-back yardage from the spot of the infraction. It was enough to leave Wildcats coach Tony Tallent shaking his head.
"I would like to know our offensive total number of offensive yards that was taken away from us," Tallent said. "I really thought Brentsville played hard and coach [Ryan] Smith has them headed in the right direction. But some of the calls I saw tonight will go down as absolute firsts."
Tallent was particularly incensed at a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty called late in the game on running back Demetrus Yates, who appeared to be directing his blockers during a 53-yard run. Yates did get to keep those yards, and a lot more as he finished with a game-high 223 rushing yards.
"This is my first year playing running back," said Yates, a senior. "I watched Timmy Green last year in practice, and I took notes. I took the reps I needed in practice and tried to put what I learned out there."
Yates was just one of several offensive stars for the Wildcats. Wide receiver Jontae Rollins caught three touchdown passes from quarterback Austen Butler, all on screens that turned into much more. Running back Josh Newman added 112 rushing yards.
Not to be outdone, Warren County's defense came up with five interceptions and recovered two fumbles in the win.
Brentsville (0-2) still managed to hang around well into the third quarter. Warren County led just 17-7 at halftime, and saw that lead cut to 17-14 early in the third quarter. The Wildcats added some breathing room with their second possession of the third quarter. Rollins raced 33 yards for a touchdown reception off one of those screens from Butler to put Warren County up by 10 points.
"That's my favorite play," Rollins said of the bubble screen. "Especially when you've got guys blocking on the outside like Eric [Baker] and Casey [Stewart] -- it's easy, that's what it is."
Rollins did it again early in the fourth quarter after Yates came up another interception against Brentsville quarterback Richard Harryman. On the next play, Rollins dashed 50 yards for another touchdown catch that essentially sealed the win.
Warren County added another touchdown set up by another pick, this one by Butler, with Yates finishing the ensuing touchdown drive with a 17-yard run.
The first half was much closer, The Wildcats got on the board on their opening possession with the first of those Butler-to-Rollins screens, this one good for a 14-yard touchdown play.
The Tigers answered back on their next possession, as Harryman hit Braden Mitchem for a 10-yard touchdown pass.
Yates put the Wildcats up 14-7 early in the second quarter with a 20-yard touchdown run, and Warren County turned a Tigers fumble into more points when Blake Steele connected on a 35-yard field goal.
Brentsville gained quick momentum in the third quarter, when the Tigers recovered a fumble on Warren County's first play of the half and marked 35 yards for a score. Fuzz Loa (124 rushing yards) capped that drive with a 1-yard touchdown run after the Wildcats were burned by another costly penalty, a roughing the passer infraction on fourth-and-goal from the 1.
Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or email@example.com>