Warriors too much for Pats
By Brad Fauber
STEPHENS CITY — Sherando bounced back in a big way against visiting Washington (West Virginia) on Friday night at Arrowhead Stadium.
After suffering a shutout loss to West Virginia powerhouse Martinsburg last week, the Warriors got back on track in their home opener on Friday with a dominating 60-7 win over the Patriots.
Sherando scored touchdowns on its first five possessions to put the game out of reach quickly, while the defense held the Patriots to 72 yards of total offense and forced three turnovers and two blocked punts.
“We focused really hard this week on getting better and correcting our mistakes,” Warriors running back/linebacker LeeQuan Johnson Jr. said. “Coach [Bill] Hall just told us all this week that we needed to play snap to whistle and I think that’s what we did. We adjusted, we got guys where they needed to be and then we just executed tonight.”
Sherando (2-1) mustered just 60 yards of offense in last week’s loss, but the Warriors surpassed that total on their second play from scrimmage against Washington (1-2).
After the Warriors’ defense halted the Patriots’ game-opening drive at the Washington 42, Sherando started its first drive with the ball at its own 36. The Warriors needed just two plays to reach the end zone, as junior quarterback Pat Minteer found senior wide receiver Josh Ojo wide open on a streak along the right hash for a 61-yard touchdown strike.
That touchdown, which came with 8:15 left in the first quarter, set the tone for Minteer and the Warriors’ offense. Minteer picked apart Washington’s secondary in his limited pass attempts, as he completed 6 of 7 passes for 180 yards and four touchdowns.
Minteer, who sat out the second half with the rest of Sherando’s first team units, threw scoring passes of 61, 29, 10 and 35 yards.
“They play really loose coverage and over No. 2 they don’t really cover him. There’s open spots in their coverage,” Minteer said. “Coach Hall and I looked at film all week, picking out all those little points in it and it really helped.”
Sherando’s defense forced Washington into its first turnover of the night on the following drive. Warriors defensive back Cordell Peterson dealt a crushing blow to Patriots wide receiver Jaquez Fields as he attempted to catch a pass from quarterback Chase Maccubbin. The ball squirted out of Fields’ hands and was snatched out of the air by Sherando linebacker Tyler Tinsman, who returned the ball 16 yards to the Washington 29.
The Warriors found the end zone again on the next play when Minteer hit a wide-open Adam Whitacre for a 29-yard touchdown pass with 7:16 left in the first quarter.
Sherando added another score less than three minutes later as Johnson carried all four times on the 56-yard scoring drive that he capped with an 8-yard plunge.
Warriors senior Tim Coleman blocked a punt on Washington’s next possession, giving the ball to Sherando at the Patriots’ 14. Minteer hit Mitchell Shiley with a 10-yard scoring pass three plays later to give Sherando a 27-0 lead in the first quarter.
“We wanted to be aggressive early and attack,” Hall said. “We thought there were some things we could do attacking both run-wise and pass-wise. I just think it was the mindset. We wanted to be more aggressive in attacking them when we were on offense.”
Sherando kept right on rolling in the second quarter, as Johnson scored two more touchdowns on a pair of 2-yard runs, and Minteer again found Ojo wide open on a streak route for a 35-yard touchdown pass.
The Warriors, who had 303 total yards of offense on Friday, led 47-0 at halftime.
“We’ve been wanting to establish the run game for a while. So we really wanted to establish dominance on the ground and then we wanted to attack in the air,” said Johnson, who finished with 107 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries. “We knew what our game plan was and we just tried to execute it.”
Sherando scored twice on special teams in the second half. Ojo, who had three catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns, capped his day with an 83-yard kickoff return for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, and another blocked punt late in the game was recovered by Sherando’s Jesse Heishman in the end zone.
Washington’s lone touchdown came on Fields’ 2-yard run at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The Patriots’ drive began at Sherando’s 8-yard line following a bad snap on a Warriors punt attempt.
Fields led Washington with 23 yards rushing and 35 yards receiving, while Maccubbin completed 5 of 19 passes for 54 yards and three interceptions.
Sherando held Washington to 18 yards rushing on 23 carries.
“We just constricted space a lot. We just made them run inside the tackles,” Tinsman said.
“After last week’s second half we had a lot of confidence on defense,” he added. “We shut out a really good team in the second half. We just kept competing every down last week and then we kept competing every day this week. Then it just transferred over to the game.”
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or email@example.com