Warrensburg prevails in wild gridiron battle

WARRENSBURG An 87-yard kickoff return and a 7-yard run by the Warrensburg football squad with less than a minute to go highlighted a wild come-from-behind victory Friday that recharged the spirits of local gridiron fans. Assistant Burgher coach Rex Reynolds said Sunday the game against Greenwich on the Witches home field was no less than an emotional rollercoaster for fans and coaches. The game went from absolute Dullsville to sheer terror then total ecstasy, he said of the 14-8 Burgher win. It was one of the wildest high school football games Ive ever seen. In the entire first half, only one first down was gained as both offenses, well-matched, didnt get any traction. Starting the third quarter, the Burghers went on an 11-play drive over 10 minutes, but ended up 4th and 9 at the Greenwich 134-yard line. Burgher kicker Chris Carlson attempted a field goal that fell short. Greenwich took over on their 20, and after a half-dozen plays, Freshman Quarterback Tony Giroux passed to Jordan James at the Warrensburg 20-yard-line, and James shook off some Burgher defenders and raced into the end zone. Greenwich then picked up two more points on their conversion. Burgher fans seemed despondent, assuming after a bleak half that whoever would score first would likely win, Reynolds said. Everyone was like, Uh-oh, he said. But Burgher special teams coach Mark Trapasso had a trick play up his sleeve a reverse by two of his best runners. On the kick return, Brendan Frye picked up the ball and handed it to Jason Power who breezed toward the opposite side of the field, juked past several Greenwich defenders, ran behind several aggressive Burgher blockers, then streaked down the Greenwich sideline for an 87-yard touchdown. Greenwichs ensuing drive stalled, and then Warrensburg took over, with Mike Perrone as quarterback. Mixing passing and running, the Burghers pushed deep into Greenwich territory. Brendan Frye punched into the end-zone on a 7-yard run for 6 points, but a conversion failed. With 4 minutes left, Greenwich battled back in an effort to retain a victory for their Homecoming event. Greenwich ripped off one play after another runs that gained yardage in the double-digits. Although frost was forming on the teams medical kits on the sidelines, the Burghers did not freeze up. They continued to play loose in the secondary, Reynolds said. The Burgher defense, knowing they had to stop their opponents or theyd lose the game, batted down passes and stopped runners from gaining too many yards, he said. With 2 seconds to go, Greenwich fought to the Burgher 37-yard line. Greenwich fans screamed with fervor. Giroux then dropped back to pass, and the Greenwich receivers streaked into the end zone, but Warrensburg defenders charged, sacking him and knocking the ball out of his hands. A Burgher lineman recovered; the game was over. Burgher coach Mike Leonbruno said his team fought to the end, demonstrating how perseverance pays off. Our players showed a lot of heart in the second half they came out, played tough, and came through in the end, he said. This was a big win for us. Leonbruno said the Burgher defense fought with tenacit,. He said he was pleased with the debut of Cole Tennant, who ran 42 yards on 19 plays. When Tennant got the ball, particularly on the last drive, he did some good stuff, he said. Our players put out a total team effort, and hopefully we can build on it. Up next is the Burghers homecoming game at 1 p.m. Saturday against Canajoharie. Both have earned a slot in the Sectionals. Canajoharie is playing Fort Edward Sat. Nov. 1, while Warrensburg takes on Rensselaer, who was ranked No. 12 in the state until Saturday, when they were beaten by Lake George. Leonbruno said Warrensburg players will have to be at the top of their game to beat Canajoharie, which has a talented quarterback and skilled receivers. .We have to clean up our game and avoid making any mistakes, he said. But this last weeks victory was an eye-opener we saw what we can do, and we know we can compete with anybody.

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