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Burghers’ new confidence, rushing attack, prompt win

Warrensburg Special teams player Adam Langworthy returns a kick for a gain during the game Oct. 22 against Bishop Gibbons. The Burghers’ potent gound attack prompted their 48-35 comeback victory.

Warrensburg Special teams player Adam Langworthy returns a kick for a gain during the game Oct. 22 against Bishop Gibbons. The Burghers’ potent gound attack prompted their 48-35 comeback victory. Kim Ladd/Lifescapes Photography

— With a half-eaten apple in one hand and a television remote-control in his other, Warrensburg Football Coach Mike Leonbruno offered play-by-play commentary Oct. 24 while showing a video of the game his team played two days earlier against Bishop Gibbons.

Leonbruno took a bite out of the apple and gestured to his players in the darkened room.

“This is a huge play here,” he said, showing a Bishop Gibbons running back bypassing one Burgher defender after another. “You guys should be hitting their players low, taking their legs out so they don’t break tackles,” he continued.

His players took the criticism in stride, not letting it stifle their smiles. After all, they won the game 48 to 35 in a comeback victory — and that was without three key players who were absent, and with a rookie Freshman, Marcus Perrone, at quarterback.

After another bite of the apple, and freezing the video image on the wide screen, Leonbruno told them why they won — although they probably knew anyway.

“Look, here you’re down 13 to 0, and if this were any other year, the game would have been over,” he said. “But you guys didn’t panic, you stuck to your game plan. Not one second did I think we were defeated — I knew you’d fight back because of your confidence and your will.”

Later, Leonbruno showed one scene after another of a strategy that moved the ball forward again and again, gaining yardage on virtually every play. It was the Burghers’ double-wing offense, new this year, in which players jam into a wedge-shaped mass and push the ball through their opponents’ defense like a freight train.

This attack, along with the players’ work ethic and “never-say-die” attitude, has resulted in the team achieving a remarkable feat in Section II despite tallying only a 3-5 season record — the Burghers are fifth in the entire section in rushing, all classes combined.

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