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Despite sidelined star, Burghers prevail — and head into playoffs

The linemen of Warrensburg and Whitehall clash in their teams' showdown Saturday Oct. 19. Overcoming a radical roster shake-up due to the injury of their star running back, the Burghers prevailed — and now advance to a post-season game Friday against Rensselaer.

The linemen of Warrensburg and Whitehall clash in their teams' showdown Saturday Oct. 19. Overcoming a radical roster shake-up due to the injury of their star running back, the Burghers prevailed — and now advance to a post-season game Friday against Rensselaer. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Regardless of a radical roster shift due to their star running back being sidelined by an injury, the Warrensburg High School football team overpowered Whitehall Saturday Oct. 19 and captured third seed in the Section Class D North Section II tournament.

Warrensburg combined a steely defense, raw determination, powerful blocking and several surprise plays to defeat Whitehall 42-20.

The Burghers’ early scoring set the tone for the game. Whitehall won the toss and elected to kick. Beefy Burgher Jake Nemec grabbed the ball and ran like a locomotive for a return tallying nearly 50 yards, setting the stage for the Burghers’ successful campaign.

Sophomore Joe Schuster, in his first Varsity start, then accomplished three key runs, two of them more than 10 yards. Soon after, Alex “Tiki” Barber scored the Burghers’ first touchdown from the 3 yard line with 8:15 left in the first quarter.

The Burghers then took a risk with an onside kick, but it paid off. The ball bounced off a Whitehall player’s shin- and Matt Boodman fell on it — on the Railroaders’ 45 yard line. Schuster followed this gift with a series of runs similar to his prior drive.

Soon after, Barber charged over the goal line for the Burghers’ second touchdown in less than three minutes. The remainder of the quarter, Warrensburg’s defense, keying in on Whitehall’s offensive star Justin Hoagland, kept the Railroaders scoreless for the remainder of the quarter.

Burghers stumble, but resume campaign

During the second stanza, the Railroaders fought back, conducting three successful drives on yardage gained with Hoagland’s passes and on the ground primarily by Freshman Darryl Hillman. Only 37 seconds into the 3rd quarter, Whitehall was leading 20-16.

Warrensburg then regained their momentum, and from then on, it was Warrensburg’s showtime. After several solid runs by Schuster and a 13-yard scamper by quarterback Malachi Prosser, the playmaker floated a pass to Sophomore Nemec, who jumped up above two defenders and brought down the ball. Shaking off three tackles, he barged over the goal line.

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