STAR CITY — A 14-point swing caused by two interceptions in the second quarter gave Warren the momentum it needed as the Lumberjacks (2-3, 2-0 8-4A Conference) defeated the Star City Bulldogs 48-20 Friday night.
“That’s something we talked about this week,” Star City head coach Jett Furneaux said. “You can’t give a team like that a short field to work with.
“That is just part of the game of breaks. And tonight the breaks did not go our way.”
Following a touchdown by Warren that tied the game at 13-13 with less than 5 minutes to play in the second quarter, Star City (3-2, 1-1) sophomore quarterback Tye Brown was intercepted by Warren’s Odis Miller. It set up a first down inside the red zone for the Lumberjacks. Two plays later, junior Kilay Cox scored on a 13-yard touchdown run.
Warren had a 19-13 lead with just over three minutes left in the first half.
“I thought we made the tackles when we needed to, but you just can’t give a team like that the short field,” Furneaux said.
Following the score that gave Warren the six-point lead, Star City marched the ball down the field and was looking to get on the board right before half. But a second interception — which was returned all the way to Warren’s 30-yard line — set up another scoring opportunity for the Lumberjacks.
Senior Michael Jones completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to junior Darveon Brown and the two-point conversion was good to give Warren a 27-13 lead with 18 seconds left in the first half.
“Offensively, I thought we played one of our better games,” Warren head coach Bo Hembree said. “But defensively, I thought we played one of our worst.
“That’s the thing that I’m most disappointed about is that our defense didn’t show up. They ran some formations that we weren’t ready for and we adjusted, but we just didn’t adjust quick enough.”
Star City got on the board on the game’s first possession. Brown completed a 25-yard touchdown pass to Chris Williams and the Bulldogs had a 6-0 lead with 6:33 left in the first quarter.
“They came out and ran the football and we weren’t prepared for it,” Hembree said. “They came out and ran it down our throat and we weren’t ready for it.”
Warren answered right back with a 9-yard touchdown pass by Jones. The extra point was good and the Lumberjacks had a 7-6 lead with 2:48 left in the first quarter.
Star City junior running back Dajunn Harris had 16 carries for 131 yards with a touchdown. His 5-yard touchdown run in the second quarter gave the Bulldogs their last lead of the game at 13-7.
Warren had one of the toughest non-conference schedules to start a season — having to face two defending state champions and a conference champion to begin the year. They were able to hang with all three for the most part, but turnovers and injuries proved too costly as the Lumberjacks began the year 0-3. But Hembree said playing those tough opponents is beneficial once the conference season begins.
“That’s why we do it,” Hembree said. “For a game like tonight, when we get something we don’t expect. We were able to adjust, just not as quick as we wanted to.”
On its first possession of the second half, Warren took a 21-point lead at 34-13 when Jones scampered for a 39-yard touchdown run. Jones finished the game with 82 yards rushing on 10 carries and was 17-of-24 for 291 yards passing. For Star City, Brown finished 10-of-22 passing for 157 yards with one touchdown and the two interceptions. He also had a 1-yard touchdown run in third quarter that trimmed Warren’s lead to 34-20 with 7:22 left.