By Adam Lee
SPECIAL TO THE COMMERCIAL
WARREN — Warren has advanced to the 4A state championship game as senior quarterback Drake Jones scored all four of Warren’s touchdowns on the ground to uplift the Lumberjacks past Valley View 27-20.
“We’re very fortunate. We wanted to throw it but because of the conditions we just rode on it with Drake Jones,” said Warren head coach Bo Hembree.
Both squads never had a handle on the swing of momentum in the first quarter. Warren defensive end Michael Tyler recorded an interception when Valley View attempted a fourth down trick play with a guard as an eligible receiver.
Drake Jones took advantage of the turnover and scored a touchdown on a 1-yard keeper. However a bobbled snap left the Lumberjacks with a 6-0 lead to start the game.
Valley View senior quarterback Noah Johns answered back a 3-yard rushing touchdown of his own after a 41-yard pickup by senior running back Jaegar Sullins before the end of the first half to go on top of Warren 7-6.
The rain increased after halftime and as a result Valley View fumbled 7 times, in which Warren recovered 4.
Jones took over again and rushed for two more touchdowns in the third quarter to extend the Lumberjacks lead 19-7.
Valley View cut into Warren’s lead 19-13 when Johns dropped a snap and somehow managed to pick up the ball and heave a pass to senior wide receiver Jacob Lorenza for a 16-yard touchdown with less than 10 minutes to go in the game.
On the following drive for Warren, the Lumberjacks fumbled at their own 10-yard line and the Blazers recovered. Three plays later Johns walked in the endzone from 6 yards out to take over the lead at 20-19.
With 2:43 left in Warren’s defense recovered the biggest fumble of the night as Sullins almost scored for the Blazers but lost the ball at the 5-yard line.
Jones moved the chains mainly with his legs in the muddy atmostphere but a 32-yard catch by senior wide receiver Von Eric Gonder helped out Warren. Jones capped off the 95-yard drive with a 1-yard keeper. Junior running back Kilay Cox rushed in a two-point conversion to put Warren back up 27-20.
With 1:06 left to play, Johns attempted a deep pass but Warren defensive back Chris Oliver came up with an interception to close out the game.