WARREN — The top-ranked 4A Warren Lumberjacks jumped out early and cruised to a 56-13 win over the DeWitt Dragons at Jim Hurley Stadium on Friday night.
Warren (4-3, 4-0 8-4A) controlled the line of scrimmage all night and DeWitt (4-3, 2-2) had no answer for the Lumberjacks passing game led by senior quarterback Drake Jones. Warren head coach Bo Hembree said he saw some things that needed to be corrected but was overall pleased with his team’s effort throughout the night.
“We have to get more consistent,” Hembree said. “We didn’t do that tonight. We turned the ball over twice in the first half which we didn’t want to do. I wish we would have been a little bit more consistent … but overall I’m satisfied.”
Other than the turnovers, Warren played flawlessly on offense throughout the night mixing up the pass and the run. After recovering a fumble on DeWitt’s first possession, the Lumberjacks took over from their own 48-yard line. Hembree went into his bag of tricks and called a wide receiver pass which was rewarded with a nice throw by Von Eric Gonder and a beautiful over the shoulder catch by wide receiver Kaleel Thomas to the Dragons’ 1-yard line. Running back Kiley Cox scored on the next play as the Lumberjacks took an early 7-0 lead with 9:50 left in the first quarter.
“That’s just something that we’ve been working on,” Hembree said of the trick play. “We decided to pull it out this week and put it on film and get people to have to work on it.”
Luck was on the Warren side with 7:15 left in the first quarter. After forcing a Dragons punt, the Lumberjacks had the ball at their own 18-yard line. The Lumberjacks marched down the field to the DeWitt 31-yard line and the next play foreshadowed what would happen the rest of the night. With Jones lined up in shotgun formation, he dropped back and heaved a pass to the left side of the end zone intended for Jaylon Marshall, but the ball was tipped around twice before falling into the arms of Darveon Brown who made a nice over the shoulder grab for the score.
It was that kind of night for Warren as Jones went on to finish 13-of-18 passing with 202 yards and 3 TDs with only 1 interception as he sat the entire second half. Brown finished with two catches for 41 yards and 2 TDs, while Gonder ended the night with six catches for 89 yards and 1 TD.
Hembree was happy with his offense and his quarterback’s effort despite his one turnover.
“Overall, I thought he read well,” Hembree said of Jones. “He got a great break down there on the tipped ball and we catch it for a touchdown so it’s just a process that we are trying to get better each week.”
Not to be outshined, the Warren defense played well throughout the night allowing just 13 points with only 7 of them allowed by the starters. Hembree was pleased with their effort as they forced four turnovers including a pick-six.
“They have played well all year,” he said. “We gave up that one drive … we don’t need to do that. We have to be able to overcome adversity when something bad happens. We need to have the mindset to go out there and stop them and we didn’t do that tonight. Hopefully we learn from that and get better from that.”
The Lumberjacks remained in control all night leading 42-7 at the half as the sportsmanship rule ran the clock for the entire second half as Warren rested its starters before settling for the 43-point victory.
As Warren moves forward with an undefeated record in conference play, Hembree says it’s all about improvement from week to week on the path to a conference championship.
“We’re trying to get better each week and put ourselves in position to win a conference championship and we’ve done that,” he said. “Now, going into the last three weeks, we are hoping for a good seed in the playoffs and then we’ll see what happens.”
Warren will host the Monticello Billies next week before traveling to Hamburg the following week.