Warriors upend Vikings|
Saturday, September 22, 2012
By Jaclyn Yingling Sports Editor
ALLPORT - Glendale started off the game with a big bang, but it was West Branch that ended it with one.
After going up 6-0 on an 80-yard touchdown reception on the first play of the game, the Vikings couldn't stop the Warriors momentum, falling behind 34-26 on Friday.
With 56 seconds remaining and a fourth-and-22, Glendale tried for one more heave down the field, but this time Gary Witherow couldn't get past West Branch's Morgan Selepack, who took him down for an 11-yard loss.
The Warriors knelt on the ball, setting the final and giving them their first victory over Glendale since a 17-7 win in 2004.
"It was a Homecoming game," said West Branch head coach Lester Smeal. "The kids were fired up and they figured out tonight what it is going to take. We only have 18 kids and it's tough on us. But they are playing ironman football.
"We played the same way last year with 21 kids. It took them awhile to figure it out, but they did.
"I take my hat off to these kids. They are just super."
"We knew that they were going man the whole time," said Glendale head coach Matt Irvine. "Gary dug past them and (Doug) Twigg made a nice catch. After that score, I don't know happened."
After the Vikings scored to start the game, the Warriors answered with a 5-yard score from Chad Speigle after Jacob Brown ran the kickoff back 55 yards to the Glendale 17.
Things got even better for the Warriors, who forced the Vikings to punt from their own 20. The punt was blocked and scooped up by L.G. Smeal, who ran it back 11 yards for the score.
Parker Emigh added his second PAT of the night to give West Branch a 14-6 advantage.
"We've been consistent like that all year," said Coach Smeal. "We come out in the first half and we move the ball. That's a credit to those guys up front.
"In the second half, we came out in the third quarter and we were flat. We didn't touch anybody up front. That was what was killing us. Then we got back into a rhythm later on in the fourth quarter. The kids just picked it up and did a great job. It's all about team and leaning on each other and getting it done for each other."
After another punt by Glendale, West Branch was pushing into Viking territory when Twigg picked off Jonathan Sanker and ran it back for a 60-yard touchdown.
The kick failed, leaving the Vikings down 14-12 with 4:50 left in the first frame.
West Branch added on another score with 1:20 left in the first, as Speigle took in a 9-yard run.
The Warriors went up 28-12 when Speigle scored on a second-and-24 from the 24.
West Branch had two penalties in the possession, one for holding and one for illegal procedure.
Glendale moved the ball on its next series, getting down to the Warrior 13. But a fumble recovered by Brown killed the drive.
The Warriors ate up a huge chunk of the clock, going 13 plays and 90 yards for another touchdown.
Speigle carried the ball 10 times and punched in the 1-yard score with 2:03 left in the half.
Glendale finally answered back with a 3-yard score from Damon Braniff with 30 seconds left. Twigg took in the 2-point conversion to cut the score to 34-20 at the half.
The longer-than-usual halftime wait because of Homecoming seemed to take its toll on the Warriors, who came out sluggish.
West Branch was called for offensive pass interference on its opening drive and was forced to punt.
Glendale was also stopped by penalty and a tackle by L.G. Smeal after Twigg tried to run on a fourth-and-15.
But on the Vikings next possession, things started to come together.
A 27-yard run by Witherow moved Glendale into West Branch territory where the Vikings kept pounding the ball up the middle. Witherow later scored on a 10-yard run but the conversion run failed, putting the score at 34-26.
While Glendale was starting to move the ball, West Branch's drives seemed to stall out, whether it was a penalty or a big tackle from the Viking defense.
Speigle was held to just 29 yards in the second half.
"We switched fronts defensively from a 5 to 6," Irvine said. "The kids came out to play in the second half. I wish they would've in the first. It may have been a different ballgame.
"They fought hard in the second half. We just have to go back and get to work for next week."
After Glendale scored, the West Branch defense made a couple of big plays to keep the Vikings off the board.
Speigle had a tackle for loss on a third-and-9 to force a Viking punt in the fourth quarter.
"I think they realized the situation they were in," said Coach Smeal. "They needed to pick it up. It was a gut-check time for them. But they picked it up and did what they needed to do to get the win.
"I always tell them, ‘It doesn't matter if we win by 20 or if we win by 1. If we have more than them, a win is a win no matter what it looks like or how it comes across.' "
After West Branch's last drive of the night got stalled at the Glendale 35, the Warriors elected to punt with 1:42 remaining in the game.
They took a delay of game penalty to give Emigh some extra room to punt. He booted a perfect ball to the Warrior sideline that landed out of bounds at the 13.
Glendale got one first down on a horsecollar penalty, but the Warrior defense took over after that, forcing an incomplete pass and an illegal procedure penalty.
With a fourth-and-22 looming, the Vikings called time out. Glendale lined up three receivers, but Witherow never had a chance to throw the ball as Selepack took him down at the 6 as he scrambled to get a clear shot.
"There has been a couple of times this year we had a big play that changed the ballgame," Coach Smeal said. "Those big plays by those individual players are super, especially at the end of the game like that.
"They took that timeout, and we went out and talked about our coverage. The front guys asked us, ‘What do you want us to do?' And we said, ‘We want you to sack the quarterback.' And, they did. I can't say enough about these kids. They are just tougher than nails. They give us everything they got every Friday night, no matter who we play."
Speigle led all ball carriers with his 209 yards. Emigh had an interception for the Warriors, which improved to 2-2 overall.
"It was a huge win," said Speigle. "It was a team effort overall. Everybody played their top game and came out to win.
"Our team adjusted as well in the second half. They blocked well and we were able to run a few different people. It was a great win."
Braniff added 106 yards on 20 carries, while Twigg had 138 yards receiving. Witherow was 4-of-11 for 103 yards.
Glendale is 2-2 overall. The Vikings host Claysburg-Kimmel on Friday.
West Branch travels to Everett on Friday.
West Branch 34
Score By Quarters
Glendale 12 8 6 0-26
West Branch 21 13 0 0-34
G-Twigg 80 pass from Witherow, (kick blocked), 11:49.
WB-Speigle 5 run, (Emigh kick), 11:08.
WB-L.G. Smeal 11 punt block return, (Emigh kick), 10:13.
G-Twigg 60 interception return, (kick failed), 4:50.
WB-Speigle 9 run, (Emigh kick), 1:20.
WB-Speigle 24 run, (Emigh kick), 10:44.
WB-Speigle 1 run, (kick blocked), 2:03.
G-Braniff 3 run, (Twigg run), :30.
G-Witherow 10 run, (run failed), 2:00.
Total First Downs 11 16
Rushes-Yards 36-161 46-220
Comp-Att-Int 5-12-1 1-5-2
Passing Yards 145 12
Total Plays-Yards 48-306 51-232
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 0-0
Punts-Avg 3-25.6 4-33.8
Penalties-Yards 8-70 9-70
Glendale-Braniff 20-106, Witherow 6-29, Twigg 8-21, O'Donnell 2-5.
West Branch-Speigle 34-209, K. Smeal 2-14, Emigh 7-8, Team 2-(-2), Sanker 1-(-9).
Glendale-Witherow 4-of-11, 103 yds., 1 TD, 1 Int.; Braniff 1-of-1, 42 yds.
West Branch-Sanker 1-of-4, 12 yds., 1 Int.; Speigle 0-of-1, 1 Int.
Glendale-Twigg 4-138, O'Donnell 1-7.
West Branch-L.G. Smeal 1-12.