Warriors falter as Blue Devils take advantage of special team miscues

Published 5:09 pm Monday, August 28, 2023

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 By Ron Marvel
Star Correspondent
Nothing can change the momentum in a game quicker than a big special teams play; unfortunately for the Happy Valley Warriors, they were on the wrong side of a couple of those big special teams plays. In a close game, midway through the second quarter the Blue Devils used several gaffes by Warrior Special teams to shove a 7-0 advantage to 23-0 before the half.
After the blocked punt Blue Devil Bransan Salts would break off an 8-yard run for a 7-0 Blue Devil lead. Head Warriors Football Jason Garrett talked about how quickly things turned after the special teams play, “We played extremely tough for the first quarter and half, then with about six or seven minutes left, we don’t protect on the punt, and we get one blocked. That snowballed into a flurry of bad plays.” Garrett shared.
On the next series, a bad snap through the end zone led to a safety; sadly, for the Warriors, the damage had only started as another bad punt would set the Blue Devils up for business again and they would take advantage with another quick score this time off a 6-yard rushing TD from Bransan Salts. Then, when it looked like the Warriors would stop the bleeding Blue Devil QB Ty Engle would hit on a 22-yard TD pass as time expired in the half. Coach Garrett knows that his team has to grow from those moments; “As a team we can’t allow one negative play to turn into numerous ones; it has been the Achilles heel of this program for the last two years,” Coach Garrett said.
The Warriors would show fight in the second half as James Esterline would score off a 23-yard TD run at the 11:49 second mark of the fourth quarter. Aiden Paul would help lead that drive coming off the bench for an injured Drew Blevins. That drive would also feature a couple of nice receptions by Ron Paul Parker to continue the drive. Unfortunately, it would be too little too late as the Warriors would go down by a score 37-6 and fall to 0-2 in the young season. The Blue Devils would outgain the Warriors in offensive yardage 333-156.  Afterward, Coach Garrett acknowledged that this Warriors team will continue to learn and grow and improve, “We will continue to work hard and persevere it what we believe in and it’s what we do, there are no other answers moving forward and I look forward to watching our team continue to grow.”
The Warriors have an off-date next week before heading up to Hampton to take on the Bulldogs in a county rivalry game on September 8.

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