WARREN — Warren scored on five plays of 30 or more yards on its way to a 50-28 Region 7 win over DuBois in the Dragons’ home opener at War Memorial Field Friday.
Ryan Arnold scored a rushing, receiving and interception return touchdown and Alex Anderson hauled in a pair of long TD receptions in the win. The Dragons held a 5-2 edge in the turnover battle as well.
“The kids answered the bell,” Warren coach Mark Morelli said. “We had a good week of preparation and executed the game plan.”
Warren (2-1 overall, 1-1 Region 7) opened the game with a 14-play scoring drive capped by a 6-yard run from quarterback Micah Passmore.
DuBois (0-3, 0-2) looked poised to answer on the ensuing possession as the Beavers drove deep into Warren territory. On a third-and-seven from the Warren 14, DuBois quarterback Alex Kovalyak tried to float a pass to the outside. Passmore was there to snag the interception and stop the drive.
“That was huge,” Morelli said. “It kept the momentum going.”
Three plays later Passmore found Anderson streaking down the middle. Anderson caught the pass in stride and sprinted 94 yards to paydirt. Arnold was able to turn a bad snap exchange on the PAT into a 2-point conversion with a Saquon Barkley-esque leap over the goal line to put the Dragons up 15-0 after one.
“They’re athletic and we knew they would be tough to cover,” DuBois coach Justin Marshall said.
Kovalyak cut in to the deficit early in the second when he found Nick Dilullo for a 13 yard scoring strike. Colby Estrada’s PAT attempt sailed wide right and Warren held a 15-6 lead.
On the fourth play of the next possession, Arnold took a pitch, turned the corner and raced 34 yards into the end zone to extend the lead to 22-6.
“We’ve got to keep working,” Marshall said. “We kind of went the other direction and started to lose confidence.”
Late in the half, Passmore found Arnold behind the defense for a 65-yard touchdown pass and a 29-6 advantage.
Tyler Christner fielded a bouncing ball on the ensuing kickoff, squeezed through the coverage and ran 72 yards to cut the lead to 29-12 at the half.
The second half couldn’t have started any better for the Dragons, or any worse for the Beavers.
On the first play, Kovalyak’s pass was deflected. Arnold was able to grab the ball just before it hit the ground and take it 40 yards down the sideline to extend the lead to 36-12.
On the first play of the next possession, Kovalyak was unable to handle the snap and the Dragons recovered the ball at the Beavers 9.
Four plays later, Passmore ran it in from three yards out to push the advantage to 43-12.
“That definitely hurt,” Marshall said. “We had a good talk at halftime. We just had a bad read and a missed throw. It was deflating.”
Kovalyak escaped disaster on the first play of the next possession by recovering a fumbled snap. He then connected on three long pass plays to three different receivers, the last one a 20 yard scoring play to Zach Shilala.
The Beavers forced a fumble on the next Dragons possession and had the ball in Warren territory. On third down, Alex Zeigler came streaking off the edge and got to Kovalyak. In the process, Zeigler was able to rip the ball out of Kovalyak’s hands and give Warren the ball at midfield.
“I was happy with the pressure we put on them,” Morelli said. “We gave them some different looks.”
Facing a fourth-and-six on the first play of the fourth quarter, Passmore again connected with Anderson. This time from 34 yards out to give Warren a 50-20 lead.
Adian Castro ended the scoring with a 1-yard plunge with just under five minutes to go in the game.
Though the Dragons didn’t have any single runner with more than 40 yards, they ran for 141 as a team.
“We got our running game going and that set up those long passes,” Morelli said. “We were able to keep them off balance.”
Arnold and Jamo Douvlos each finished with 39 yards. Passmore finished with 244 yards on 9-15 passing with three scores and an interception. Anderson had 3 receptions for 153 yards and two TDs, while Arnold finished with five receptions for 83 yards and a score.
Kovalyak threw for 254 yards on 15-19 passing with a touchdown and two interceptions. Shilala led the way with six grabs for 81 yards.
The Dragons held tight end Chase Husted to just one catch for 22 yards.
“We took (him) out of the game,” Morelli said.
DuBois will try to pick up its first win next week against Franklin and quarterback Ian Haynes in its home opener. The newest class of the DuBois Sports Halle of Fame will be inducted during halftime of that game.
“When you play in D-10, there are a lot of tough teams,” Marshall said. “You’ve got to show up every Friday.”