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The Journal Gazette

Friday, August 25, 2017 11:10 pm

East Noble rebounds to knock off Warsaw

JOSH PATTERSON | For The Journal Gazette

Play it fast, play it slow. East Noble looked comfortable either way Friday night in its home-opening 28-7 victory over Warsaw.

And it was Indiana State-bound quarterback Andrew McCormick serving the role of maestro. Directing the offense like a symphony conductor, the senior accumulated 296 yards of total offense and four touchdowns – three passing and another on the ground.

“We trust whatever he does is the right thing,” East Noble coach Luke Amstutz said. “Last week he made a couple mistakes. This week he responded by playing just great, putting the ball on the money, running the ball tough, getting the kids in the right spots and I thought we just had a lot more fluidity.”

Both offenses crescendoed as the game approached halftime, with the cannon beyond the south end zone providing a heart-stopping climax whenever the hosts scored. Two plays after converting on 4th-and-4 from the Tiger 20, a 10-yard McCormick run gave East Noble (1-1) a 7-0 advantage with 4 minutes, 3 seconds left in the second.

Warsaw would strike back on the ensuing possession, converting a fourth down of their own. That play amassed 25 yards, as quarterback Tristan Larsh connected with a diving Trevor York in the end zone to tie the game just 1:45 from intermission.

The Knights responded in kind, marching 80 yards in 68 seconds. Hayden Jones’ 12-yard reception capped the drive as his first varsity touchdown gave East Noble a 14-7 halftime advantage.

And the one score lead turned into two with the Knights’ initial second-half possession. After successive penalties moved the ball back to the 8-yard line, East Noble ran 17 plays and took nearly seven minutes off the clock.

McCormick’s second touchdown pass, this time to Chevy Wright, put the hosts up 21-7.

“He’s good,” Warsaw coach Phil Jensen said of McCormick. “He’s everything he’s billed to be, and when you try to keep him in front of you sometimes that’s the worst thing you can do. He just picked us apart. They worked their system really well.”

Larsh led Warsaw (1-1) with 88 yards rushing while also going 7-of-9 passing. But the senior committed three turnovers, fumbling the ball away twice and throwing an interception, which stifled the Tigers’ comeback attempt.

“(We made) a couple mistakes,” Jensen said. “We dropped the ball, turned it over, and you can’t do that against good teams. When you make mistakes and get behind two scores, and then three scores, then we’re in trouble.”

As McCormick explained, the scores that sandwiched halftime went hand-in-hand toward not only helping the Knight offense hum along beautifully, but also teaching lessons that hopefully pay off down the road.

“I think they both have their own individual importance,” McCormick said. “The one before half, it puts us up and then we get the ball back after halftime. That long drive we had (to start the third quarter), that just sets a tone and keeps the ball out of their hands for a while.”