The Warrensburg Tigers managed to erase a 21-6 deficit on friday to knock off the visiting Nevada Tigers 28-27 on senior night.
Warrensburg entered the game with a record of 3-4 and were coming off their biggest loss of the season, a 56-0 rout against Center. So, naturally, the Tigers were hungry for a win against fellow West Central Conference foe Nevada. Friday was also the Tigers’ senior night, where eight senior were recognized for their contributions to the team and the school, so sending them off with one final home win became the ultimate goal.
Nevada jumped out to an early 6-0 lead on their first drive when running back Braxton Shadden found the end zone from 2 yards out. The lead didn’t last long however, as sophomore running back Miles Moore broke free on a 48-yard sprint to the end zone on the ensuing Warrensburg possession to tie the game 6-6.
Both teams traded punts the next few series until Shadden found the endzone once again to give Nevada a 14-6 lead. Warrensburg could not answer on their next drive and were forced to punt the ball back to Nevada with less than a minute left in the first half. Nevada drove into Warrensburg territory with less than 10 seconds left in the half and were forced to try a Hail Mary. The play worked, as Nevada wide receiver Coletan Shepard was able to find an opening, and pulled down the 39 yard heave as time expired in the half to give Nevada a 21-6 halftime lead.
“I told our guys to be smart and don’t let anything behind you” said Warrensburg coach Chris Cavanah, “We just have to be better than that”.
The touchdown seemed to put Warrensburg in a serious hole, it was not a situation the Tigers had not been in before. Two times previously, the Tigers were able to erase a fi
rst half deficit to pull out a comeback win, and they would need to formulate a third to send the seniors off in winning fashion.
Coach Cavanah said the team needed a big play to get them back in the game and the offense delivered early in the 3rd quarter when senior Connor Burson intercepted a Nevada pass and returned it over 60 yards for a Warrensburg touchdown to push the score to 12-21. However, the momentum seemed to flip back to Nevada when Warrensburg lost a fumble at their own 8-yard line, which led to an easy Nevada touchdown to increase the lead to 27-12.
Warrensburg stole the momentum right back when Miles found the endzone for the second time on the next Warrensburg drive. A successful 2-point conversion cut the lead to 27-20.
Warrensburg forced Nevada to punt on the ensuing possession and took over at the 34-yard line with a chance to take their first lead of the game. Warrensburg quarterback Jaason Levine, who was making his first start of the season broke the drive open with a 68-yard pass and catch to senior Dalton Nappe. However, Warrensburg faced a crucial fourth down later in the series and called upon the legs of Levine to pick up the yardage. He needed 2 yards and gained 3 to keep the drive alive which set up Miles Moore’s third touchdown of the night, this one from 15 yards out. Moore then punched in a successful 2-point conversion to give Warrensburg its first lead of the game at 28-27.
The Warrensburg defense held strong on the next two possessions to give Warrensburg the 28-27 comeback win.
“If you look back on our season so far we really haven’t been able to get the ball on the edge and that was the difference today,” Cavanah said about the win. “We were able to get Miles Moore on the edge to open up the run game and it just kept popping, so if it’s not broke don’t fix it.”
Miles Moore attributed his big night to excellent blocking by the offensive line and trusting the coaching staff. Moore finished the game with 158 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns. Coach Cavanah also gave praise to quarterback Jaason Levine in the place of Ejyah Sheridan, who was not present at the game Friday following his arrest last week.
“To have a guy like Jaason who has a year of experience as a varsity quarterback is really lucky and he did a great job tonight” said Cavanah.
The Tigers finish their regular season next week at St. Michael before moving on to district play. “There are definitely some things we still need to work on in the next couple weeks,” said Cavanah, “but I feel like we’re moving in the right direction.”