VINCENT- The Philo Electrics broke open a close football game with a punishing second half rushing attack as they downed the Warren Warriors 33-12 Friday night at Warrior Field.
Philo dominated the line of scrimmage, rushing for 317 yards in the game, including 153 in the fourth quarter, to claim their first season opener in 16 years.
"They (Philo) are a very good football team," said Warren head coach Andy Schob. "Their line is big and strong, their running backs run hard and once they got the momentum going, things just kind of snowballed."
KAREN HENTHORN Special to The Times
Warren’s David Ryan makes a reception against visiting Philo during season opening football action Friday night.
Both teams showed some early season jitters as they both fumbled the ball away on their opening possession.
The Warriors drew first blood as they put together a 72- yard, six- play drive that culminated in a 19-yard touchdown pass from senior Dylan Leffingwell to David Ryan.
The point after was blocked and Warren had an early 6-0 lead.
Philo answered quickly on their next possession as junior running back Nathan Delozier raced in from five yards out and Slade Moore's extra point gave the Electrics a 7-6 lead and put an exclamation point on a 79-yard, nine- play drive.
The Warriors committed their second first quarter turnover as running back Jake Scott was stripped of the ball by the Philo defense giving the Electrics great field position at the Warrior 26 yard line.
It wouldn't take Philo long to capitalize on that great field position as Delozier gained all 26 yards on a three- play drive to make it a 13-6 game.
"When you turn the ball over and make mistakes like we made, your in trouble," said Schob, in his third season as Warrior head coach. "Their one of the best football teams we will play all year, but we made it easy on them tonight."
Both teams strung together long second quarter drives, but neither could muster any more points and the Electrics went to the locker room clinging to the seven point lead.
The Warren defense forced Philo into a three -and- out to start the second half and junior Brandon Barnes returned the punt 26 yards to give the royal blue and white the ball at the Philo 49 yard line for their first second half possession.
That drive would stall however at the Philo 26 -yard line when Leffingwell's pass on fourth and inches fell incomplete.
After the Warren defense held once again, forcing the Electrics into their second consecutive punt, the turnover bug would bite the Warriors offense once again.
Under heavy pressure, Leffingwell's pass attempt on first and ten was tipped at the line of scrimmage and intercepted by senior linebacker Joey Blake to give Philo outstanding field position at the Warriors 37- yard line.
It took Philo just three plays to cash in on the fourth Warren turnover of the night and senior running back Kaleb Wiseman trotted in the end zone on a 15-yard run to make it a 20-6 game.
From that point on you could see Philo take full control in the trenches as they visibly won the battle at the line of scrimmage.
"I was really proud of our kids tonight, especially the ones up front," said Philo head coach Dirk Lincicome. "They know that if they block well were going to score points and we're going to win games."
The Warriors put together a long 11 play drive but once again came up empty as the drive stalled at the Philo 30 and the Electrics took over on downs.
Philo would put things out of reach for all intents and purposes when Wiseman capped a eight play, 74- yard drive when he broke free and rambled 37 yards for his second touchdown of the night to make it 26-6.
The Warriors marched right down the field to score their second touchdown of the game as Leffingwell and senior wide out Andrew Vincent connected on three pass completions for 58 yards and Scott capped the drive with a two-yard touchdown plunge.
It would simply be too little too late however for Warren and when Philo's Steven Frazier busted a 50-yard touchdown run the Electrics had secured their first season opening win since 1996.
Wiseman paced the tenacious Philo ground game with 125 yards on just 15 carries, while Delozier carried 20 times for 88 yards.
Scott led the Warriors in rushing with 59 yards on 15 carries, while Vincent hauled in six catches for 87 yards.
Leffingwell completed 12-of-21 passes on the night for 178 yards and Lincicome had high praise for the Warrior signal caller.
"His arm and his leadership are two big weapons for them," said the Philo head coach. "He's a really tough quarterback and we were fortunate to be able to minimize the damage he was able to do."
Though obviously not pleased with the outcome of the season opener, Schob will make sure his team rolls up it's sleeves and gets right back to work with this Friday's annual match up with the arch rival Marietta Tigers on the horizon.
"We definitely have to fix some things to be the kind of team we want to be," said Schob. "We don't have time to look back, we have to look forward and our kids will bounce back."