The Steinbrenner Warriors took advantage of the Strawberry Crest misfortunes all night, en route to a 28-0 victory in Dover. The Chargers (0-3) drove the ball down field in Steinbrenner territory multiple times, but never made the most of their opportunities.

The Chargers won the coin toss to begin the game, but deferred to the second half giving the Warriors (2-1) a chance to get rolling early. Sophomore halfback Jake Carroll wasted no time getting started as he took the handoff for a 38 yard gain and gave Steinbrenner a shot for early points in Charger territory. After a Strawberry Crest encroachment penalty pushed the Warriors even closer to the end zone, sophomore quarterback Logan Lepace couldn’t complete a third down pass to senior Zack Jones and it forced Steinbrenner to attempt a mid-range field goal that went wide right.

For Strawberry Crest, missing their starting quarterback Trey VanDeGrift due to injury proved too much on the drives, as play call confusion and the constant pressure from the Warriors defense forced the Chargers into a quick three and out. However, on the fourth down punt the Warriors were called with roughing the kicker resulting in Chargers punter Noah Shaffer leaving the game temporarily with injury and a new set of downs for his team. Strawberry Crest failed to take advantage of momentum and were forced to punt again on the ensuing fourth down.

The Warriors wasted no time getting back to business, as junior halfback Kendall Pearcey found a big hole and ran away for a 93 yard touchdown, a new Steinbrenner school record. Pearcey gave credit to his offensive line for giving him the blocks he needed to break away for the score. “I saw the hole was going to be wide open and I saw that I had my pulling guard and I kicked (a defender) out of the way and made a move and just took off and never looked back,” said Pearcey. “It felt good”.

In the second quarter, the Chargers put heavy pressure on the Warriors defense. After a big punt return from Josh Engram, quarterback Mike Mitchell lobbed a ball to the corner of the end zone which was caught by wide receiver Karel Hamilton, but the referees ruled him out of bounds and on fourth and goal the Chargers elected to go for it, but the ball was intercepted.

With time winding down in the first half, Steinbrenner sophomore quarterback Curtis Fitch completed a big pass to Carroll to get the offense moving quickly. On the very next play, it was Fitch to Carroll again, this time resulting in a 55 yard touchdown reception and the Warriors took a 14-0 lead going into the half.

Opening the third quarter with the ball, Strawberry Crest tried to get back into the game when running back Chris Perez found a gap and took off for a long gain, but the frustrated Charger offense gave back the ball when they attempted another fourth down conversion and failed.

The next four possessions were all a battle, as neither team could manage a long drive and all wound up three and out. There was life near the end of the quarter, when sophomore Shaheem Barthel gave the Warriors the ball inside the Chargers 10 yard line after a big run and Jones took it to the house for a 21-0 Steinbrenner lead.

In the fourth quarter, the Warriors defense didn’t let up pressure as senior Alex Vega and junior Logan McKnight ganged up to sack Mitchell in the backfield and on third down, defensive back Tyler McClain intercepted his pass. The Warriors would melt the clock down for the rest of the game with a steady diet of runs by Pearcey. The final nail in the Chargers coffin would be an untouched 32 yard pass from Fitch to Carroll extending the lead and cementing a 28-0 win.

The Chargers will look to overcome defensive woes in their first three games where they have been outscored 145-12 when they travel to Hillsborough and the Warriors will look to extend the winning streak when they host Freedom in a Homecoming district showdown.

Jeff Odom

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