Warriors overwhelm ’Canes in strong tuneup for season

Kevin Mays • Aug 24, 2019 at 1:18 AM

NORTON — Wise Central used a balanced ground game and three touchdown passes to take a 27-7 win over Marion in a preseason benefit game at Tommy McAmis Field on Friday.

The tuneup for the start of the regular season next week was an impressive one for the Warriors. But coach Luke Owens said his team still has plenty to work on before its opener at Wise County rival Eastside on Aug. 30.

“I thought the effort was there, I just thought we were sloppy at times,” Owens said. “Things broke down and some untimely penalties killed some drives there in the first half. I felt like we could have really jumped on them. We still had a 20-0 lead in the first half playing with the starters. But I really felt like it should have been 35-0.”

Owens was especially pleased with the effort of his defense.

“I thought the effort was there. I thought our kids played hard, especially the defense. In the first half, it was pretty much lights out,” he said. “I thought we covered well, I thought between the tackles we were stepping up in the gaps, we were scraping and hitting people in the mouth. I thought we did a real good job defensively.

“I just wish we could have helped the defense out a little bit with sustaining drives and capitalizing on drives.”

The first teams played the entire first half, and Central held the Scarlet Hurricanes to 76 yards — 70 through the air — over those two quarters. The Warriors also picked off two first-half pass attempts by Marion quarterback Tanner Tate.

Still, Tate accounted for the vast majority of his team’s offense, and fellow senior Devin Hamm was on the receiving end of most of the passes. Among them was a 40-yard touchdown strike three minutes into the second half.

Tate completed 8 of 15 passes for 110 yards with a touchdown and the two picks.

His counterpart, sophomore Ethan Mullins, threw three touchdown passes in the first half for all of the Warriors’ scoring before intermission. In one half of play, Mullins was 3-for-5 passing for 74 yards with the trio of TDs and an interception.

Central’s first score came on its first possession when Mullins connected with Ben Brickey with 9:10 to play in the opening frame. Mullins connected with Brickey for two more touchdowns — of 30 and 23 yards — in the second quarter.

C.J. Crabtree led Central’s balanced rushing attack with 52 yards on seven carries.

“We’ve still got some stuff we didn’t show, but I think we did pretty good with it,” Crabtree said of the ground game. “The line did good. We’ve just got to work on getting better.”

Maddox Reynolds had 43 yards on seven carries and Matthew Boggs carried the ball eight times for 38 yards for Central. Matt Peters had 43 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown, on six carries for and Dustin Sturgill had six carries for 42 yards.

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