ERIE - Warren head coach Brad Wright has emphasized the need for a balanced offense through pre-season camp.
One game in, and it looks like his team took the message to heart.
Austin Jerman tossed three touchdown strikes and the Dragons cleared 100 rushing yards in a dominating 28-6 non-region defeat of Erie East on Friday at Veterans Stadium.
The Dragons defense set the tone, forcing Erie East into a quick three and out.
A 13-yard run by Jerman and a 14-yard strike from Jerman to Luke Wortman set the stage for a Chris McNeal one-yard touchdown plunge.
Midway through the second, the defense struck, forcing a fumble by East that was recovered by Mike Manderfeld. Jerman made good on the turnover by throwing a beautiful pass to the back corner of the end zone that Mark Davis was able to secure in bounds for a 21-yard score. Luke Wortman plunged in to convert the two-point attempt, extending Warren's lead to 14-0.
After another defensive stop, Wright told his team that their next drive "is a statement drive."
The offense got the message. Wortman was on the receiving end of a 43-yard catch and run, pushing into East territory. Jerman then connected with Jordan Willets for the 34-yard touchdown strike at the 4:47 mark. The Ryan Shattuck extra point put the Dragons up 21, the lead they took into the break.
The third quarter was quiet until Jerman found Wortman from 19 out with 1:35 left, concluding the scoring for the Dragons.
Erie East tallied its lone score with 7:25 left in the fourth on a 39-yard pass reception by Jonathan Sanchez from Jauwan Ford.
Wright said after the contest that his goal for the team was to "restore some balance to the offense" and he was pleased with the effort.
"We have a lot of respect for those guys," he said of East.
East "is not this bad of a football team," he said. "(they're) young, but dangerous."
To go with his three touchdown strikes, Jerman led the Dragons on the ground with 72 of the team's 117 yards.
Wortman finished with five receptions for a team-high 106 yards.
"He was a difference maker on offense," Wright said.
Willets, on top of several outstanding kick off returns, gained 51 yards through the air.
On the defensive side, McNeal played an outstanding game, Wright noted.
Warren opens the home slate of its schedule with a non-conference tilt with Clarion-Limestone next Friday night.
W-Chris McNeal 1 run, kick failed, 6:32
W-Austin Jerman 21 pass to Mark Davis, Luke Wortman 2-pt. run, 8:52
W-Jerman 34 pass to Jordan Willetts, Ryan Shattuck kick, 4:45
E-Jerman 19 pass to Wortman, Shattuck kick, 1:35
E-Jauwan Ford 39 pass to Jonathan Sanchez, kick failed, 7:25
RUSHING-W-Chris McNeal 10-5, 1 TD, Jordan Willetts 1-17, Austin Jerman 12-71, Matt Falvo 3-(-4), Luke Wortman 3-28; E-Anthony Gates 9-74, Tavaray Carr 1-0, Jauwan Ford 10-30, Tishar Moss 4-20, Doug Barnes 1-2.
PASSING-W-Jerman 11 of 18, 192 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT; E-Ford 7 of 16, 110 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
RECEIVING-W-Wortman 5-106, 1 TD, Cody McGraw 1-8, Willetts 3-51, 1 TD, Mark Davis 2-27, 1 TD; E-Avery Kirskey 2-39, Jonathan Sanchez 3-54, 1 TD, Jarel Nelson 1-11, Moss 1-6.