SLIPPERY ROCK - For the first five weeks of the season, the Warren Dragons steamrolled over the competition.
Friday night in Slippery Rock, the roles were reversed.
The undefeated Rockets (6-0) overwhelmed Warren with their option run game and pulled away by halftime during a 42-20 victory over the Dragons (5-1) at Slippery Rock High School.
"They simply imposed their will on us. I don't think that's any secret," said Warren coach Brad Wright. "We didn't play disciplined ball and when you're facing an option running game that's of the utmost importance. Quite simply, we didn't look like a tough team out there tonight."
Slippery Rock showed the ability to do what it wanted offensively early in the game. In fact, the Dragons didn't record their first defensive stop until the opening drive of the third quarter.
After forcing Warren into a three and out on the game's opening drive, the Rockets quickly went to work on amassing what would prove to be over 300 rushing yards.
Just two plays after Austin Jerman's punt, Rockets quarterback Ryan Currie fooled the defense and scrambled 29 yards for a touchdown, giving the hosts the lead. Cole McCandless kicked the first of his six extra points to make it 7-0.
The Dragons responded to Slippery Rock's drive with an impressive drive of their own during the next possession. Chewing up 72 yards in 10 plays, Warren got within one when Jerman connected with Luke Wortman for a 29-yard touchdown strike. Ryan Shattuck's extra point tied the score at 7-7.
As quick as Warren countered to Slippery Rock's first touchdowns, the Rockets did the Dragons one better.
On the ensuing kickoff, Frank Conlon took the ball at his own 8 and sprinted toward the end zone, stopping 92 yards later with the go-ahead score. McCandless' extra point made it 14-7 Rockets with 5:16 remaining in the opening quarter.
After forcing another Warren punt, Slippery Rock doubled its advantage early in the second quarter. Again it was Conlon who did the damage with a five-yard touchdown run that made it 21-7 with 10:34 left in the first half.
Needing another response on its next drive, disaster struck for Warren.
The Dragons fumbled on a second down play for the game's only turnover, setting the Rockets up in prime position to extend the lead. Currie provided the scoring play with an 18-yard touchdown and Warren trailed 28-7 with 7:08 left in the half.
The Dragons did respond with a touchdown on their next drive, scoring when Jerman and Jordan Willetts connected from nine yards out, but the momentum shift would be shortlived.
Chewing up yards on the ground, Slippery Rock took the ball with 3:59 remaining in the half and went to work on scoring before halftime. Jake Whitmer rumbled into the end zone with 48 seconds left in the second quarter and the Rockets led 35-14 at intermission.
Warren finally got an offensive stop with 9:36 left in the third quarter and looked to close the gap with a quick scoring strike. Instead, Warren drove from its own 6 to the Rockets 19 before turning the ball over on downs. Not only did Warren fail to cut into the lead, but six minutes of the second half clock was lost in the process.
After stopping Warren on downs, Slippery Rock put the final nail in the coffin with another long scoring drive. Currie found paydirt for the third time on the night with a one-yard plunge to make it 42-14 with 9:56 to play.
Warren responded with a touchdown with 7:37 left in the game, using a little bit of "trickeration" in the process. Jerman handed to Willetts in the backfield and Willetts rolled right before passing to an open Brad Walters for a 21-yard touchdown. The Dragons failed on the two-point conversion to close the scoring at 42-20.
Jerman finished a busy night passing with 20 completions on 32 attempts for 212 yards. Wortman caught six balls for 94 yards with a touchdown. The running game was paced by the 41 yards of Jerman.
The Dragons are back in action Friday when they visit Corry.
"We've got undefeated Corry and unbeaten DuBois coming for us next," added Wright. "We need to get tough in a hurry."
Warren-Slippery Rock Stats
S-Ryan Currie 29 run, 9:11 (Cole McCandless kick)
W-Luke Wortman 29 pass from Austin Jerman, 5:28 (Ryan Shattuck kick)
S-Frank Conlon 92 kick return, 5:16 (McCandless kick)
S-Conlon 5 run, 10:34 (McCandless kick)
S-Curryy 18 run, 7:08 (McCandless kick)
W-Jordan Willetts 9 pass from Jerman, 3:59 (Shattuck kick)
S-Jake Whitmer 9 run, :48 (McCandless kick)
O-Colebert 8 run (2-pt. run fails), 4:43
O-Coy Hoffman 9 pass from Vaughn (2-pt. run fails), :38
S- Curry 1 run, 9:56 (McCandless kick)
W-Brad Walters 21 pass from Willetts, 7:37 (2-pt pass fails)
RUSHING-W-Jerman 13-41, Chris McNeal 8-29, Wortman 2-26, Matt Falvo 1-1; S-Joey Meyer 10-140, Curry 19-89, Conlon 8-42, Jared McDowell 7-38, Whitmer 2-14, 1 TD, Chris Gaul 1-2.
PASSING-W-Jerman 20-of-32 for 212 yard, 2 TD, 0 INT, Willetts 1-of-1 for 21 yards, 1 TD; S-Curry 1-of-2 for 33 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, Whitmer 0-for 1.
RECEIVING-W-Wortman 6-94, 1 TD, Willetts 5-16, 1 TD, Mark Davis 4-37, Cody McGraw 3-19, McNeal 2-46, Walters 1-21, 1 TD; S-Whirmer 1-33.