Bittersweet: Kupchella breaks single game passing mark, but Dragons fall to LeBoeuf
What a difference a week can make.
After it’s defense was swarming in an opening win over Fariview, the Warren Dragons allowed 380 yards rushing and committed 13 penalties in a 59-38 setback to Fort LeBoeuf on Friady at War Memorial Field
They were seeking their first 2-0 start since 2013.
For coach Mark Morelli, it all came down to preparation.
“We did not have a good week of practice,” he said. “We listened to all the noise of how good we looked and how well we played.”
The loss overshadowed what was another brilliant, in fact, historic performance from senior quarterback Jake Kupchella.
All Kupchella did was throw for 365 yards – a school record, to go along with four touchdowns (one rushing). Two of those touchdowns went to Ryan Arnold, while Marvin Bryant led the way with 160 yards receiving and another 59 on the ground.
“I think if you talked to Jake, I’m sure when the season’s over he’ll look back on it,” Morelli said. “In the short term, he’s more disappointed that we lost. He’s a team player. It’s great that he got the record, but I’m sure he would have traded it for a win.”
Unlike the defense, Warren’s offense picked up right where it left off last week, as Kupchella threw a pair of long touchdown passes – a 32-yarder to Arnold on 4th-and-22 and a 46-yarder to Devin McMeans in the first quarter.
Sawyer Mohney converted both extra points.
LeBoeuf was stride for stride with the Dragons, and pounced when they made mistakes.
Ben Turi, who had 195 yards rushing on the evening, scored a pair of first quarter touchdowns to keep the score deadlocked at 14-14.
LeBoeuf forced the first punt of the game, and it turned out to be big, because they took the lead on their next drive and never gave it back.
Quarterback Cole Dauson capped a 76-yard drive with a 1-yard TD plunge and, after a Warren fumble deep in its own territory, Julian Vera punched it in from 13yards out.
On the ensuing Warren drive, Devontay Harris jumped in front of a Kupchella pass as Warren was driving and took it to the house, and just like that, it was 34-14 ,visitors.
“I thought we played well on offense, but when your in catch-up mode, you can’t afford any mistakes, and we made a few of those tonight,” Morelli said.
Warren rallied before the half.
After a potential 25-yard score to Arnold was called back by a hold, the junior receiver did one better, making a spectacular catch on a 29-yard TD, leaping over the defender and wrestling the ball away from him to make it 34-20 at the half.
Warren’s best chance to turn the momentum came early in the third, and they were able to do just that, if only for a moment.
James Swanson came up with a big sack to force a three-and-out on the Bisons’ initial drive, and then got a piece of LeBoeuf’s only punt attempt of the night, giving Warren excellent field position at the FLB 31.
It took just one play for Bryant to cut the margin to 8, as he darted untouched up the middle.
But LeBoeuf just continued to pound away with the run game, physically wearing down the Dragons.
Turi and Bryant traded touchdown runs and it was 46-32 before the Bison got a stop and scored again.
“Physically, they took it to us and pushed us all over the field,” Morelli said. “It just shows you what a difference a week can make when it comes to your mental preparation. Instead of doing the things we did to win last week, we went in the opposite direction.”
Trailing 59-32 late in the fourth, Kupchella dumped off a screen pass to Bryant, who nearly took it the distance, finally getting dragged down at the 8.
That throw gave Kupchella the record, which was previously 327 yards by Evan Suppa in a 79-78 win over Meadville in 2014.
Kupchella called his own number for the game’s final score a play later.
After the game, several Warren players, including Kupchella and Aidan Morrison, addressed the team. The tone was positive but forceful.
The Dragons know they have to be better if they want to continue going in the right direction.
“It’s a heck of a lesson,” Morelli said. “We have some leaders and we have some kids that are unsure of themselves. It is encouraging to see Aidan and Jake and those guys picking it up from a leadership standpoint.”
Both teams are 1-1 overall, and Warren travels to DuBois next week for their first road trip of the season.
– – –
Fort LeBoeuf 14 20 6 19–59
Warren 14 6 12 6–38
W – Ryan Arnold 32 pass from Jake Kupchella (Sawyer Mohney PAT), 8:46
F – Ben Turi 11 run (Adam Scarpino PAT) 6:38
W – Devin McMeans 46 pass from Kupchella (Mohney PAT) 4:03
F – Turi 5 run (Scarpino PAT) :28
F -Cole Dauson 1 run (PAT failed) 7:46
F – Julian Vera 13 run (Scarpino PAT) 4:12
F – Devontay Harris 62 interception return (Scarpino PAT) 3:05
W – Arnold 29 pass from Kupchella (PAT failed) :46
W – Marvin Bryant 31 run (2-point conversion failed) 9:27
F – Turi 29 run (PAT failed) 7:37
W – Bryant 5 run (2-point conversion failed) 5:17
F – Tynan Mazur 12-run (2-point conversion failed) 9:55
F – Dauson 1 run (PAT blockeD) 6:14
F – Mazur 20 run (Scarpino PAT) 2:32
W – Kupchella 8 run (2-point conversion failed) 2:06
– – –
First downs 21 17
Total Net Yards 435 474
Rushes-yards 56-380 16-109
Passing 55 365
Comp-Att-Int 4-5-0 18-30-1
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-1
Penalties-Yards 5-50 13-100
RUSHING– Fort LeBoeuf: Turi 27-195, Mazur 14-107, Vera 6-69, Endres 2-10, Dauson 5-1; Warren – Bryant 7-59, Passmore 4-35, Kupchella 5-15
PASSING–Fort LeBoeuf: Dauson 4-of-5, 55 yards; Kupchella 18-of-29, 365 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT; Morrison 0-for-1
RECEIVING–Fort LeBoeuf: Turi 1-25, Mazur 1-15, Harris 2-15; Warren: Bryant 6-160, Arnold 3-75, McMeans 3-62, Morrison 1-32, Anderson 2-19, Passmore 3-16
Interceptions: Fort LeBoeuf: Harris 1