Close’s top five games of the fall 2018 season
The top games I saw in the fall of 2018.
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Warren vs. Meadville Football
The Miracle in Meadville. I couldn’t think of any other way to describe this game after watching it. With 1:47 remaining on the fourth quarter clock at Meadville’s Bender Field, the Bulldogs win probability hovered somewhere between 99.9 percent and 100. Then, as they looked poised to take a 2 touchdown lead with 1:47 to play, Warren’s Aidan Morrison stripped the ball at the goal line at recovered it. Two plays later, record-setting quarterback Jake Kupchella, who was bottled up for most of the afternoon and who was briefly knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter, found Devin McMeans for a 61-yard touchdown that got them to within 1, 20-19, with 1:03 to play. Instead of tying the game with the extra point, the Dragons went for two, and Marvin Bryant raced around left end to get it. 21-20 Warren. Meadville’s next offensive play, Alex Anderson picked off his second pass of the quarter, sealing what was an improbable win. It’s one of those games you had to almost see to believe.
Commodore Perry Volleyball
(District 10 first round)
Not content simply being back in the playoffs, the Lady Knights wanted to make some noise, and they did so in dramatic fashion. It was so exciting, in fact, that senior Kiara Weber, who had the clinching kill in the fifth set, said: “I didn’t know it was the final point until I started looking around.” The Lady Knights overcame a slow start, dropping the first set, 14-25, only to come back and dominate in the second, 25-15, and win the third, 25-23. After Commodore Perry earned a 25-19 win in the fourth to force it to a winner-take-all in the fifth. No panic, however, as back-to-back kills by senior Cameran Edwards sent Ike to a controlling 10-4 lead in the fifth, and they were able to close it out from there, 15-8. Currie Hultman, Caroline Hishman, Edwards, Weber, Tess Morningstar and Catrina Edwards all had big moments in a match that helped put EHS volleyball on the map.
Warren vs. Conneaut Volleyball (District 10 championship)
To make the run to states that they did, the Lady Dragons first had to get past Conneaut to win the first District 10 title in program history. It was a moment they had circled, after falling to General McLane in the title match the previous year. It was a taut, well-played final, with Warren edging out Conneaut in the first two sets, 25-23, 25-23. Conneaut came back to win the third, 25-18, a rare setback indeed for a Warren team that had dropped just two sets during the regular season. “We expected a fight for every point,” junior Grace Wortman said. After that, however, a sense of calm seemed to come over them, and they dominated in the fourth, 25-13, capped by an emphatic kill from senior Lydia Latimer. “It was a perfect set,'” Latimer said. “I thought, ‘This is it. I’m going to destroy the ball.” She did, and legendary status was achieved.
Eisenhower vs. Tidioute
The two Warren county foes engaged in a fierce, 5-set battle, one that was back-and-forth the whole way and ultimately pulled out by the Lady Knights. Tidioute took the first set, 25-23, but Eisenhower rallied to take a 2-1 lead. Tidioute forced a fifth set with a 25-19 win in the fourth, but Eisenhower bounced back and was dominant in the fifth to take the match, 25-19. Cameran Edwards, Currie Hultman, Kiara Weber and Tess Morningstar all had big nights for EHS, while Nakiesha Krouse, Shelby Proctor and Brooke Martin paced Tidioute.
Warren vs. Hickory Girls Soccer (D-10 championship)
The Lady Dragons were denied their first D-10 title, 2-1, but this was no doubt one of the best games of the fall of 2018. The favored Lady Hornets, which had outscored its opponents 113-5 coming into the match. Warren played a brilliant defensive game, and, after 56 scoreless minutes at rainy Franklin High School, Kyleigh Wilson sprung Kyra Wotorson and Wotorson did the rest, putting the Lady Dragons up 1-0 with just over 23 minutes to play. It was a stunning turn of events, one that Hickory, to their credit rallied from, tying the game just under four minutes later and taking the lead 14 minutes remaining in the game. While the Lady Dragons didn’t win, this was a big moment for a program that absolutely took the next step in its ascension to one of District 10’s best.