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Dragons roll past Corry on Senior Night

The seniors on the Warren football team have been through a lot.

On Friday, they took the War Memorial Field for the final time and put on one last show for the home fans in a 47-28 drubbing of Corry.

“This senior class had seen a lot,” said Warren coach Mark Morelli. “They’ve been through a lot and they are a key part of the resurgence of Warren football.”

With the win, improving them to 5-3, the Dragons have a good chance to get to 6-3 in their regular-season finale with a win over an injury-riddled Franklin squad next week.

The playoffs are the next step, the head coach confirmed. It will be the first time since 2013 the Dragons are in the District 10 postseason.

But back to Friday.

The Dragons only threw the ball three times. In truth, that’s all they needed to, with the great play of the offensive line and the strong running of James Swanson, Micah Passmore and Ethan Benedict.

Swanson, who returned from injury last week, rushed for a career-high 219 yards on 22 carries, including two touchdowns. Passmore had 113 yards on 11 carries with two touchdowns and also threw an 18-yard score to Alex Anderson. He also intercepted a pass on defense.

It was the senior Benedict who got the scoring started, however. A 30-yard run by Swanson set the ball at the 4-yard line, where Benedict punched it in less than a minute into the game.

After the two teams traded three-and-outs, the Beavers (3-5) elected to kick to speedy senior Ryan Arnold.

Big mistake.

Arnold took it 80 yards to the house, his fifth special teams touchdown of the season.

“They stopped kicking it to him after that,” Morelli said.

Corry got on the board with a Nathan Lesher 5-yard touchdown pass, but Warren responded very quickly.

Still in the first quarter, Passmore raced 57 yards on the second play of the drive to make it 18-7 with 2:33 still showing in the opening period.

Corry responded equally as quickly, with a Lesher to Sam Fisher 72-yard scoring strike to make it 18-14 after one period.

“We were a little lazy with our pass coverage at times,” Morelli said. “That’s something that can’t happen moving forward.”

No matter, as the Dragon offense continued to hum, with Swanson’s 20-yard run setting up Passmore to call his own number, racing into the end zone to make it 26-14.

The two teams traded scoreless possessions before senior Tony Batiste pounced on a Lesher fumble midway through the second quarter.

The Dragons took advantage of the mistake, as Swanson capped a 10-play drive with a short touchdown run to make it 32-14 going into halftime.

“Our guys up front did a good job,” Morelli said. “That was our gameplan going in – we wanted to run the ball and the line played very well. It was a good night to get the ground game going.”

The Dragons imposed their will in the third quarter, as, after forcing a Corry punt, they methodically drove the ball down the field. After lulling the Corry defense to sleep with the running game, Passmore connected with the senior Anderson for an 18-yard score on the 14th play of the drive that wound the clock down all the way to 1:48 in the third quarter.

The defense, while giving up a pair of late touchdown runs by Corry’s Landen Weis, played well.

They were led by Alex Zeigler, who was all over Lesher all night to the tune of three sacks.

Swanson capped the Warren scoring with 10:02 to go in the game, scoring on a 36-yard run after a 21-yarder earlier in the drive. Senior Sawyer Mohney tacked on the PAT.

“In the big picture, a win is a win,” Morelli said. “When you look at it from a coaching perspective, coaches are never satisfied.”

But the one thing players, coaches and everyone around the team can agree on is this is a program that continues to rise.

They will travel to Franklin, minus star quarterback Ian Haynes, in the regular-season finale next Friday, before likely drawing Meadville in the Class 5A playoffs.

“Back-to-back winning seasons, that says a lot about our seniors and about where the program is at,” Morelli said.

– – –

By Quarters

Corry 14 0 0 14 – 28

Warren 18 14 8 7 – 47

– – –

Warren

Rushing: Swanson 22-219, Passmore 11-113, Benedict 10-61, Winters 1-(minus)4

Passing: Passmore 1-of-3, 18 yards, TD

Receiving: Anderson 1-18, TD

Defense: Alex Zeigler, 3 sacks

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