Big plays send Warren to convincing win over Fairview in opener
FAIRVIEW, Pa. – The 2019 Warren Dragons showed they’ll be just as, if not more, explosive as the 2018 version in a 41-24 win at Fairview Friday.
Quarterback Micah Passmore broke two big touchdown runs and Ryan Arnold had three big returns, one an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the win. The Dragons broke the game open with a 20-point third quarter.
“We knew we were in better condition, we just had to be persistent,” Passmore said.
“We were relentless,” Warren coach Mark Morelli added. “We put a lot of emphasis on our special teams and they were exceptional.”
Warren (1-0) scored on its opening possession, which started near midfield thanks to a big return from Arnold and a personal foul penalty on Fairview (0-1). James Swanson scored the first points of the season with a 5-yard run, and Arnold ran in the conversion to put the Dragons on top, 8-0.
The game slogged down a bit as both teams were able to move the ball somewhat, but couldn’t punch it in.
Passmore’s first big run came just two plays after a Tigers field goal. He took a keeper around the right side and sprinted 70 yards to paydirt. Warren took a 14-3 lead into the half.
“I like to think I can make plays out of nothing,” Passmore said.
The second half started as a defensive slugfest, including a series where Swanson sacked Tigers quarterback Travis Burge, then blocked a punt two plays later.
A 49-yard punt return from Arnold set the Dragons up with a first-and-goal from the 5 and Passmore connected with Swanson for a touchdown on the next play.
Fairview wasn’t about to go down without a fight and Burge split the defense on the next possession on his way to a 41-yard TD run. The 2-point conversion made it a 21-11 game with just under two minutes to go in the quarter.
Arnold immediately swung the momentum back in the Dragons’ favor by taking the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for the score. Kicker Sawyer Mohney took a hard shot on the PAT, but hung in long enough to connect and give Warren a 28-11 advantage.
“We didn’t back down tonight,” Morelli said.
Burge fumbled on the next Tigers possession and Jake Hayes recovered at the 5 to put Warren in business late in the quarter. Passmore scampered in on the next play to make it 34-11 after three.
Burge found Mason Bender for a pair of 20-plus plays, the second a 24-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 34-17.
Passmore immediately responded with another run. This one a 57-yarder around the right end to put Warren up 41-17.
Eli Larson scored from 2 yards out with 30 seconds left to cap the scoring.
Passmore had an impressive performance in his debut as the Dragons starting quarterback. He had 256 total yards and four touchdowns, and gave credit to his line for its part.
“Our line was awesome,” he said. “We never got down on ourselves and were uplifting if we made a mistake.”
“We’ll go as far this season as our line takes us,” Morelli added.
Swanson had 71 receiving yards and a score and 13 rushing yards and a score.
Burge led the Tigers with 276 total yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Larson had 90 rushing yards and a score and Bender had 81 receiving yards and a score.
The Dragons travel to Fort LeBoeuf next week for the Region 7 opener.
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Score by quarters
Warren 8 6 20 7 – 41
Fairview 0 3 8 13 – 24
W-James Swanson 5 run (Ryan Arnold run), 9:04
F-Smith 27 FG, 11:51
W-Micah Passmore 70 run (Sawyer Mohney kick missed), 10:58
W-Swanson 5 pass from Passmore (Mohney kick), 4:39
F-Travis Burge 41 run (Jackson pass from Burge), 2:40
W-Arnold 85 kickoff return (Mohney kick), 2:26
W-Passmore 5 run (Mohney kick missed), 0:17
F-Mason Bender 24 pass from Burge (Smith kick missed), 9:30
W-Passmore 57 run (Mohney kick), 9:07
F-Eli Larson 2 run (Smith kick), 0:31
Total plays 46 59
First downs 8 15
Rushes-yards 27-190 43-203
Comp-att-int 7-19-0 9-16-0
Passing yards 98 135
Total yards 288 338
Fumbles-lost 0-0 3-1
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Rushing: Warren-Passmore 10-158-3, Benedict 4-18, Swanson 2-13-1, Jamo Douvlos 8-8, Kyle Swick 1-0, Carter Pascuzzi 1-(-2), Arnold 1-(-5). Fairview-Burge 23-141-1, Larson 18-90-1, Bender 4-17.
Passing: Warren-Passmore 7-19 98-1. Fairview-Burge 9-16 135 1
Receiving: Warren-Swanson 6-71-1, Arnold 1-27. Fairview-Bender 6-81-1, Danny Fiolek 3-54