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Warren closes out its season tonight

Photo by Sierra Matson Warren Area High School senior Warren coach Greg Miller talks with senior James Swanson (5) during Saturday’s game against Moniteau at War Memorial Field. The Dragons (4-3) will end their season at 7 tonight by hosting Sharpsville.

Warren Area High School varsity football coach Mark Morelli put it best when he called this week’s season-ending game “so 2020.”

The Dragons, winners of three straight, were scheduled to play Franklin on Saturday. Sharpsville was scheduled to play Moniteau on Thursday. Both were canceled, possibly because Franklin and Moniteau have switched to virtual education recently due to COVID.

Warren and Sharpsville will now give it a go at 7 p.m. today at War Memorial Field.

“Getting Sharpsville was so 2020 with the way the year has gone with COVID-19 and all the other distractions,” said Morelli. “We must have contacted at least four or five other teams trying to find a game. Once again, it is about adapting and being receptive to the way things change each day.

Jeff White has to be the AD (Athletic Director) of the Year for his work, not only with us, but all of the Warren sports programs.”

Warren started 1-3 and has since defeated Titusville, Corry, and Moniteau.

“Sharpsville is a very deceiving 3-4,” said Morelli. “This is a good football team, very comparable to Conneaut; their four losses are losing twice each to Wilmington and Farrell, two ‘AA’ teams who recently met for the District 10 title. Our coaches felt it was important to give our seniors a final game. We could have just ended things last week with a 4-3 record, but the mindset was this weekend was the final game. That is why we tried hard to get that one final game. Our senior class deserves this. They have done everything we have asked and have a chance to be one of the more successful senior classes to come out of Warren in terms of what they have done on the football field.”

Warren’s three-game winning streak came after lopsided losses to playoff teams, Oil City and Meadville.

“There is a different dynamic with our team these days,” said Morelli. “We still have over 50 kids coming to practice, football is fun, (and) the team camaraderie has been very good. They are a motivated bunch. You can tell from their actions and attitude at practice, they are still very much into playing football.”

That was apparent last week when junior quarterback Landon Douvlos set a school single-game passing mark of 396 yards in Warren’s 47-15 victory over Moniteau. Senior James Swanson had over 200 combined rushing and receiving yards and three touchdowns, and senior Micah Passmore threw a touchdown pass and ran one in. The defense gave the offense good field position many times and had three turnovers.

“The 2020 season has turned out to be better than we thought,” said Morelli. “We have been fortunate that things have come together for us. We have some good, young, athletic kids coming up, but our future hinges on how well we do in the weight room. If we are to return to the playoffs, we have to beat the teams that beat us this past year, Conneaut, Meadville, and Oil City. Those three teams are all stronger then we are. It has always been my philosophy no matter where I have coached, show me a team with outstanding line play and I will show you a successful team. That is where it all starts so, yes, we have some good skill kids coming up, but we need to improve up front. Our linemen need to be ‘workout warriors’ in the off-season.”

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