A late bomb from Tyler Trimarchi to Evan Popalis helped Warwick shock Manheim Township, 31-28 on Friday, October 14, 2016. Courtesy of LLLeagueSportsVideos.com
NEFFSVILLE — A late defensive stand. A fake punt. A Hail Mary pass.
Sure, the tangible explanation for Warwick’s 31-28 come from behind victory over Manheim Township in Friday night’s L-L Section One showdown involves key third and fourth down conversions and, oh yea, penalties. Lots of penalties.
But the play of the game, no doubt, belongs to Warriors’ receiver Evan Popalis, who snared a 33-yard Hail-Mary pass from quarterback Tyler Trimarchi with 14 seconds left to play, on fourth down no less, to propel Warwick to its first victory over Township in 14 years.
“Evan Popalis, the receiver who caught that touchdown, what a great guy. What a great catch,” said Trimarchi, who finished with three touchdowns through the air on 11-of-18 passing. “When I scrambled to my left I thought maybe there was no one home in the middle of the field, so I looked for Carter (Forney) and Evan was in the same area, he just came down with it.”
“I think I was the only one with both my hands on it,” Popalis said of the four-player scrum in the endzone. “I just brought it in to my chest and held on to that thing for dear life.”
The game-winning drive began at the Warwick 45 after Township (3-1 Section One, 4-3 overall) threw incomplete on a fake punt attempt with 3:18 to play.
On its final drive, Warwick (3-1, 5-2) committed three penalties and Township committed one, but the Warriors converted on fourth down twice, including Forney’s 27-yard grab on 4th and 15 from the Warrior 45-yard line to maintain its hopes.
“It was tough. Penalties, pushing us back,” Popalis said. “Then we got to fourth down a couple of times... and we knew we could handle it, though. We just threw it to our playmakers’ hands; Forney did great, and everyone just did a really good job.”
Township would finish with 12 penalties for 107 yards. Warwick finished with 10 penalties for 100 yards, including a 15-yard penalty that helped Township get to the Warriors’ 36-yard line for the final play of the game.
But Hayden Rucci got his hands on Township quarterback Emge on the Streaks’ own Hail-Mary attempt, the ball falling incomplete around the twenty-yard line.
Forney finished with six catches for 94 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown on a 3rd and 14 play early in the second quarter to knot the score at 7-7. Township, which opened the scoring in the first quarter on Matt Van Gorden’s 15-yard run, answered Warwick’s equalizer on Grayson Sallade’s 73-yard scamper.
Sallade rushed for a game high 197 yards on 17 carries, most of that yardage coming on direct snaps plays. The Streaks’ versatile athlete finished with 230 yards overall including a trick-play pass to Emge, as well as an 18-yard catch.
Warwick would add a field goal later in the second before Emge found Rece Bender on a 26-yard post route with 45 seconds to play in the first half, expanding Township’s lead to 21-10 at the break.
Trimarchi, who rushed for 92 yards on 22 carries to pace Warwick’s ground game, snuck in from the 1-yard line to open the third quarter. Van Gorden (14-62) raced in from the 17 for a 28-17 lead after three.
But Trimarchi led a 14-play drive, aided by three Township penalties, that spanned the third and fourth quarters. Trimarchi threw another third-down strike, this one to Popalis on a six-yard slant, to climb to within 28-24.
“They’re different this year,” said Warwick coach Bob Locker regarding his players. “They have a belief that they’ll find a way to make a play when they need to. I think the wideouts believe in Trimarchi, he believes in the wideouts. The linemen believe if they give him 2.8 seconds he’ll find something to do with it. Sometimes when he moves around in the pocket, he just keeps plays alive and that says a lot about who he is.”
At times, it looked like Trimarchi was scrambling for his life against a formidable Township pass rush. At times the Warriors defense didn’t seem to have an answer for Sallade. But at all times, Warwick seemed to come up with a needed play in what Trimarchi called “the big moment.”
“We love the big moment and we don’t step down from it,” Trimarchi said, “and I think that’s the biggest moment as you’re ever going to have in the L-L football league. We just went out and we got it done.”
Q1 (3:04) – MT, M. Van Gorden 15-yd rush (J. Rodenberger kick), 0-7
Q2 (9:29) – WW, C. Forney 19-yd pass from T. Trimarchi (W. Mobley kick), 7-7
Q2 (8:47) – MT, G. Sallade 73-yd rush (J. Rodenberger kick), 7-14
Q2 (3:27) – WW, FG, W. Mobley 32, 10-14
Q2 (0:45) – MT, R. Bender 26-yd pass from L. Emge (J. Rodenberger kick), 10-21
Q3 (7:59) – WW, T. Trimarchi 1-yd rush (W. Mobley kick), 17-21
Q3 (5:01) – MT, M. Van Gorden 17-yd rush (J. Rodenberger kick), 17-28
Q4 (9:07) – WW, E. Popalis 6-yd pass from T. Trimarchi (W. Mobley kick), 24-28
Q4 (0:14) – WW, E. Popalis 33-yd pass from T. Trimarchi (W. Mobley kick), 31-28
FIRST DOWNS — 16 18
RUSHES / YARDS — 39-143 36-270
COMP / ATT / INT — 11-18-0 5-9-1
PASSING YARDS — 149 84
TOTAL YARDS — 266 341
SACKED / YDS LOST — 3-26 1-13
PUNTS / AVG — 1-46 0-0
FUMBLES / LOST — 1-0 0-0
PENALTIES / YARDS — 11-100 12-107
RUSHING — WW, T. Trimarchi 22-92, I. Rissinger 11-47, N. Fucci 3-8, R. Long 2-1, W. Mobley 1-(-5). MT, G. Sallade 17-197, M. Van Gorden 14-62, L. Emge 5-11.
PASSING — WW, T. Trimarchi 11-18-0-149. MT, L. Emge 4-7-1-69, G. Sallade 1-1-0-15, J. Rodenberger 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING — WW, C. Forney 6-94, E. Popalis 2-39, J. Cruz 1-7, H. Rucci 1-7, T. Gerhart 1-2. MT, R. Bender 2-38, G. Sallade 1-18, L. Emge 1-15, A. Wade 1-13.