By Jimmy Stinson
WARNER – The District A-8 battle between the Warner Eagles and the Summit Christian Academy Eagles could be described as a tale of two halves.
The two teams combined for 45 points in the first half and totaled 18 in the second half as Summit Christian outlasted Warner 33-30.
Prior to the season, the Warner Eagles (4-3, 2-1) were not supposed to be undefeated in district play, much less be able to play with the favorite in the district.
“I don’t know that we got beat, so much as we ran out of time,” said Warner head coach Mike Burdge.
Warner started the scoring in the first quarter after the kickoff return by Mekko Washington set up the Eagles at the Summit 37-yard line.
Five plays and 37 yards later, Jacob Crabtree found the end zone on a 15-yard scamper and added the two-point conversion and Warner was up 8-0.
Summit (7-0, 4-0) answered with a 72-yard touchdown drive and most of that came on a 68-yard halfback pass from Jeremy Pellotte to Haden Ferrell. Cameron Gilbert scooted in from one-yard out and with the two point conversion the game was tied at 8-8.
Warner drove the ball to the Summit 28, but on a fourth-down-and six, Bobby Ward was stopped after a gain of four and Warner turned the ball over on downs but the Eagles got the ball right back when Christian Glisson picked off the Gilbert pass attempt at the Warner 40.
Ward directed the Warner offense on an eight-play scoring drive and capped it off with a nine-yard throw to Dakota Tassey and with the two point conversion, Warner led 16-8. The final score in the half for Warner was Crabtree’s 67-yard scamper.
Warner gave up two scores in the second half on drives of 66 and 50 yards. The 66-yard drive was all Gilbert. Four passes and five carries by Gilbert was capped off by a three-yard touchdown toss to Lance Meek.
Gilbert pickied up the last 25 yards on a quarterback keeper for a touchdown on the 50-yard drive.
“They picked up a lot of yardage in the first half on that keeper and the half back runs, but we made adjustments at halftime and stopped those,” Burdge said.
Down by one, 23-22, at the half, Warner came out in the second half and put together the best drive of the night.
The 12-play, 77-yard drive took almost six minutes off the clock, and was a combination of runs by Clint Kite and Crabtree.
Crabtree accounted for three of the plays for 41 yards, while Kite picked up 36 yards on nine carries and capped off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown and with the two point conversion, Warner regained the lead at 30-23.
“These guys are great to have in the backfield, they compliment each other so well,” said Burdge.
Kite, who hada team-high 178 yards rushing and two touchdowns, put a positive spin on the loss.
“We were supposed to be blown out by these guys, but we stuck with them, and that is something we can build on for next week,” he said.
Crabtree added 133 yards rushing on 14 carries and two TDs.
Warner’s defense could not come up with the stop late in the game and gave up a 67-yard scoring drive with 1:11 left in the third quarter. Gilbert connected on two passes and Jake Ryan carried three times, the last being a 9-yard scoring run, and with the extra point by Gilbert, Summit had tied the game at 30-30. Gilbert added the final score with a 23-yard field goal at the 9:51 mark.
Warner had a chance to run the clock and take the lead, and it appeared it would. Warner started the drive at its own 29-yard line, driving the ball to the Summit 10-yard line, but a fumble on a handoff was recovered by Summit and ended the threat.
Warner returns to action next week when it travels to Fairland.