Surging Warriors hold off pesky Lower Moreland
A year ago, things were much different at this point.
Bristol has been through two tough football seasons recently, the worst of which arguably came in 2011. Last October, the Warriors finally got into the positive side of the win column with a 4714 home victory over Lower Moreland.
The Warriors did go on to win three of their last four contests, but still mustered only a 3-7 mark after going 4-7 in 2010, a campaign that included a shutout loss to the Lions.
That’s what made this season’s Oct. 20 matchup with Lower Moreland a complete contrast to that situation. This time around, Bristol was on a roll heading into the game, one which was going to go a long way in determining this year’s Bicentennial Athletic League (BAL) title.
It wasn’t pretty, nor was it easy for the Warriors at a place that has given them trouble over the years. vet, Bristol came up with just enough offense to complement several big plays on the defensive side to escape victoriously, 14-10, on a trip to the Lions’ den for the first time since 2007.
“Just total team effort, between the coaching staff putting good game plans in, and the team executed it, for the most part,” said Warriors coach Leo Plenski.
The win gives Bristol two in a row in the series, but more importantly, improved it to 6-1 overall on the season. That mark also includes an unblemished record in the BAL, which is good enough for at least a share of the conference title.
And, that’s with three games still to go in the regular season.
“To be honest with you, after the first week, it kind of made us step back and reevaluate what we had, said Plenski.
Indeed, there were questions following a 38-20 sea- son opening loss to Communications Tech. Since then, however, the Warriors have found a rhythm on both sides of the ball and have given up no more than 16 points in a given game since.
That defensive consistency has kept Bristol in control of all of their contests, though the Warriors were certainly tested by the Lions. The offense proved to struggle in the second half without Donte Simmons, their outstanding sophomore running back who had over 450 yards on the ground in their previous two games.
Simmons was nursing an injury that prompted the Warriors to keep him out of action against Lower Moreland, and his absence created a challenge for the offense, which churned up just 39 yards in the second half while giving the ball away to the Lions three times. Even that, however, wasn’t enough to make the defense cave. On those three turnovers, the Warriors surrendered just three points, and actually came up with a pair of takeaways of their own.
The big play came early in the final quarter during a potentially game-changing drive spawned by a fumble from Warriors fullback Willie Sutton. Lower Moreland pounded down the field and got inside Bristol’s 10 yard line when a penalty backed them up. A play was then called for running back Ryan Killion, but while he was pounding for yardage, senior defensive back Sean Coughlin pulled the ball out and darted away for a return that went nearly 90 yards.
“He was holding the ball out, and I stripped it and took off,” recalled Coughlin of his play, which was set up by Kieran Greenfield and Markell Snell wrapping up Killion enough for him to come in.
Coughlin’s return set the Warriors up from the Lions’ 5 yard line, but they were turned away on another fumble on fourth-and-goal. This one came from Greenfield, who is normally an of- fensive/defensive lineman but lined up at fullback for two plays on the afternoon. His other carry was a 2-yard touchdown plunge to open the scoring.
This one, though, gave the Lions one more chance with 6:33 remaining. From their Please see the rest of this
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The Warriors’ offense struggled at times last Saturday at Lower Moreland without standout running back Donte Simmons, seen here in the win at home over Pennington.