MUNCY With his team off to a 3-0 start with three double-digit victories, Muncy coach Jay Drumheller knew his team was facing the classic trap game on Friday against a 0-3 Warrior Run team, with state power Southern Columbia up next week.
After cautioning his team all week to not look ahead to the Tigers and overlook the Defenders, the Indians got off to a slow start and even trailed after the first quarter.
From there, however, they did not let themselves get trapped any further as Muncy racked up 315 rushing yards, including 127 and four touchdowns by Troy Hembury, and Muncy also picked off Warrior Run quarterback Garrett Moser four times to top the Defenders 38-7.
"Around midweek, I had to remind them with some extra running to try to get focused because it's hard for kids not to look forward," said Drumheller. "Our guys were peeking ahead of Southern online (on the video software) and we had to actually lock them out because they were looking at Southern more than Warrior Run. We knew Warrior Run was going to be tough. Year-in and year-out when we play these guys, it is just a hard-hitting, physical game."
Muncy went three-and-out on its first possession and a 70-yard punt gave Warrior Run the ball at its own 20. The Defenders then proceeded to put together a 15-play, 80-yard drive the spanned 6:16 and ended with an 11-yard hookup from Moser to Nick Rohm to put Warrior Run up a score.
The Indians answered right back with an 80-drive of their own, capped by Hembury's first touchdown run of the night from five yards out. A five-yard false start penalty on the PAT contributed to the miss and Warrior Run held a 7-6 lead after the first quarter.
"We knew they were going to be physical and the question was, were we going to match their physicality," said Drumheller. "Initially, they were physical but we didn't panic and we came out of that ok. It was a tough game, but a good one to get through and now we can focus on Southern."
The Indians gained possession to start the second quarter and marched 72 yards in eight plays, capped by a Hembury four-yard run to take the lead for good, 12-7. Two long completions by Muncy quarterback Anthony Barberio - who threw for 189 yards on just nine completions one for 24 yards and one for 23 yards, were key plays on that drive, which also saw Warrior Run middle linebacker Zach Burrows, who calls many of the signals on defense, get injured, and he would not return.
"It just made us shift people around and do things that we aren't accustom to doing and that's been the story of our year," said Warrior Run coach Mark Burrows, in referencing the injury. "I just told the kids we just have to get better. Our team is a team that has to get better every day. We got better with pass protection. We threw the ball better and caught the ball."
Hembury would then punch in his third score of the night with 1:48 left before halftime to put Muncy up 18-7. That drive started at the Muncy 46-yard line after Hembury made a diving interception of Moser, the first pick of the night for Muncy.
Moser's second interception of the night, this one by Tyler Stepp at the Warrior Run 48, resulted in another Muncy touchdown off of a turnover as the Indians ran the ball eight times out of nine plays to go up 24-7 on Theodore Clark's five-yard run with 2:55 left in the third quarter.
Warrior Run went three-and-out on its next possession and after the Indians took possession at their own 20, they would go 80 yards in eight plays, with Hembury capping the drive with his fourth score of the night a little more than a minute into the fourth.
Muncy later tacked on a 25-yard touchdown run by Manuel Ramos with just under five minutes left. That score also came following an interception, giving the Indians a total of 19 points off turnovers on the night.