Warrior Run struggles against Central Columbia

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Warrior Run’s Sam Crawford, middle, and Levi Kennel go for a header as Central Columbia’s Will Bodenman tries to defend in the first half at Warrior Run on Wednesday afternoon.

TURBOTVILLE — After a 6-1 start for Warrior Run, the Defenders have hit a bit of a bump in the road and it was evident yesterday. Disappointing sighs, arms thrown up in disgust and irritation with teammates and officials. Though the effort was there, so was frustration as Warrior Run dropped its second straight game, falling to Central Columbia, 3-0, yesterday afternoon.

The Defenders (8-7) had the look of a district title contender in the first few weeks of the season when they started 6-1, but they’re just 2-6 since. Despite the recent struggles, Warrior Run’s spirits are still high.

“The moral is not bad. We know we’re a good team. It’s been a frustrating for four or five games and we got Midd-West coming up and Milton is not a bad team, either,” Warrior Run coach Andy Bieber said. “I don’t think we’re in panic mode yet because we know what’s in front of us. This district still goes through Lewisburg, Midd-West and obviously now Central. No matter where you’re at, you have to beat one of these three teams.”

Playing in the stacked HAC-II and and an even stronger District 4 Class AA field probably has something to do with the recent lows. In the MaxPreps state rankings, Midd-West is the top-ranked team in Class AA, with Central Columbia (12-2) fourth, Loyalsock (12-2) sixth and Lewisburg (9-4-1) 10th. But the Defenders have dropped two straight winnable games to Mifflinburg and Montoursville.

Yesterday, Warrior Run’s touches were just a little off and a disconnect between the midfield and offense was very real and Central pounced on the mishaps and took advantage.

“We’ve had a little bit of a disconnect for the last three or four games and mind you, we have some injuries and we’ve had some kids out for other reasons as well. Tyrese (Hazzoum) missed the last two games, so there’s been some stuff going on,” Bieber said. “Hats off to them, they played a very nice game. They switched the ball well but I thought our backline did very well for most of the game.”

The starting back four of Noah Pick, Zach Schaeffer, Nathan McCormack and Sam Crawford played pretty well. Three of the four were playing out of position as both starting outside backs are out with injuries and one of the starting center backs played with an injury. They did their best to hang with a skilled and very fast Central team, but after letting up a goal midway through the first half, it was two goals within a six minute span early in the second that broke the game open.

“It’s a long season and I’m relying on two freshmen as well and we show our age. We’re a very young team still and I don’t wanna have eyes for next year when there’s promise for this year,” Bieber said. “It doesn’t matter where we end up. If we end up, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh or eighth at districts, we’re still a tough out and no one wants to play us. Again, Central has beat Midd-West, they beat Lewisburg, they have played the big boys and done well. I said at the beginning, one of us four (Central Columbia, Lewisburg, Midd-West, Warrior Run) is going to win this league and they’re (Central) stepping up at the right time.”

Central Columbia 3,

Warrior Run 0

CC– Ethan Heller (UA), 20:04; Holden Hazzard (UA), 46:24; Chris Kern (free kick), 52:13.

Shots: CC 8, WR 4. Corners: CC 1, WR 3. Saves: CC 4 (Gage Darragh); WR 5 (Keegan Jenkins).

Records: Warrior Run (8-7), Central Columbia (12-2).