by Rick Conrad
For the Pharos-Tribune
Nobody would have imagined the outcome of this one. Winamac at No. 3 in Class A traveling to take on No. 5 West Central in the annual Battle of the Tomahawk.
Each team split two games last year in landslides at the other’s home field. Many thought this was going to be a very tightly played game but the Warriors would have none of that in reclaiming the Tomahawk with a 51-0 thrashing of the host Trojans.
The Warriors’ skill players all had solid nights but the credit has to go to the offensive and defensive lines. The big boys in the trenches got the job done on both sides as the offense constantly opened gaping holes for the backs to run through, and the defense repeatedly found themselves in the Trojan backfield.
“We’ve been working hard all week for this and this was a great team effort. We just tried to go out there and do what we know we can do and we did it pretty well tonight,” said lineman Dalton Button.
Emotions were running high in the early stages of the game resulting in each team fumbling the ball on their opening possession. The Warriors were able to settle themselves and when the Trojans were facing a fourth down on their own 27 and looking to punt, the snap sailed over the punter’s head into the end zone. West Central fell on it for a safety and Winamac took a quick 2-0 lead.
On the free kick Levi Schultz took the ball at the Winamac 40 and had a nice return to the Trojan 32-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage Keegan Kasten broke through the defense picking up 24 yards. Tyler Katschke then took it in from 8 yards out on the next play with 5:47 left in the first quarter. Zachery Markley’s kick was good and in the span of just over a minute Winamac had a 9-0 lead.
West Central was then looking at a fourth-and-16 on its next drive. Trojan QB Hunter Holiday went to the air and Parker Fox was there to pick it off at the WC 24. Four plays later Katschke picked up his second TD of the night when he punched it in from 8 yards out. The PAT was good and with 3:18 left it was now 16-0.
Winamac again found the end zone with 4:16 left before halftime. After West Central had a turnover on downs at their own 26-yard line, the Warriors took just two plays before scoring again. On first down Katschke went up the middle for a 4-yard gain. Facing second-and-6 to go he found a hole and went the 70 yards for the score at the 4:16 mark. Markley’s kick made it 23-0 and that was the score at the half.
The Warriors picked right up where they left off when the second half started. The Warriors took the second half kickoff back to their own 47 to start their drive. It took “The Kat” just one play to cover the 53 yards for the score at the 11:50 mark of the third. Winamac had now stretched its lead to 30-0.
Turnovers again bit the Trojans as they coughed the ball up around their own 40-yard line and Parker Fox scooped it up and returned it to the 16. Three plays later Schultz was the recipient of a 13-yard pass for the score at the 9:05 mark.
Following another turnover on downs the Winamac offense went to work again. The result came three plays later when Schultz broke free from 68 yards out for the touchdown. The point after made it 44-0 with :48 left in the third.
The Trojans again found themselves unable to move the ball and again were faced with a turnover on downs. This time it took the Warriors seven plays before Andrew Risner punched it in from 1 yard out at the 5:43 mark. Markley was again good on the point after giving the fans the 51-0 final score.
On the night Winamac totaled 499 yards of offense to West Centrals 256. Katschke was again the leader with 171 yards gained on 12 carries with 3 TDs in the game. Kasten picked up 79 yards on three carries while Caleb Buchinski in his first game back from injury had 70 yards on four carries. Schultz had 71 yards on two attempts.
Katschke got it done on the defensive side of the ball as well by leading the way with 11 solo tackles.
“The guys up front did a fantastic job. On the defensive side they were changing their defenses a lot and we weren’t adjusting to it. Once we figured out what they were doing the boys adjusted and really got after them,” said Winamac coach Tim Roth. “Yes, once we got settled down the guys on the line played very well. It was a very physical ballgame. When we started the second half and we came out and scored right away I think it was lights out from there. We were just really focused and you could see the frustration on their faces.”