By JASON STRICKLAND
(EXCELSIOR SPRINGS)—With several new faces in the starting lineup for the Warrensburg Tiger football team, it was a struggle Friday during the opening game of the season at Excelsior Springs.
The 42-0 blowout was not how head coach Scott Grinde wanted to start the season. He said it would be difficult to find any positives out of this game, so he would look at the film to see what specific areas the team needs to improve on.
Grinde was coaching against a former player of his in Andy Sims. Grinde was an assistant coach for the Central Missouri Mules when Sims was a linebacker.
The Excelsior Spring Tigers scored two touchdowns in the first three minutes of the game, as part of a 21-point first quarter. Excelsior Springs added another touchdown in the first quarter and another in the second to make it a 28-0 score at halftime
The Warrensburg defense improved as the game went on, allowing only two touchdowns in the second half, but the offense was never able to get a complete drive together.
Senior quarterback Brett Marr, starting for the first time at the varsity level, struggled most of the game. He did not have much protection from the offensive line, which is only returning one starter from a year ago.
Sophomore running back Zach Nowlin, who was a kicker and punter last season, did not find many holes to run through, but did have a couple of good runs, including a 17-yard scamper on the final play of the first half.
As for the Excelsior Springs Tigers, they were able to get their two-quarterback rotation working with seniors Alex Vanfossan and Austin Lewis. Vanfossan was mainly the pocket passer, and Lewis was the running quarterback.
Excelsior Springs was able to run wide receiver sweeps throughout the game with a lot of success. Warrensburg also had a difficult time in stopping senior running back Sylvestor Harbour III.
Warrensburg missed a chance to score in the first half when Marr was unable to connect with senior wide receiver Ozan Tarim, who beat the defender deep down the field.
On the final drive of the game, Warrensburg came close to the red zone, but decided not to take a shot to the end zone before the clock ran out.
Warrensburg will play Pleasant Hill in its home opener next Friday. The Roosters are coming off a 24-3 loss against Smithville.