Connor Scott takes the ball downfield to start a Burgher drive during Warrensburg’s 48-35 victory Oct. 22 over Bishop Gibbons. This win, followed by their Oct. 29 defeat of Granville, testifies to why the Burghers are now ranked third in Section II, spanning all classes, in rushing yardage for 2011. Their aggressive ground offense relies on a double wing offense, in which players merge into a wedge formation and crash through the defensive line.
Warrensburg’s powerhouse running attack, newborn confidence and will to win racked up a season-concluding victory Saturday, Oct. 29 against Granville, a larger Class C school.
“We were confident we could win, and we played well,” coach Mike Leonbruno said after the solid 52-36 win over the Golden Horde.
The Burghers’ strategic double wing offense, which jams a wedge of players surrounding a running back through the opponents’ line, was again productive — as it has been in recent weeks.
With no less than seven touchdowns Saturday, the Burghers moved even higher in the regional rankings for offense.
In an unofficial survey, the Burghers are third in Section II for yardage gained in rushing in the 2011 season.
Leading the charge against Granville was Lucas Nelson with 163 yards and four touchdowns, followed by Kalvin Duell with 139 yards on 11 runs, and quarterback Malachai Prosser with 75 ground yards on seven carries. Major contributions to the win included a reception by Hunter Werner for a 46-yard touchdown, a 46-yard touchdown run by Prosser, and a 19-yard touchdown by Andrew Fish.
With this final game in the win column, Nelson tallied more than 1,200 yards for the season, and earned a spot in local gridiron history.
The Burghers’ achievements for 2011 don’t stop there. They’ve made the most remarkable football season comeback in recent history.
Instead of collapsing after starting out 2011 with four losses, the Burghers fought back with an impressive 4-1 conclusion.
The affable Burgher coach said he was impressed with the team’s character to rebound as it had during 2011.
“If we were in the playoffs right now, we’d be going pretty far,” he said. “We knew we were a good team from the beginning, but we had to gain confidence, and get our game going.”
Saturday, Oct. 29, there was no question the Burghers had it together. They had eight different running backs, racking up more than 400 rushing yards.
They scored on all drives but two, which ended with fumbles.
The beefy offensive line did their work opening up holes for the runners to have solid gains almost every play.
Leonbruno praised the Burgher seniors, who concluded a memorable season that shows considerable promise for next year.
Leonbruno said that in 2012, he’ll miss seniors Lucas Nelson, Kalvin Duell, Jeremy Barber, Hunter Werner, Charlie Giknis, Gabe MicGlire, Andrew Fish, Jon Vaisey and Matthew Bonk.
“They’re a great bunch of guys,” he said. “But next year we’ll also have a very good team — we have players that should be ready to step up and take the seniors’ places.”
Leonbruno said he’s happy the team now has confidence they can persevere and win — a new attitude he’s seen during his four-year coaching tenure.
“I know we can build on this new attitude, and turn things around,” he said.