In a matchup of two rosters and two head coaches intimately familiar with each other, Warner Robins proved to have too much firepower in the end as it hit big plays and pulled away from Houston County for a 38-21 victory Friday at Freedom Field.
After the two teams traded nervous offensive starts, it was Houston County (1-4) that found the scoreboard first on a run by Wesley Steiner. But, in what proved to be a major theme of the night, Warner Robins used a short field to answer just two plays later and tie the score at 7 on a 9-yard pass from Dylan Fromm to Julius Cobbs.
The Demons (4-0) took the lead on their next possession thanks to one of two Julius Burnette touchdown runs, but the Bears turned a 46-yard fake punt into a touchdown run of their own to again tie the score.
Warner Robins took the lead for good on the ensuing drive and then added another crucial three points as time expired for a 24-14 halftime advantage.
Senior C.J. Harris’ interception of Houston County quarterback Max Rigby started the second half and was quickly turned into a 17-point lead on Burnette’s second score. The Bears closed to within 10 once again at the third, but they got no closer as the Demons ratcheted up the defensive pressure and harassed Rigby in the fourth to put the game away.
Three who mattered
Dylan Fromm: The Demons’ quarterback, who transferred from Houston County, finished 19-of-27 passing for 280 yards and three touchdowns.
Max Rigby: Fromm’s opposite number had an accurate night of his own, throwing for 175 yards and a score on 17-of-20 passing.
Jarius Burnette: It wasn’t a huge night yardage wise for the Demons’ power back, but his two touchdowns led the way for a ground attack that was effective when it needed to be.
Trailing by a single score with fewer than two minutes to play in the first half, Houston County couldn’t manage to put a drive together and gave Warner Robins the ball back on the plus side of midfield with 24 seconds to play. Fromm immediately found Seyvoun Talton, who broke tackles and crossed the field for a 42-yard gain to set up a 22-yard Eli Mashburn field goal as time expired.
Young skill: Almost all of Houston County’s offensive output on the night came on the back of a sterling sophomore class. Rigby, wide receiver Isaiah Harris and running backs Steiner and Donavon Mabry accounted for all of the Bears’ three touchdowns.
Patient passing offense: Up against a Houston County defense that gave plenty of cushion all night and seemed to guard against big plays, Fromm turned in an ultra-efficient performance, allowing his pass receivers to make plays with their legs and take what was given.
They said it
Warner Robins head coach Mike Chastain on any special significance to this win: “No, not really. We’re just trying to win ballgames. We’re not worried about Houston County or anyone else. We’re worried about Warner Robins, and that’s it.”
Chastain on Fromm’s efficiency: “They were giving us the short stuff, and that’s what we decided to take. I’m just proud of the way he played and the way the guys stepped up.”
Chastain on his defense’s ability to get pressure, especially late in the game: “They’re in really good shape right now. We’ve just got to come out and play better in the first half as a whole. We’ve got to come out sharper than we have the past two weeks. I want us to put a whole game together.”
Warner Robins travels to West Laurens on Friday, while Houston County hosts Spalding.