By Shawn Stinson, Moorefield Examiner
MOOREFIELD – When Moorefield and Southern Garrett lined up, it was two teams looking in the mirror.
Both rosters featured more sophomores and freshmen than juniors or seniors. But it was a junior who led Moorefield to a 21-7 victory against Southern Garrett at home. Adam Landes rushed for three touchdowns and a game-high 116 yards on 14 carries in the win.
The Yellow Jackets improve to 2-1 on the season and extended their winning streak to two games. Southern Garrett drops to 0-2 on the year with the loss.
“We try to make sure we fix our mistakes from the previous week and also work on our strengths each week as well,” Moorefield coach Matt Altobello said. “Credit to our coaches because they had a heck of a halftime adjustment from the guys up top to [the ones] on the field. They did a great job getting us in the right spot offensively.”
Landes broke a 7-all tie with a 3-yard run in the opening moments of the second quarter. Moorefield forced a fumble by Southern Garrett quarterback Tripp Wolf at the Ram 21. Landes rushed for seven yards on the initial play of the drive. Junior quarterback Tyson Arnold was stuffed for a 1-yard loss on the first play of the second quarter. Junior running back Alexander Miller rambled to the Southern Garrett 3 to set up Landes’ go-ahead score.
Miller rushed nine times for 57 yards, while Arnold had five carries for 31 yards.
Moorefield had an opportunity to add to its lead on its next possession following a three-and-out by Southern Garrett. The Yellow Jackets began their next drive on their own 33. Arnold broke free for runs of 14 and 41 yards to move Moorefield into the red zone at the Southern Garrett 15. After Landes was stopped for no gain on first down, the Yellow Jackets began moving in the wrong direction. Moorefield was flagged for penalty on a pass play that would have resulted in a first-and-goal from inside the 5-yard line. Arnold was sacked for a 15-yard loss. The Yellow Jackets were then penalized for a false start, pushing the ball back to midfield and forcing a third-and-45.
“When we get inside the red zone on a nice play and a block in the back brings us back,” Altobello said. “Then we bust a coverage, but they played great defense when we were trying to run a screen. At that point, we have to get out and throw the ball away. Mental mistakes happen, but the best thing was we had zero turnovers. We had seven in the first two games, and we cut it to zero.
“We made a big focus on that and take big pride in that. It is something we have to do continue to get better with and continue to move forward with.”
Landes sealed the victory with his third rushing score of the contest on Moorefield’s first possession of the second half. Landes’ 22-yard score capped an 8-play, 71-yard drive that took nearly 4 1/2 minutes off the clock. The Yellow Jackets converted two third-down plays on the possession. Arnold connected with sophomore tight end Chayse Myers for a 17-yard pass play on third-and-5 from the Moorefield 34. Landes scamped into the end zone on a third-and-4 play.
The Yellow Jackets had another scoring opportunity in the fourth quarter when they marched deep into Rams territory but were unable to put any points on the scoreboard. Moorefield faced a first-and-goal from the Rams 9 before penalties and negative running plays pushed the team back to the 29. Kyle Molen, who connected on all three extra-point attempts, missed on a 40-yard field goal.
Following its scoring drive, Southern Garrett was limited to 41 yards of total offense the rest of the contest. Altobello said his defense utilized different schemes to stop the Wing-T offense by the Rams.
“We made a couple of adjustments as we were going on,” Altobello aid. “We played a couple of different coverages that we really hadn’t played before. Credit to our guys because they changed on the run which is awesome. We trust them on the backend to able to play those different coverages and be able to be in the right spot.
“Our defensive line had a couple of mishaps last week as far as missed assignments in their gaps and they came out this week and did their job.”
Landes opened the scoring by breaking loose for a 56-yard run on the fourth play of the game before the Rams responded to tie the game on their first drive of the game. Senior running back Gavin Warnick sprinted 18 yards into the end zone to cap a nine-play, 66-yard drive. Southern Garrett converted two third downs on the possession, the first was on an offsides penalty by Moorefield. The second came when Jackson Savage rushed for 6 yards on a third-and-5 at the Yellow Jacket 35.
“They executed and we did not,” Southern Garrett coach Jon Nazelrod said. “That’s the name of the game. I don’t want to make any excuses. We are going to go back to work and fix everything that was done wrong and hopefully next week we are competitive against Fort Hill.”
Nazelrod credited Altobello and his staff for doing a good job of scouting his team and making it difficult to run their offense.
“Moorefield is very well-coached,” Nazelrod said. “He’s very good at finding where he needs to put a stop to plays.”
Moorefield will look to stretch its winning streak to three games when it travels to Strasburg, Virginia at 7 p.m. Friday for a matchup with the Rams. Strasburg improved to 2-1 on the season with a 33-13 victory over Warren County (Virginia) on Sept. 9 in Strasburg.
Sophomore running back/cornerback Takhi Coates scored three touchdowns and senior quarterback Ryan Roller accounted for two touchdowns in Strasburg’s win over Warren County. Coates returned the second-half kick 85 yards for a touchdown. He also scored on a 10-yard run and returned an interception 41 yards for a touchdown to lead the way for the Rams. Roller scored on a 26-yard run and passed for a 4-yard touchdown to junior tight end Walker Conrad.
Altobello said his players are excited to cross state lines to battle Strasburg.
“Our guys really look forward to a challenge” he said. “They look forward to getting better day-in and day-out to be to go face a quality team week-in and week-out.”