Cats Run Over Versailles On Way To 2-0

Adam Dean Howe
Enterprise Staff
Cats Run Over 
Versailles On Way 
To 2-0
The Wildcats are yet to trail in their first two games of 2020 after scoring first and jumping out to another early lead by ripping off 3 first half touchdowns on their way to a 42-14 drubbing of Versailles on the road last week. 
Much reminiscent of the start of last week’s victory, the Warsaw (2-0) defense held the Tigers to a three-and-out on their first possession and after a shanked kick by the Versailles punter, the Wildcats began their inaugural drive on the Tigers side of the field at their 39 yard line.  An encroachment call gave the Wildcats 1st and 5 at the 34 and quarterback Brady Slavens ran for 10 yards and a first down.  That drive would end when running back Cameron Seevers eventually took the pigskin into the endzone for an 11 yard touchdown run.  Seevers also crossed the goal line for the 2 point conversion and with not even four minutes run off of the clock, the Wildcats took an 8-0 lead.  
The ensuing Tigers’ drive was stopped by a Tim Burkhart sack and Warsaw would take over again on their own 35 yard line.  Justin Martin ran for a 20 yard gain on first down but four uncharacteristic penalties would halt that Warsaw drive as it ended in a 34 yard Jack Gardner punt.  
The Wildcats defense stood tough on their next outing by holding Versailles to another three-and-out and after another Tigers’ punt, Warsaw took over at the 43 yard line of Versailles.  More penalties tried to put a damper on the Wildcats possession, but Slavens would not be denied a score as he capped the drive with an 11 yard touchdown run off of the right side.  Two more penalties pushed the 2 point try back to the 13, Slavens pass attempt to wide receiver Tayten Boyer was knocked down by the Tigers, but Warsaw extended their advantage to 14-0.  
The miserly defense of the Wildcats applied pressure on the offense of Versailles (0-2) on their next possession, forcing another three-and-out and another punt by the Morgan Countians.  On the punt, the snap sailed over the head of the kicker, the Wildcats raced to down him at the 33 yard line of the Tigers and that’s where Warsaw would set up shop on another short field.  The Wildcats would have a touchdown pass from Slavens to Zack Sharp nullified by a false start but after a 27 yard first down run by Slavens, he would find paydirt again on a 7 yard touchdown romp.  Martin would cap the drive with the 2 point conversion as the Cats extended their lead to 22-0. 
With just over 3 minutes left to go in the half, the Tigers would start their final possession of the first half from the Warsaw 42 yard line.  On 3rd and 6 from the 38, the Wildcats held but the drive was extended on a personal foul.  The Tigers would eventually score on a 4 yard run with 0:24 remaining.  The point after try split the uprights, but Warsaw held the 22-7 halftime lead.  
“We had some penalties slow us down in the first half,” Coach Ryan Boyer said.  “It’s hard to get in a rhythm when you continue to push yourself back.  We’ll clean that up this week though and look to be better there next week.” 
After deferring to the second half, Warsaw took the kick to start the final twenty-four minutes of play and began their opening series at their own 27 yard line.  The Wildcats went on a 9 play drive, highlighted by four first down runs, that ended in another touchdown run by Seevers, this time on a 1 yard plunge.  His 2 point conversion run was stalled but, by controlling the line of scrimmage once again, the Wildcats stretched their lead to 28-7 with 7:50 left to go in the third.
After having success in week one, the kickoff unit of the Wildcats was successful on another onside kick when Cohen Walton’s kick bounced just right and Gage Whitaker came up from the bottom of the pile with the ball for Warsaw.  The Cats would begin their drive at the 42 of Versailles, but things went south just three plays later when a snap was mishandled by Slavens and recovered by the Tigers, giving the ball right back. 
The highlight for the Versailles crowd came on their next drive when they were successful with a swing pass towards the Tigers sideline.  The catch was made by the Versailles wideout, he dodged two Warsaw defenders and raced down the home sideline for a 46 yard touchdown.  The PAT was good again as the Tigers cut their deficit to 28-14.
The Cats would answer on their next drive though, starting at their own 33 yard line.  On first down, Martin would run for 11 yards and a first down.  Consecutive runs of 5 and 6 yards by Cameron Taylor and Martin would pick up another first down and then Seevers would add yet another with a 21 yard run on the next play that took the ball to the Tigers 24 yard line.  Martin would cap the drive with a 24 yard touchdown run around the left side of the line for his first score of the night.  Slavens would hook up with James Kellner in the back of the endzone for the 2 point conversion and Warsaw was in control by a score of 36-14.  
Going for the jugular and catching Versailles completely off-guard, Walton and the Wildcats would execute on another onside kick, this time with the recovery by Shane Ashlock at the Tigers 47 yard line.  Warsaw would get runs of 5 and 17 from Seevers and then an 11 yard first down run by Taylor before the clock would expire on the third quarter with the Wildcats still leading, 36-14. 
“Special teams really came up big for us again this week, especially our kickoff unit,” Boyer added.  “When they can do that, and put us on a short field, it keeps our guys off of the field for extended drives and just makes them that much better.”
From the Tigers 18 yard line, Taylor would pick up another first down on a tough run that took the ball to the Versailles 8 and just two plays later, Martin would hit the jackpot again on a 6 yard touchdown run.  The pass from Slavens to Sharp would fall incomplete for the 2 point conversion, but Warsaw was running away with this one by putting 42 points on the board for the second straight week, with a 42-14 lead. 
The Cats held Versailles to another three-and-out and that drive proved to be it for most starters on the field as both teams began to empty their benches. Warsaw would chew up most of the fourth quarter with it’s offensive reserves and the Tigers would have one more possession to wind things down as the horn sounded and benches cleared as the Wildcats raised their helmets to another victory, 42-14.  
“After getting off to a little bit of a rough start, we were pleased with the way that our kids handled a little adversity in the first half and then bounced back and cleaned it up in the second,” Boyer commented.  
Warsaw outgained the Tigers by a 439-140 margin in total yards, with all but 3 of those yards coming on the ground for the Wildcats.
Martin led the potent early season offense for Warsaw by gaining 153 yards on 20 attempts.  
Slavens went for 120 yards on 17 carries and was 1 for 3 passing for 3 yards. 
Seevers and Taylor contributed 79 and 57 yards, respectively, each on 10 rushing attempts and Nick Bagley chipped in 20 yards on just 3 attempts.  Oliver Robertson rounded out the Cats offense with 7 yards on 1 rushing attempt late in the fourth. 
Martin, Slavens and Seevers all had 2 touchdown runs apiece.  
Kellner was the recipient of the lone Slavens completion for 3 yards, but it was good for a successful 2 point conversion in the second half. 
Kellner led the defense with 6 tackles and also had 1 pass breakup.  Burkhart was close behind with 5 tackles, including 2 sacks of the Tigers quarterback.  Taylor had 4 tackles for the Cats, while Martin, Bagley and Logan Strunk had 3 apiece.  Whitaker and Ashlock both had fumble recoveries for the Wildcats. 
Warsaw will prepare this week to take on the Vikings of Midway in their 2020 home opener at Randy Morrow Field on the campus of WHS.  Midway (0-2) has opened their season with losses to Lincoln (18-6) and Princeton/Mercer (38-19).  That game is slated for a 7:00pm kickoff and can also be seen on BCE TV. 
Due to the coronavirus and uncertainties, the Wildcats home opener will also represent Senior Night for the Class of 2021.  Those seniors on the football team include: Zach Sharp, Justin Martin, Shane Ashlock, Tim Burkhart, P.J. Landsberg, Kolton Krueger, Logan Strunk and Grady Miller.