General McLane stakes claim to region crown with big win over Warren
Written by: Brian Hagberg on Saturday, October 6th, 2018
EDINBORO, Pa. – General McLane is used to being one of the best teams in District 10.
Since Jim Wells took over as head coach in 1997, the Lancers have gone 126-37.
That’s why the 5-5 and 4-6 records in 2016 and 2017, respectively, had some questioning if McLane could reclaim its spot as top dog in the district.
The Lancers have answered that with an emphatic yes this year.
With a 55-13 win over Warren at Linden Field Friday, General McLane assured itself of at least a share of the D-10 Region 7 title.
Despite the lopsided final, the Dragons held their own against the Lancers for most of the first half.
A 22-yard strike from Matthew Leehan to Nate Jones with just 13 seconds left in the half seemed to quiet any thought Warren had of keeping pace with its hosts. Leehan’s pass went high to the back pylon. The 6-4 Jones was able to leap over Alex Anderson to make the catch.
“We played well. We played with grit and determination and effort for the first half,” Warren coach Mark Morelli said. “We played a better first half than we did last week against Oil City.”
Warren (3-4 overall, 1-4 Region 7) nearly held General McLane (5-2, 5-0) scoreless through the first quarter. With just over a minute to go in the frame, Ben Howe-Jones broke loose for a 52-yard touchdown run to put the Lancers ahead, 7-0.
The Dragons answered right back as Jake Kupchella found Devin McMeans heading towards the left sideline. McMeans shook a defender and raced into the endzone. Kupchella nearly ran in the conversion, but McLane held for a 7-6 advantage after the first 12 minutes.
The Lancers took a more methodical approach as the second quarter got underway. They marched 63 yards in eight plays and quarterback Luke Dillen punched it in from three yards out for a 14-6 lead.
Another big run from Howe-Jones, this one from 31 yards out, put GM up 21-6 with just over six minutes to go in the half.
McLane marched down to the Warren 17, but the Dragons defense came up with a big fourth down stop to get the ball back. A 38-yard pass play from Kupchella to McMeans looked to have the Dragons in business in Lancer territory, but Dalton Stadler burst through the depleted Warren line for a sack of Kupchella on third down to force a punt.
“We missed (Justin) Eck’s and (Collin) Salapek’s bulk,” Morelli said. “Everybody is dealing with injuries, and we need to be able to compensate.”
After the punt, the Lancers turned to Leehan to take over the offense. The sophomore, a more polished passer than Dillen, took GM down the field with his arm. He had completions of 16 and 22 yards before hitting Jones for the scoring strike on a perfectly placed pass.
While the Dragons thought they would go into the half only down 21-6, and playing well despite giving up the two long runs. Instead, the Lancers held a 28-6 advantage and had taken most of the emotion off the Warren sideline.
The Lancers went 80 yards in eight plays to open the second half and Brett Horn capped the drive with a 2-yard plunge to essentially put the game out of reach.
Jared Iavaronne-Campbell had an 8-yard touchdown run with just under three minutes to go in the quarter to put McLane up 42-6 and institute the continuous clock rule.
The Dragons answered a Jaxon Scrutchins 44-yard scoring run with another big pass play. This time, Kupchella hit Ryan Arnold on the right sideline. Arnold avoided a tackle and outran the defense to the endzone.
Leehan had a 7-yard scamper late in the game to close out the scoring.
“We knew they’d be a buzzsaw,” Morelli said. “They and Oil City are as good as advertised and are probably heading for a rematch in the District title game.”
The Lancers severely outgained the Dragons on the ground. Though Warren was more pass heavy than their opponents, GM still held the Dragons to zero rushing yards. Meanwhile, the Lancers ran all over the Dragons defense. They carried the ball 54 times for 507 yards and six touchdowns.
Howe-Jones (120) and Dillen (102) were both over 100 yards, and neither had a second-half carry. Leehan was 3-3 passing for 60 yards and a score.
Kupchella was 10-22 through the air for 207 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Warren certainly missed its two biggest linemen. Eck suffered a knee injury during the game against Oil City, but hopes to be back-at least in some capacity-next week.
Salapek has told the Dragons he’ll be back with them next week. His brother, Hayden, a 2017 Warren alum and 2016 all-region defensive tackle for the Dragons, was killed last weekend in an ATV accident in Indiana. Warren players are honoring Hayden for the remainder of the season with stickers bearing the number 70 on their helmets.
“We’re supporting Collin any way we can,” Morelli said.
Warren travels to Corry next week for a matchup with the Beavers. Corry is coming off a 40-20 setback at Fairview.
The Lancers, meanwhile, have a chance to win the region title outright at Franklin next week. The Knights have a bit of momentum in their own right, having won two straight after a 1-4 start.
Ian Haynes and company will have to be firing on all cylinders to spoil the Lancers perfect run through the region.
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Score by quarters
Warren 6 0 0 7 – 13
General McLane 7 21 14 13 – 55
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G-Ben Howe-Jones 52 run (Luke Dillen kick), 1:05
W-Devin McMeans 57 pass from Jake Kupchella (Kupchella run failed), 0:20
G-Dillen 3 run (Dillen kick), 8:35
G-Howe-Jones 31 run (Dillen kick), 6:06
G-Nate Jones 22 pass from Matt Leehan (Dillen kick), 0:13
G-Brett Horn 2 run (Dillen kick), 7:28
G-Jared Iavaronne-Campbell 8 run (Dillen kick), 2:39
G-Jaxon Scrutchins 44 run (Dillen kick), 10:37
W-Ryan Arnold 52 pass from Kupchella (Sawyer Mohney kick), 8:26
G-Leehan 7 run (Carson Welser kick missed), 2:25
– – –
Team stats W G
Total plays 39 58
First downs 4 20
Rushes-yards 16-0 54-507
Comp-att-int 10-23-1 4-4-0
Passing yards 207 78
Total yards 207 585
Penalties-yards 6-85 4-45
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-0
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Rushing: Warren-Marvin Bryant 9-10, Jake Kupchella 4-(-9), Ethan Benedict 3-(-1). General McLane-Luke Dillen 12-102 TD, Dominic West 10-80, Brett Horn 10-76 TD, Ben Howe-Jones 7-120 2TD, Matthew Leehan 6-58 TD, Jared Iavaronne-Campbell 2-9 TD, Beau Caro 2-15, Carson Welser 2-(-2), Jaxon Scrutchins 1-44 TD, Shamus Ford 1-3, Billy Jukes 1-2.
Passing: Warren-Kupchella 10-22, 207 2TD, Aidan Morrison 0-1 INT. General McLane-Leehan 3-3, 60 TD, Dillen 1-1, 18.
Receiving: Warren-Devin McMeans 4-135 TD, Bryant 2-7, Morrison 2-7, Ryan Arnold 1-52 TD, Alex Anderson 1-6. General McLane-Nate Jones 1-22 TD, West 1-22, Howe-Jones 1-18, Horn 1-16.
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