Photos by Gary Nieter,
Senior Luke Adamiec works for yardage after making a second quarter interception.
Photos by Gary Nieter, Times-Union Senior Luke Adamiec works for yardage after making a second quarter interception.
Week nine of the Indiana high school football season is the week league champions are crowned. The Warsaw Tiger football team experienced this thrill for the first time since 2001 with a 35-17 win over the Concord Minutemen Friday night at Fisher Field. The 2020 Northern Lakes Conference (NLC) champs finished the regular season 7-2 overall for the third consecutive season, and 6-1 overall in NLC action.

The Tigers were up 21-3 over their guests from Dunlap when hey coughed up the football at the 50-yard line with 66 seconds left in the first half. This was the start of the perfect storm on a windy Warsaw night because the guest’s potent passing attack is tailored for scoring quickly. 47 seconds later Hunter Dutton (17-38 passing, 225 yards, 2 TD throws), Concord’s stocky junior quarterback, found senior Jack D’Arcy (7 receptions, 110 yards) for a 19-yard touchdown pass closing their gap to 21-10 at the end of the first half.

Warsaw Tiger head coach Bart Curtis said, regarding the end of the first half, “We can’t make things easier. I wanted to get out of the first half 21-3, but we couldn’t do that. We refuse to do that. We refuse to make anything easy.”

The Tigers opened the third frame with their first three-and-out of the game, putting the ball back in the hands of the Minutemen. The guests in green ran a controlled passing attack that churned nearly five minutes off the clock when Dutton found Amarion Moore for a three-yard score to close within the orange and black 21-17 at the 4:43 mark in the third period. The drive was highlighted by a fourth-and-eight on the Tiger 23-yard line when Dutton with D’ Arcy for a 20-yard pass to keep the drive alive.

Warsaw, honoring its senior gridders in pregame festivities, went to its elder statesmen in fine fashion to regain their momentum. Concord put eight defenders in the box on Warsaw’s fourth-and-three at the Tiger 46-yard line; certain they would see a run by either senior signal caller Aaron Green or senior B-back Juan Jaramillo. Greene executed a perfect play-action fake allowing senior four-year starter Luke Adamiec to quickly get behind his defender, smoothly catch Greene’s ball on the fly and beat his man for a 56-yard touchdown catch. Suddenly, after Colton Wampler’s fourth of five extra point kicks on the night, the worm turned and the boys in black led 28-17, maintaining control of the game thereafter.

Tiger senior ballers took Senior Night to heart, reflected by accomplishments among the graduating class of 2021.  Adamiec dove for his second TD catch in the right corner of the end zone from Greene from 16 yards out with 8:30 left in the final stanza to wrap up the night’s scoring, finishing with 72 receiving yards and an interception in the second quarter.

Curtis said, “We had to pull a couple of plays out, but oh my goodness! Luke Adamiec, what a game he had, offensively and defensively!”

Seniors Greene (20 carries, 102 yards, 3-5 passing on 79 yards, 2 TD oases), Jaramillo (24 totes, 96 yards), Patrick Zollinger (3 rushes 46 yards including a 36-yard clutch perimeter run), Mason Martz (interception), Caden Silveus (several pass deflections at cornerback), and linebacker Zach DeFord (his first career interception), and offensive linemen Jacob Hawn, Izak Leach, and Dallas Anders paved the way for Warsaw’s 346 total offensive yards.

The Tigers’ defense made successful adjustments after two consecutive Minutemen TDs. Defensive coordinator Kris Hueber made Dutton uncomfortable with lots of pressure in the pocket, particularly from juniors Kyle Dawson, Luke Anderson, and hybrid linebacker/nickelback sophomore Jonny Burritt. The latter’s return from a lengthy injury was a very welcome one, punctuated with forcing Dutton into an intentional grounding call as the Concord QB was in Burritt’s grasp as he desperately heaved the ball nowhere near any of his eligible receivers on a 4th-and-3 at the Minutemen 47 with 9 seconds left in the third quarter.

Curtis commented, “Coach Hueber and the guys did a good job of mixing things up with coverages and blitzes. We tried to confuse them a little bit. I thought the fact we kept the ball in front of us except for one play. We came up and we made secure tackles and that was huge.”

Commenting on his team’s NLC crown, he continued, “I’m so proud of these kids. They’ve been through so much. It’s been a strange season. It’s ideal for them to win the conference championship. To put it in perspective our offensive coordinator (Bart Curtis’s son, Mike Curtis) was nine years old. it’s an exciting time. We’re certainly proud of our kids and the commitments they’ve made, and the payoff they had from this.”

Warsaw, assigned to class 6A, received a bye in the first week of the IHSAA Sectional playoff round, as all 6A teams do. They’ll host the Summit Athletic Conference runners-up Carroll Chargers (7-2) 7:00 p.m. Friday night, October 30th.

C –       3         7       7      0  -  17

W -      7       14       7      7  -  28  

1ST Quarter

W – Juan Jaramillo 3 run (Colton Wampler kick) 8:21

C – Yordy Amaya-Diaz 26 FG 4:16

2nd Quarter

W – Jaramillo 2 run (Wampler kick) 11:21

W – Julius Jones 13 run (Wampler kick

C – Jack D’Arcy 19 pass from Hunter Dutton (Amaya-Diaz kick) 0:19.9

3rd Quarter

C – Amarion Moore 3 pass from Dutton (Amaya-Diaz kick) 4:43

W – Luke Adamiec 56 pass from Aaron Green (Wampler kick) 1:07

4th Quarter

W – Adamiec 16 pass from Greene (Wampler kick) 8:30