Behind the direction of third year Head Coach Ed Redmond and his staff, the Warriors were ready to play and they delivered.
By David Wagner
The Western Albemarle varsity football team opened the 2014 season at home August 29 against the Spotswood Trailblazers with a 23-15 win. After graduating 22 seniors from last year’s squad there was plenty of anticipation to see what the 2014 team would look like.
Western received the opening kickoff and, following penalties on the first two plays, found a rhythm in the running game. After rushing for three first downs Western faced a second and five at the Spotswood 43-yard line. Junior quarterback Sam Hearn handed off to junior wide receiver/running back Henry Kreinenbaum, who slashed through the Trailblazer defense for a 43-yard touchdown run. Holland Corbett’s extra point was good and the Warriors led 7-0.
Western’s defense didn’t waste time making an impact either. On Spotswood’s first possession the Warrior defense gave up only five yards and that was an offsides penalty. On fourth and five at their own 27 yard line the Trailblazers lined up to punt. Junior defensive lineman Osi Crutchfield broke through the line and blocked the kick, giving Warriors the ball at the Trailblazer’s 14 yard line. The Warriors came away with a 29-yard Corbett field goal.
Spotswood then fumbled on the kickoff, giving the Warriors the ball again at the Trailblazers’ 39 yard line. The Warriors were unable to take advantage of the miscue and had to punt four plays later. The remainder of the first half was a stalemate and Western took a 10-0 lead into halftime.
Spotswood opened the second half with an impressive 11-play, 65-yard drive that ended with a 27-yard field goal to cut the Warrior lead to 10-3. Nine of the 11 plays were runs, with one incomplete pass and the field goal attempt.
But the Warrior offense responded quickly and scored just three plays later. On second and three Hearn faked a handoff and found Kreinenbaum on a quick slant for a 67-yard pass that put the Warriors up 17-3.
A couple of possessions later Spotswood answered the Warriors, putting together another solid drive, covering 58 yards on nine plays. After a key pass interference call on the Warrior defense, the Trailblazers punched into the end zone three plays later to cut the lead to 17-9. It was the passing game that produced big plays for Spotswood on this drive.
Western started their next drive on their own 10 yard line with 8:39 to play in the game. Again, the Warriors answered the Trailblazers’ touchdown with a quick score. On third and one at the 19 yard line, senior Oliver Herndon took a handoff from Hearn and raced 81 yards for a touchdown, stretching the lead back to 14 points, 23-9. Corbett’s extra point kick was no good.
But Spotswood wouldn’t go away. Facing first and 15 at their own 31 following a false start penalty, Kahlil Davis made another big play for the Trailblazers. Speedy and elusive, Davis took a hand off and then threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open receiver to make the score 23-15 with 7:07 to play. The Spotswood defense then forced the Warriors to punt.
Then Herndon made another big play for Western, this time on defense. He intercepted the Spotswood quarterback on a long pass, giving the ball back to the Warriors with 4:26 left in the game. But the offense had to punt again from deep in their own territory, giving the Trailblazers great field position.
Spotswood started the drive at their own 47 with 2:37 to play. They benefited from a holding penalty on first down and followed it with a 33-yard pass play for a first down at the Warrior 31 yard line. After three straight incomplete passes Spotswood called timeout, facing fourth and 10 with 1:49 to play. The Warrior defense got good pressure on the quarterback, forced another incomplete pass and sealed the victory.
Henry Kreinenbaum finished the game with two TDs (one rushing, one receiving), four carries for 56 yards and two receptions for 76 yards. Herndon carried the ball 16 times for 161 yards and a touchdown and Hearn was 3 for 10 passing, for 80 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Hearn’s numbers weren’t great, but he didn’t turn the ball over and the Warrior defense managed to get two takeaways and the blocked punt.
As long as they can run the ball effectively, Hearn won’t have to make as many plays in the passing game, but he is quite capable. It was a solid performance for his first start. The Warriors host Waynesboro September 5 at 7:30.