Harding aces Ursuline test
Korey Stringer and his family were honored at halftime.
By CHUCK HOUSTEAU
WARREN -- Was the Warren Harding High football team making a statement with its impressive 56-16 win over defending Division IV state champion and Steel Valley Conference rival Ursuline on Friday night at Mollenkopf Stadium?
"It's a statement in that we were using this game against Ursuline as a measuring stick of how good we are after four games," Raiders coach Thom McDaniels said. "We found out that we are a team capable of winning a lot of football games."
So how good were the Raiders?
"They're the best team we've faced since I've been here at Ursuline," Irish coach Jim Vivo said.
On a night when patriotism was first on the minds of the overflow crowd on hand for the game, and when Korey Stringer and his family were honored at halftime, Warren showed that its first three wins by a total of 203-0 were no fluke.
Respect: "This game was about respect," said Warren running back Maurice Clarett, who rushed for 213 yards on 17 carries and scored touchdowns on runs of 54 and 89 yards.
"Their coach [Vivo] didn't give us too much respect," Clarett said. "We knew what we had to do to win and we went out there and showed what we are capable of. We were looking to gain some respect."
The Raiders earned that respect early and often with a quick and tenacious defense that made plays all over the field and with an offense equally as explosive.
In racing to a 35-0 halftime lead, Warren scored on four consecutive one-play drives in the second quarter.
Talent: Warren unleashed an arsenal of weapons that featured not only Clarett but the quarterback tandem of juniors Mike Phillips and Mike Kokal and a myriad of talented receivers.
Phillips threw two touchdown passes to Dave Herron and Prescott Burgess and also ran for one, while Kokal threw a 39-yard scoring strike to Treymayne Warfield just before halftime.
Junior Rob Massucci, a Lakeview transfer, closed out the Warren scoring parade with a 94-yard touchdown run.
"We got contributions from every phase of the game," McDaniels said. "So I'm not surprised by the outcome because even with our backup guys, there was no let up."
Vivo said he was more concerned with getting "out-coached" rather than the play of his football team.
"It's my fault that we weren't better ready to play," Vivo said. "They are a great team and Clarett is a great back, but we're still a pretty good team and I'm sure that we'll bounce back."
Injury: The Irish played most of the game without junior tailback Terrence Graves, who aggravated a hamstring injury. Most of the workload went to sophomores Delbert Ferguson and quarterback Darryl Clark.
Ferguson finished with 132 yards rushing on 29 carries, while Clark connected on 10-of-25 passes for 142 yards.
Ursuline was plagued with five turnovers.
Overall, Warren amassed 504 total yards, with 350 on the ground and 154 through the air.
Phillips completed 6-of-7 passes for 115 of those yards.