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Football Spartans Spear the Warriors

Posted on: October 12, 2021
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James Vandegrift Stadium at Lebanon Middle School served as the battlefield for Friday night’s medieval collision between the Lebanon Warriors and your Turpin Spartans. A long rush hour commute, a sluggish first half, and a 10-7 intermission deficit tested the Spartan resolve to unprecedented proportions. However, another set of stellar halftime adjustments by the Spartan brain trust sparked a 21-3 second half and catapulted Turpin to a 28-13 thrashing of the Warriors.

Nothing causes more chaos and bedlam among the Spartan faithful than opposing defenses stuffing the Keenan Alcalde/Obeastie Boyz running game. Fortunately though, the yellow buses always transport Turpin’s entire artillery for every road game. Who stepped up this week? QB1 Will Schulok showed off his speed around the edge again for Turpin’s first TD, big junior tight end Clark Helgason hauled in huge move-the-chains catches, and Ryan McDole extended his ECC lead in “Moss’ed” touchdowns. And of course, Keenan Alcalde eventually found the end zone twice in the second half behind his Obeastie Boyz.

Despite falling behind 10-7, the Spartan defense successfully pulled up the drawbridge on the Warriors to swing momentum at critical pivot points. Cody Hurst sweeped around the edge for an early first half sack, Trey Carpenter perfectly anticipated and intercepted a slant route, and no game can finish without both a late red-zone stop and a Drew Covington interception. Covington’s late second half pick crushed any remaining glimmer of Warrior hope and signaled victory formation time for Turpin. Not all Spartans escaped the battle unscathed though, as Grady Abbatiello exited the game sporting a new arm sling. As the season moves into money time, more next-man-up performances like Donovan Hice stepping in and locking down the corner for Grady will be paramount.  

 

McCullough’s 2 Minute Drill:

What were your positive takeaways this week?

Coach McCullough: I was very proud of our boys because we didn't play well in the first half, but we responded well to the adjustments at halftime and turned up our game in the second half.  This group has a burning desire to win and sometimes it isn't the prettiest but their will to win helps them turn the game around.

 

What were the biggest halftime adjustments to get rolling in the 2nd half?

Coach McCullough: Lebanon gave us a different look defensively so we just needed time to talk through with the boys and get everyone on the same page.  Football is a simple game, the team that wants it more will go to further ends to win the game.  I believe we just wanted it more than Lebanon, so we started blocking harder, tackling tougher, and just making plays.  

 

Obviously, 3 huge games to finish the season. What are the most important ways the Spartans need to get better for this stretch? 

Coach McCullough: We need to stay healthy and not do things that hurt us. Like penalties, pre-snap mistakes, little things that make the world of difference when you are playing in championship games.  I believe that every game is decided in 5-6 plays.  We need to be the team that is making those plays and not making mistakes in pivotal moments down the home stretch.  

 

What a weekend of football. The Bengals won in national prime time, UC took down Notre Lame, and our dinosaur friends on Forest Road upended Winton Woods. With Kings also clearing the Woods earlier this season, it’s Turpin’s turn this week to flex some old school ECC muscle and continue reclaiming the conference from the Winton Woods. Sparta will surely be rocking Bartels Road when this next cavalry of Warriors arrive, and Friday cannot get here soon enough. Tickets are already selling at a premium on Stubhub, so act fast to secure your seat for the normal 7pm kickoff. 

 

Nothing works unless the linemen do and Go Spartans!