West Branch utilizes a team effort to get by Poland; Warriors remain unbeaten

Game of the Week

BELOIT, Ohio (WKBN) – Dru DeShields and the West Branch Warriors move on to play Perry following their 33-21 victory over Poland. DeShields connected on 18 of 26 passes for 203 yards and 2 scores while leading the team in rushing with 126 yards and a score.

The Warriors (12-0) featured a pair of receivers, who caught 6 passes or more, in Nick Wilson (8 catches, 124 yards, 2 TDs) and Jaxon Hendershott (6 receptions for 44 yards). Steven Marra scored twice on the ground while gaining a 4.7 yards per carry average.

After holding Poland on downs to begin the game, West Branch’s Dru DeShields threw a 30-yard touchdown to Nick Wilson to take the early 7-0 lead. The Warriors marched 74-yards on 9 plays, converting both third down plays which included their touchdown toss.

The Bulldogs answered with a long drive of their own. Jack Fulton raced 65-yards to take Poland down inside of the red zone. From there, after a pair of penalties, Fulton took it in from 2-yards away to tie the game at 7.

Steven Marra found paydirt on the Warriors’ first drive of the second quarter. Marra went in from 4-yards out. Key plays on the drive were a couple of 10-yard runs by Marra and DeShields. Also, DeShields found Wilson for a 22-yard gain which put West Branch on the Bulldog-4 yard line.

In the first half, West Branch led 14-7. The Warriors converted 3 of 4 third downs and were balanced on offense by totaling 54 yards rushing and 79 yards receiving. Poland outgained the Warriors in total yardage with 202 compared to 133 yards. The Bulldogs closed out the first twenty-four minutes by being able to move the chains on just 3 of 7 third downs.

Poland opened the second half with an on-side kick which was recovered by the Bulldogs’ kicker Jas Stefancin. However, Poland’s drive stalled and were forced to punt. West Branch began their first possession of the second half from their own 2-yard line. The Warriors methodically traveled 98-yards down the field on 19 plays from scrimmage to score on a DeShields to Wilson, 4-yard pass play. West Branch converted each of their 4 third down plays and were able to move the first down markers 7 times.

The next time West Branch touched the football, the Warriors possessed the ball for 11-plays which resulted in Marra’s second touchdown run of the day. This time from 7-yards out midway through the fourth quarter to extend West Branch’s lead to 20-points (27-7).

Poland answered quickly, on the third play from scrimmage of the ensuing drive, Ross Dedo caught a Fulton offering and raced the distance for 76-yards to close the gap to 27-14.

DeShields failed to convert on 4th down in Poland’s territory to give the ball back to the Bulldogs. Jack Fulton picked up back-to-back first downs on double-digit run plays (23, 13). Three plays later, Dom Parker fell into the end zone for the score that brought the Bulldogs within 6-points of West Branch (27-21).

Poland’s kicker Stefancin attempted another on-side kick. However, West Branch recovered the ball. On their first play, DeShields ran 60-yards to pay dirt to give the Warriors’ the 33-21 lead.

Poland’s Jack Fulton threw for 218 yards and ran for another 171 as he was involved in 44 of the team’s 60 offensive plays. Fulton ran the ball 20 times and finished with 24 passing attempts. The Bulldogs’ season ends at 8-4.

Scoring Chart
West Branch, 33-21 (F)
First Quarter
W – Nick Wilson, 30-yard TD catch from Dru DeShields (Ben Tolson kick), 6:35
P – Jack Fulton, 2-yard TD run (Jas Stefancin kick), 0:21
Second Quarter
W – Steven Marra, 4-yard TD run (Tolson kick), 10:17
Third Quarter
W – Wilson, 4-yard TD catch from DeShields (Tolson kick), 0:44
Fourth Quarter
W – Marra, 7-yard TD run (kick failed), 6:27
P – Ross Dedo, 76-yard TD catch from Jack Fulton (Stefancin kick), 5:59
P – Dom Parker, 2-yard TD run (Stefancin kick), 2:31
W – DeShields, 60-yard TD run (pass failed), 2:13

Individual Statistics
RUSHING: Poland – Jack Fulton 20-171, Dom Parker 8-38 TD, Christian Colosimo 4-16, Dillon Smith 3-7. West Branch – Dru DeShields 18-126 TD, Steven Marra 10-47 2 TDs.
PASSING: Poland – Jack Fulton 13-24-0-218 TD. West Branch – Dru DeShields 18-26-0-203 2 TDs.
RECEIVING: Poland – Ross Dedo 7-165 TD, Alex D’Angelo 3-42, Gavin Wess 1-8. West Branch – Nick Wilson 8-124 2 TDs, Jaxon Hendershott 6-44, Christian Martig 2-18, Steven Marra 2-17

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