Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
KEOSAUQUA - Van Buren County had to scrap and claw all night long to hold off rival Cardinal on Homecoming night, but the Warriosi had just enough for a six-point win.
Van Buren County knocked off Cardinal 22-16, the first time the Warriors have beaten the Comets on the football field since 2017.
“It felt amazing,” said senior running back Sam Warth, who found the end zone three times in the win. “I'm just glad we could pull it off as a team.”
The two teams battled on a rainy Friday night in Keosauqua, and it was a struggle to get into the end zone for both teams. After one period of play, the two teams were stuck in a scoreless tie.
The Warriors struck first. Van Buren County scored on a short TD run by Warth, set up by a pair of deep balls from Jackson Manning. Manning punched in the two-point conversion, and it was 8-0 midway through the second period.
Cardinal tied it up before halftime on a 12-yard end-around by Chase Johnson. Quarterback Tatum Telfer returned the two-point favor by getting in himself, and it was 8-8 at the half.
The third quarter belonged to Van Buren. A Dylan Richardson interception set up another touchdown by Warth to start the second-half scoring. Manning punched it in for two again, and it was 16-8.
Warth’s third score of the day would come after another takeaway, as Duncan fell on a Cardinal fumble late in the third. The Warrior offense took the ball to the goal line and the senior running back made it 22-8.
“It was just a great team effort,” said Van Buren County head coach Brian Johnson. “Offense, defense, just a great way to come out and start that second half.”
Cardinal sure made it interesting in the fourth quarter. The Comets forced a fumble inside the Warriors’ 20, which Isaac Cox fell on at the 18. That set up a two-yard touchdown run by Telfer and a 2-point conversion to Everett Elliason. With 7:19 on the clock, Van Buren County’s lead was down to six, at 22-16.
After Warth’s potential fourth touchdown run was taken away on a 15-yard penalty, Cardinal stopped Van Buren County at their own 23 and had the ball with 2:40 on the clock.
One play after bobbling a potential game-sealing interception, however, Van Buren County’s Lucas Fett lept up and picked off Telfer at the Comets’ 38. The Warriors would get one more first down in the game to run the clock down to zero.
“It's huge for him,” said Johnson. “He bobbled that first one, and the first thing we said is flush it and move onto the next one, and thankfully he did.”
Van Buren County’s defense held Cardinal to just 24-yards passing. Telfer and Craig Miller did rush for 89 and 82 yards respectively.
The Warriors are now 3-2 overall and 1-1 in district play, with a home game against Pleasantville awaiting this week. The Comets are 0-5 and 0-2, and they will host Sigourney-Keota.