At the recent Patriot football banquet, Warren had high praise for the determination and hard work of his football team, and especially high praise for his senior class.
“You know, some of these kids don’t know what it means to win, and it would have been easy for them to quit early in the year after we got off to the 1-6 start — but they didn’t, and we ended the season with consecutive wins. This group of seniors was as good a group as I’ve ever been around,” he said.
Warren informed seven of his players that they had been named to the Southern Illinois River-to-River (SIRR) Ohio Divison all conference team.
They are: Austin Kendall, second team tight end; Peyton Hall, first team offensive line; Zach Donaldson, second team linebacker; Dalton Mitchell, first team wide receiver and specialty team punter; Cameron Koch, first team defensive back; Israel Cherry, second team defensive line; and Dillon Stoner, first team running back.
Warren learned later that Koch and Mitchell had also been honored as Academic All Staters.
Team and individual statistics were also released at the banquet.
Offensively, the team averaged 191 rushing yards per game with 1721 yards on 292 attempts with 18 rushing touchdowns. The team passed for 1436 yards on 100 completions in 234 attempts for a 161-yard per game average with 10 touchdowns. The team averaged 351 yards per game offensively.
Individually, Stoner was the team’s most prolific rusher, gaining 1201 yards on 171 carries in what amounted to only seven and a half games. Stoner averaged 150 yards per game with a 7-yard per carry average and scored 15 touchdowns.
Quarterback Braden Fritch gained 165 yards on 45 carries. Jacob Pegram netted 113 yards on 31 carries. In the passing department, Fritch completed 67 of 160 attempts for 943 yards and seven touchdowns before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. Koch was called on to quarterback after Fritch’s injury and responded with 11 completions in 29 attempts and 199 yards with a touchdown in his lone start under center.
Sophomore Jay Benard set up what promises to be an interesting battle for the quarterback position next year in the last two games of the year, completing 22 of 45 attempts for 294 yards and two touchdowns.
Mitchell caught 41 passes for 760 yards and six touchdowns for the Patriots with a hefty 18.5-yard per catch average. Kendall caught 20 aerials for 340 yards and four TDs. Jacob Myers had 15 receptions. Eli Rose hauled in 12 passes.
On the other side of the ball, Koch notched 56 solo tackles from his strong safety position and added 35 assists, while Donaldson had 43 solos and 21 assists.
The trio of Stoner, Rose and Quinton Fisher all pilfered three interceptions each to lead Massac’s defensive backfield.