WARRENTON — The Warrenton Warriors were riding the “Upset Express” through one quarter of Friday night’s football game with the mighty Rainier Columbians.
But, Rainier is a perennial top 10 team for a reason. And the No. 5-ranked Columbians showed it, rallying from a 7-6 deficit after the first quarter for a 56-7 win over the Warriors.
The game was the first in two years between the two rivals, after Warrenton forfeited last year’s meeting at Rainier.
With an offense that struggled out of the gate in Friday’s game, the Columbians derailed Warrenton’s upset hopes with a couple of special teams plays.
Rainier junior quarterback Joey Tripp — who owned the night — opened the scoring with a 61-yard punt return for a quick 6-0 Columbians’ lead.
The Warriors followed with their best drive of the evening, a nine-play, 56-yard march, capped by Jake Morrow’s 24-yard touchdown pass to Gio Martinez. Gabe Breitmeyer made the extra point for Warrenton’s only lead of the night.
Warrior senior Preston Miller intercepted a Tripp pass moments later, but the Warriors were unable to capitalize.
Following a couple of scoreless possessions, Rainier’s Jacob Bruce put the Columbians ahead to stay with a 64-yard punt return early in the second quarter.
That would be the second of six Rainier touchdowns that covered 45 or more yards.
After the punt return by Bruce, the Columbians recovered an onside kick, and Bruce was back in the end zone two plays later, on a 49-yard scoring run.
Tripp added TD runs of 45 and 53 yards in the final 6:23 of the first half, for a 36-7 halftime lead.
Tripp rushed for 147 yards and four touchdowns on just five carries (29.4 yards per run), and completed 8-of-14 passes for 159 yards and two TD passes, as he accounted for six touchdowns.
Logan Fischer gained 93 yards rushing on 29 carries for the Warriors, while Morrow was 5-of-16 passing for 70 yards, which included a diving, 30-completion by Preston Miller late in the game.
Miller and Morrow intercepted passes for the Warriors, while Peyton Reed and Dawson Carr picked off passes for Rainier.