By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
MANDATA -- Cory Warford might have to get used to handing the ball to the referee.
Warford ran for four touchdowns for Line Mountain in a 41-0 win over Halifax on Line Mountain's homecoming Saturday night.
A week after falling to Newport, the Eagles rebounded by controlling the tempo and using Warford along with Hunter Hojnacki to keep the chains moving.
"We played a complete game tonight," Line Mountain head coach Rodney Knock said. "If we can (limit mistakes), I think we can go on a run."
Warford finished with 191 yards on 23 carries and Hojnacki added 112 on the ground to keep the Eagles heading into Halifax territory repeatedly. Both running backs refused to go down on first contact, bruising their way for first downs, dragging multiple defenders down with them.
"I just run my hardest (and) try to break the tackles," Warford said. "I give all my credit to my linemen for opening up the holes for me. They do an awesome job."
Knock joined Warford in praising the play of the offensive line against the Wildcats.
With the game in hand, Warford and Hojnacki gave way to Cory Paul, who showed that he can also find pay dirt.
Paul showed his quickness early in the fourth quarter, hitting the hole from 11 yards out and spinning his way into the end zone for the Eagles' last score.
Knock referred to his running back contingent as bulls and the Wildcats were forced to try and hang on as Line Mountain moved them around the field.
"(Our running backs) go hard," Knock said. "They don't go down on first contact."
With the wet conditions, the Eagles went to the ground and often early but with multiple options in the backfield, a wet ball did not prove to be an issue.
Aside from a few instances when the Eagles were trapped in the backfield, the Wildcats couldn't contain the speed of the Eagles' running game in space.
Perhaps sensing that rain could be problematic, Halifax opened the game with an onside kick but the Eagles were ready, starting the game at their own 47.
Alternating runs between Warford and Hojnacki, the Eagles quickly pushed the ball into the Halifax side of the field before Warford grabbed the reins to finish the possession.
After working the ball to the eight, Warford found a hole on the right side and marched into the end zone untouched. He added a run on the conversion to give the Eagles an early 8-0 lead.
Halifax tried to answer late in the first quarter but as was the case throughout the game, the Eagles' defense prevented the Wildcats from threatening for a score.
The Wildcats worked the ball into Eagles' territory at the 37, but a series of incomplete passes stalled the drive. On fourth-and-15, the Wildcats nearly converted to move the ball inside the five but Hunter Hilinski landed out-of-bounds with the ball.
With the scare averted, Ryan Reed quickly led his team down the field, using his legs to extend the lead with an eight-yard sneak up the middle.
After Warford scored for the second time as the first-half clock wore down, Mason Erdman tried to lead his team 54 yards to put points on the board before halftime.
The Eagles tackled Jarrett Hoy on a reception at the 22 as time expired on the half to keep the shutout into the locker room.
Warford re-energized himself at halftime, plowing his way into the end zone on the Eagles' first two drives of the second half as the Eagles entered the fourth quarter with a 34-point cushion.