The No. 20 Moriah football team has been labeled the underdog in three of its last four games.
That pattern won’t change when the Vikings (6-4) meet No. 4 Cambridge in the NYSPHSAA Class D quarterfinals at AuSable Valley at 7 p.m. tonight.
“Yeah, that doesn’t bother our players,” Moriah coach Don Tesar said. “They’re pretty comfortable with that role. Every game, we’ve had a lead entering the four quarter with the exception of our loss to Ticonderoga. We could easily have two or three more wins. But the kids have believed in themselves and played hard.”
The Indians (10-0) reached the state quarterfinals with a 36-14 defeat of No. 8 Rensselaer in the Section II Class D Super Bowl.
Doug Luke’s squad has outscored its opponents 426-127, while amassing over 3,400 yards of total offense.
Luke possesses one of the state’s most dynamic 1-2 rushing tandems in juniors Chris Warnke and Caleb Rowland. The two have combined for 2,404 yards and 37 touchdowns on the ground.
Warnke, a 6-foot-3-inch 211-pound back, has carried the ball 116 times for 1,206 yards and 16 touchdowns. Rowland, who stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 160 pounds, has accumulated 1,198 yards and 21 touchdowns on 165 carries.
The two have each scored 140 points this season.
“The key is to be defensively sound and stick to the fundamentals,” Tesar said. “They pull guards and trap to the inside. Our guys have to know they can’t over penetrate. We’ll have to take on the trap head-on and not get caught too far up field.”
As if two 1,000-yard backs aren’t enough, Cambridge junior quarterback Ethan English has torched Section II opponents through the air with 1,030 yards and 10 touchdowns.
English, also a junior, has completed 57-of-93 pass attempts for a 61.3 completion percentage.
English’s primary target is senior Austin Dean, who has grabbed 19 receptions for 495 yards and six touchdowns. Warnke has added 178 yards on 15 receptions.