Warren Central sure knows how to break in a brand new field.
In their first home game of the season, the Class 6A No. 4 Warriors (3-1) flustered Lawrence Central (3-1) defensively in front of packed stands. They didn’t score early, but once they found the end zone they never lost sight of it, cruising to a 37-0 victory.
And they beat the storm, which worried school administrators enough to start guiding people to the high school’s parking lot with about four minutes left in the game.
What more can you ask for in the first home game of the season, on homecoming no less?
“Warren is like the hidden gem no one knows about,” Warren Central coach Jayson West said of the new, artificial turf field with alternating shades of green every five yards. “We haven’t been home yet this year, so it was weird, but it was great to be home. It’s just a really cool place to be.”
Warriors quarterback Zach Summeier completed 19-of-29 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown, but Tristen Tonte stole the show with his dual-threat prowess and got the best of the Bears three times Friday night.
Tonte, who christened the field with its first touchdown on a 5-yard run with 26 seconds left in the first half, led the Warriors with 98 rushing yards and completed one pass for a 40-yard touchdown.
Tonte also scored another rushing touchdown near the end of the third quarter, his third and final trip to the end zone.
“Great team win,” Tonte said. “We came together in the second half and made it a team game. Getting the running game going changed the game.”
By the end of the first half, the Bears defense began looking worn out. By the end of the third quarter, they looked defeated — allowing Tonte to sneak upfield on a 37-yard keeper before finding the end zone two plays later.
Including Tonte’s third touchdown, the Warriors padded their lead with three touchdowns on three consecutive drives, but did not need the extra mileage to finish off the Bears, who conceded 443 yards on the night. The Bears offense mustered only 122 yards in 49 plays — two of which were passes completed for 20-plus yards.
“We put our defense in a lot of bad spots,” Lawrence Central coach Bill Peebles said. “Our defense actually played well, but our offense put our defense in a lot of impossible situations.”
Some of that stems from having three new starters on the offensive line, all of which entered the game with no previous varsity experience. The rest, Peebles said, came from mental mistakes and misreads that allowed the Warriors’ defense to shut the Bears down.
“They’re much better defensively than they were last year, and they were good last year,” Peebles said. “That combination was the difference: Them being very good and us not playing very well.”
Bears quarterback Donyell Meredith II was sacked three times and picked off twice under pressure, while the Warriors also racked up several tackles for losses that stopped the Bears 10-of-12 times on third-down conversions.
“That’s hard to do to a team that’s been rolling and putting up a lot of yards,” West said of his team’s shutout. “I thought our defense was really special tonight.”
Six seconds into the game, Warriors starting wide receiver Dominique Tyler suffered severe injury and was taken away in an ambulance. West said he believed the injury was to his hip but was not sure of his status.
Before halftime, Bears running back Michael Holland also was injured and carried off the field to the trainer’s table. Peebles said the injury “could be long-term” but would not know until Saturday.
Follow IndyStar reporter Jordan J. Wilson on Twitter: @Wilsonable07.