NEWPORT NEWS — Warwick's season got off to a rather inauspicious start Friday night, with Menchville sacking quarterback Donell Staton on consecutive plays to open the game.
But Staton responded on the next play by scrambling out of another sack and finding a wide-open Eric Poindexter down the sideline, who covered 82 yards for the touchdown to propel the Raiders to a 54-31 season-opening win at Todd Stadium.
"That was a huge play for us," Warwick coach Juan Jackson said of Staton's pass. "If we don't convert that, we're in trouble, pinned back deep and all that."
Staton later added a 5-yard touchdown run in the Raiders' opening drive of the third quarter to put Warwick (1-0, 1-0 Peninsula District) up 20-10.
Cardon Johnson, who rushed for 168 yards on 21 carries on the night, added an 18-yard touchdown with 3:15 left in the third quarter.
The Monarchs countered on the ensuing drive, going 90 yards on seven plays before Clifton Richardson capped Menchville's best drive of the night with a 4-yard touchdown run with 38 seconds left in the third quarter to cut Warwick's lead to 27-17.
Warwick scored again with 10:22 left in the contest, when Staton hit Poindexter from 25 yards out for his second touchdown pass. The exclamation point came at the 9:44 mark, when Dominique Diggs intercepted Richardson and ran it back 38 yards for the score.
Johnson added his second rushing score of the night with 2:48 left in the game, when he scampered 28 yards to pay dirt. The Raiders then scored again in the final two minutes, when Joshua Butler scored from one yard out after a blocked punt was recovered by David Smith.
"Cardon is a key factor for us," Jackson said. "He transferred over from Menchville, and the first time we saw him, we knew we had something special.
"Our philosophy is we're going to run it until you stop us."
Warwick scored 27 points in the fourth quarter.
The Monarchs (0-1, 0-1) got on the board in the first quarter thanks to a 20-yard field goal from Dillon Christopher, but a special teams play gave the momentum back to Warwick midway through the second quarter. Menchville was forced to punt deep in its own territory, but a bad snap forced a hurried play. The flubbed punt wound up in the hands of Warwick's Tremayne Clark, who rumbled eight yards for the score.
Menchville ended the first half with a seven-play, 80-yard drive that culminated with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Richardson to Jamel Boothe to cut the Raiders' lead to 13-10 heading into the break.
Boothe and Richardson also each rushed for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but Warwick controlled the clock down the stretch to take the win.
There was a total of 25 penalties on the night, and neither team established much of a rhythm before Warwick's drive in the third quarter that culminated in Johnson's touchdown run. Menchville committed 14 penalties on the night for 105 yards to the Raiders' 11 for 76 yards.
"It was a sloppy," Jackson said. "But we'll take it. We're 1-0."
WARWICK 54, MENCHVILLE 31
Menchville;3;7;7;14 -- 31
Warwick;6;7;14;27 -- 54
War—Staton 82 pass to Poindexter (kick failed)
Men—Christopher 20 FG
War—Clark 8 punt return (Griggs kick)
Men—Richardson 28 pass to Boothe (Christopher kick)
War—Staton 5 run (Griggs kick)
War—Johnson 18 run (Griggs kick)
Men—Richardson 4 run (Christopher kick)
War—Staton 25 pass to Poindexter (Griggs kick)
War—Diggs 38 interception return (Griggs kick)
Men—Boothe 6 run (pass good)
Men—Richardson 1 run (run failed)
War—Johnson 28 run (run failed)
War—Butler 1 run (Griggs kick)
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