Assistant Sports Editor
CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. -- In the continuing football book that is the Cambridge Central School versus Greenwich rivalry, Cambridge's Chris Warnke marked this chapter with one inspired performance.
The junior fullback ran the ball 25 times for 169 yards and two scores on Saturday as the Indians walked off their home field with a well-earned 34-28 win over the Witches in both team's Class D season opener.
But of all the carries Warnke took, it was one of his shortest gains that made all the difference.
Facing a third-and-short from their own 45-yard line with 1:23 left to go in the game, the Indians were trying to milk the clock with a 34-28 lead. Get a first down, it was game over.
Or it was punt the ball away, giving John Barnes (20 carries, 153 yards, 3 total TDs) one last shot to win the game.
Warnke moved forward just three feet. One yard.
But it was enough.
"I have to credit the line on that play," Warnke said after the game. "Without them, I get nothing."
A run and a few kneels later, and a potential headshaker turned into a resounding victory.
"We made a lot of mistakes," Cambridge coach Doug Luke said. "But we had a lot of heart."
While the game featured some defensive moments, the major story was the rushing attacks of both offenses.
Warnke and Barnes stole the show. With each eclipsing 150 yards on the ground, each offensive possession became a guessing game of where one of the two would break open a big run.
But Warnke had help from Caleb Rowland, David Reedy (5 carries, 62 yards), and quarterback Ethan English (4-for-10, 26 yards).
"I've always said we have to run," Luke said. "And run right at people."
For Barnes, Brandon DiSanto took 9 carries for 53 yards and a score. Quarterback Lukas Whitehouse was 9 for 15 for 159 yards and a touchdown.
But in this kind of game, something had to give.
"That was a great game today," Greenwich coach Brandon Linette said. "[Cambridge] made one more play than us."
That one extra play could have came in a lot of places, but the deciding score was a 7-yard run by Rowland at the start of the fourth quarter.
Up until that point, it was a shootout.
The Witches opened the scoring on the first drive of the game. Barnes took the opening kick 54 yards and down to the 15 of Cambridge. Two plays later, and DiSanto was in the end zone.
But the Indians responded right back.
After Warnke moved 48 yards in a run, Rowland drove in from 11 yards out. After a missed two-point try, it was a 7-6 game.
On the Indians' next series, Rowland again found the end zone, this time from four yards out.
But Greenwich would answer those two scores with two of their own. First, Barnes scored on a 58-yard run. Then, with just over 10 minutes left in the second quarter, he would score from 10 yards out.
It would take the Indians until the end of the second to respond.
With 47 seconds left, Warnke scored his first on a 7-yard run. At the half, it was 21-20 Greenwich.
After the break, it would be Cambridge to strike first.
Warnke again got the call, this time from 7 yards out, to make it a 28-21 game after the two-point try.
But again came the Witches.
On the following series, Barnes caught a touchdown pass from Whitehouse on a screen play, and a converted PAT made it 28-28.
The Indians, though, would get the final score.
The ensuing series was capped by Rowland running with the ball. He started with a long kick return into Greenwich territory, then finished the drive from 7 yards out.
"The line was the key tonight," Luke said. "When we needed a yard, we got it."
Greenwich would get one last chance, but after driving down to the Cambridge 5-yard line, a delay of game penalty followed by two incomplete passes turned the ball over on downs.
The Indians move to 1-0 with the win, while the Witches fall to 0-1. The Indians return to the field this upcoming Satuday in a home game against Warrensburg.