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FOOTBALL: Titans take first winning step against New Haven (With Video)

Warren Woods-Tower's Torrence Collins tries to get around New Haven's Michael Kincaid (2) in the second half. (Photo by Ray J. Skowronek)

There are times when a football player has to take a few steps backward before he can find success.

Or, in the case of Warren Woods-Tower senior kicker Michael Patchak, just a couple steps back are required. Patchak nailed a 25-yard field goal in overtime, helping the Titans win for the first time this season in a 17-14 triumph over host New Haven.

Only one day prior to Friday’s Macomb Area Conference crossover game, Titans head coach Mike Mahar took Patchak aside during practice and offered up some advice.

“I changed the way (Patchak) approached the ball,” Mahar explained. “Instead of three steps back, I told him take two steps back. He started kicking (extra points) well. I don’t know if that fixed it, but it worked tonight and we won the game.”

The Titans (1-5 overall) built a 14-0 lead over New Haven (2-4 overall), thanks in large part to a running attack that featured a pair of tailbacks with styles at opposite ends of the spectrum. Junior Josh Scott rushed for 119 yards on 24 carries, including a six-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Teammate and classmate Torrence Collins rushed for 127 yards on 17 carries and opened the scoring with a four-yarder in the second quarter.

The running backs were the key for the Titans, as they used a ball-control style that saw just 11 total passing attempts.

Collins’ slash-and-dash style was complemented by Scott, who barreled his way down the field.

“Scott is a horse,” Mahar said. “You get him going downhill, and he’s going to bring it.”

Before positioning itself for the win, Warren Woods-Tower first had to stop the Rockets offense, which was led on the evening by Vantrell Williams. The senior running back accounted for 110 rushing yards on 12 carries, including a spectacular 68-yarder which tied the game with nine minutes to play in the fourth quarter.

Williams also caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from senior linebacker John Green – who had received the ball after quarterback Dillon Peyerk tossed him a lateral. That play, with 5:03 to play in the third quarter, was the first time New Haven scored in the game.

The Rockets worked like crazy to rally back from 14 points down; it just couldn’t find the end zone in overtime.

After an illegal procedure penalty and a trio of short runs by Scott, the Titans lined up for the overtime field goal.

Patchak wasn’t expecting the game would come down to him.

“I still thought we were going to punch it in,” Patchak said. “I was just going through my steps on the sideline. With the pressure on, I came through. It felt good coming off (my foot). It just feels really amazing to get the win.”

What was amazing for one team is, of course, bitter for the other. This was New Haven’s homecoming game, and Rockets coach Bob Meldrum came in with some apprehension about his offense.

“We didn’t have a great week of offensive preparation, and I think it showed tonight,” Meldrum said. “The whole thing is about the preparation.”

The win was Mahar’s first as head coach at Warren Woods-Tower. He is seeing the signs that his philosophies are beginning to take hold.

“I think the biggest thing is that the kids are starting to believe in each other as a family,” Mahar said. “They’re getting sick of me saying it, but that’s the stuff that held us together and got us over the hump tonight. We still have a long way to go as a program.”

His team, however, seems to have taken the first step.



Last Updated: 9/28/2012 11:15:01 PM EST

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