Warren head coach Bo Hembree said last week that if the Warren Lumberjacks were to have success in 2019, running back Vincent Steppes would have to have success. Steppes did that very thing Tuesday night in a 41-21 victory against Magnolia in the Hooten’s Kickoff Classic at Magnolia.


Steppes ran the ball 13 times for 94 yards and three touchdowns and also scored on a 48-yard passing play to give the Lumberjacks their first score of the game.


“We’ve got to find ways to get him the ball, and we did that tonight early,” said Hembree. “We lost a kid to a broken arm on the first play on offense, which really hurts. We had to do some changing around again. We had to do some adjusting, but our kids really fought.”


Magnolia struck first after linebacker Malachi Copeland picked off Warren quarterback Riley Cornish. The Panther’s struck just four plays later on a three-yard run by quarterback Braelyn Beasley with 8:17 remaining in the opening quarter. A failed PAT gave the Panthers the 6-0 lead.


The Lumberjacks quickly answered on their next drive as quarterback Riley Cornish connected with Steppes from 48-yards out with 6:22 remaining in the first quarter. Jesus Tinoco added the PAT to give the Lumberjacks the 7-6 lead.


“We came out on the first series and turned the ball over, and you can’t do that against this team,” Hembree said. “Our quarterback threw across his body. I think he was trying to throw it away. He will learn from this, but I thought he controlled the offense really well.


The Lumberjacks held Magnolia on their next possession which allowed Cornish to throw his second touchdown pass of the game when he connected with Davante Smith for a 26-yard pass with 2:15 left in the opening quarter. Tinoco’s PAT gave the Lumberjacks the 14-6 advantage.


The Lumberjacks added their third touchdown of the game on a six-yard run by Steppes with 5:43 remaining in the second quarter to make is 21-6.


Magnolia was able to find the end zone with 21 seconds remaining in the first half on a nine-yard run by Amir Cooper. The PAT made it 21-13 Warren.


The Lumberjacks extended their lead with 8:35 remaining in the third quarter on a seven-yard run by Steppes. Tinoco’s PAT was no good, making the score 27-13.


Steppes scored his third rushing touchdown with 3:04 left in the third quarter on a three-yard run. Tinoco’s PAT gave the Lumberjacks the 34-13 advantage.


Magnolia was able to get on the board once more with 10:56 remaining in the game on a four-yard run by DeMarco Walker. Maurice Strickland ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 34-21.


The Lumberjacks sealed the victory with a 79-yard pass from Cornish to Tre’lon Marshall with 10:31 remaining in the game. Tinoco’s PAT made it 41-21.


“We will continue to grow each week,” Hembree said. “I like this team a lot. They are young, but they really compete.”