Led by senior quarterback Justin Gorman, the Warren Lumberjacks used a strong second quarter to win 54-22 over the Monticello Billies in the annual Saline River Shootout on Friday night at Hyatt Field.

Led by senior quarterback Justin Gorman, the Warren Lumberjacks used a strong second quarter to win 54-22 over the Monticello Billies in the annual Saline River Shootout on Friday night at Hyatt Field.


"I thought once we got rolling there in the first half, we were really good," said Warren head coach Bo Hembree.


The win now makes it five straight for the Lumberjacks on the year as they kept the 146-pound trophy in Bradley County. Warren has now won three straight against Monticello in the annual rivalry.


"They’re a good team and we knew that coming into it," Monticello first-year head coach Marty Davis said. "We were in a position to pick off a couple of passes early on and we missed a couple of passes early on.


"Once they got their feet under them, (Warren) played the way they were capable of."


The first quarter turned out to be a back-and-forth battle as Warren led just 7-3. Warren scored the first points of the game when Gorman connected with Hayden Lassiter for a 20-yard TD strike. Monticello countered with a 37-yard field goal from Ryan Case.


However, the Lumberjacks took the ball down the field on their next possession and ended the first quarter with the ball on the 10-yard line of Monticello.


On the very next play of the new quarter, senior Kilay Cox ran in from 10 yards out as Warren never looked back.


After forcing a Billies’ punt, Warren needed just three plays as Gorman hooked up with senior Jaylon Marshall for a 12-yard score as the Lumberjacks led 21-3.


"He played well most of the time," Hembree said of Gorman. "Other than (some miscommunications), I thought he played well."


Gorman went on to finish the night 16 of 27 for 337 yards and five touchdowns through the air. His go-to target on the night ended up being Marshall who finished with seven receptions for 142 yards and three TDs.


Warren initiated the sportsmanship rule midway through the third quarter after Cox ran the ball in from 9 yards out to make the score 47-10. Cox finished the night with 15 carries for 121 yards and two TDs.


After the sportsmanship rule, the two teams combined for 19 points with Monticello receiving scores from Scott Bratton and Anthony Milhollen.


Davis decided to stick with his two QB strategy as both players saw a lot of minutes. Garrett Jeffers ended the night 7 of 14 for 140 yards and two TDs, while Jeff Carmical finished 4 of 10 for 57 yards.


"I think it worked out well," Davis said of playing both quarterbacks. "They have to get into the game and get into a rhythm. Both of them did a good job and … we will probably finish the season playing both of them."


Despite the lopsided score, Monticello never quit on the field and Davis said he was extremely proud of the effort Monticello gave on Friday.


"Our kids have continued to play hard all year," said Davis. "It’s all about pride for us at this point. Our kids have played with pride and they have played to the final second all year. I was extremely happy with how the kids responded."


With the win, Warren (6-2, 5-0 in 8-4A) increased its lead in the 8-4A title conference race with Dollarway’s 24-20 loss at Star City. Warren will play Hamburg and Dollarway in the following weeks.


"We got two big ones ahead of us and we have to go home and get ready," Hembree said. "Hamburg is coming in next week and we know they are a good football team. We have to take care of that one first. We’re going to be ready to play."


Monticello (2-6, 0-5) continues to search for its first conference win under Davis and some believe the Billies could achieve the goal in the upcoming two games with Dumas and DeWitt on the schedule.


"For some reason whenever the opposing team see that blue and white, they go to another level," Davis said with a laugh. "At this point, whether it’s Dumas or DeWitt, it’s about pride. Our thing is to continue to play hard and I’m proud of how the kids have responded."