Key starters Brad Klenda and Austin Hager were not in uniform, but the Warriors were able to grab control of the scoreboard on first-half touchdown runs by Sheldon Boone and Mitchell Leppke.
Boone hammered home a 5-yard score with 2:43 left in the first quarter, and Leppke followed up with a 38-yard sprint 2:41 into the second frame.
Leppke’s score was Marion’s third big run of the drive. The Warriors took over at their own 28 following an interception and short return by Matt Thierolf with 50 seconds left in the first.
Leppke broke a 14-yard run before the teams traded ends, and Boone scampered 11 yards. Two plays later, Leppke was off to the races.
Having misfired on the earlier point-after kick, Marion tried to run for the 2-point conversion but came up short, leaving the score 12-0 Warriors with 9:09 to play in the half.
Light rain moved overhead as the third quarter began, and Marion spent most of the period controlling the ball in Wildcats territory.
Marion received the opening kickoff and advanced 24 yards on five runs before punting. The Warrior defense then forced a 3-and-out. A stellar Haven punt temporarily reversed field position, with Marion taking possession at its 22.
A tenacious effort in the ground game gave Marion three quick first downs, and Leppke rattled off two long runs to set up Boone’s second touchdown—a 1-foot plunge with 14 ticks left in the third.
The Warriors added the point-after kick for a 19-0 lead, and the only question left was whether the Marion defense would preserve the shutout.
Marion defensive ends Luke Gordon and Eric Vogel spent much of the rest of the game chasing Haven quarterback Byron Neinstedt around the defensive backfield.
Their combined effect mitigated the Haven passing game and forced the Wildcats back to the ground.
Haven’s final drive ended at the Marion 36 with a fumbled pitch recovered by Thierolf with 1:39 to go.