A very welcome sight greeted Marion football fans Friday night as a hyped-up Marion team put its first “W” on the scoreboard in a home game against Bennington.
After starting the season with two lackluster losses, fans might be excused for fearing the Warriors had lost their will this season.
But Marion was back in good form Friday, rushing to a 20-0 victory on the legs of quarterback Taylor Heidebrecht, who had touchdown runs of 48 and 74 yards on his way to 186 yards.
After Marion recovered a Bennington fumble on the Bulldog 40-yard line on the first possession of the game, Heidebrecht burst free on Marion’s first play from scrimmage, scoring a touchdown two minutes into the game. An extra point kick by Grif Case made it 7-0.
Marion scored again with 1:21 left in the first quarter. The drive, which started at midfield, looked to be in jeopardy when a pass fell incomplete on a fourth-and-four, but a holding penalty moved the ball to the Bennington 24-yard line and a Marion first down.
On fourth-and-three, running back Brody Carroll came through for Marion, diving into the end zone for the score. Case’s kick gave Marion a 14-0 lead.
In a scoreless second quarter, Bennington finally swung the momentum its way as the clock ticked down. The Bulldogs took possession at midfield with 15 seconds to play. Two quick passes took them to the Marion 17-yard line. But the Warrior defense got the stop and preserved the Warriors’ 14-point margin going into halftime.
After a pass to Warrior senior receiver Jacob Harper was picked off in the end zone on fourth down to start the third quarter, Bennington took over at it 20.
The Bulldogs moved the ball to the Marion 43-yard line before linebacker John Nordquist registered back-to-back sacks to make it fourth-and-30 for Bennington and essentially halt the drive. Twice Marion would drive deep into Bulldog territory, only to give up the football on a fumble and on downs. Heidebrecht eventually broke free for 74-yard touchdown run with 3:47 left in the game. Case’s kick was blocked, resulting in the final 20-0 score.
Despite struggling with the passing game, completing just one 12-yard pass to Harper, Heidebrecht was Marion’s main offensive threat. Carroll added 108 rushing yards on 23 carries.
Coming—Marion is scheduled to travel to Inman (2-1) Friday for a Heart of America league matchup.