Marion quarterback Taylor Heidebrecht (6) rushes for 9 yards in the fourth quarter against Moundridge. Heidebrecht completed a pass to Caleb Williams in the end zone on the next play for Marion’s third touchdown of the night in a 27-0 victory. Heidebrecht led all rushers with 11 carries for 92 yards. He completed 5 of 10 pass attempts for 146 yards and one touchdown.
“Not pretty, but a win,” coach Grant Thierolf said. “I thought Moundridge’s coaches had their kids prepared and played an outstanding game. Their kids really did a nice job all night long.”
The Warriors struggled to find their rhythm in the first half, but had staked a 7-0 lead at intermission. But Marion came out of the locker room on fire and scored on three consecutive possessions to seal the shutout victory and clinch the District 12 title with a 3-0 record.
“In the first half, (Moundridge) truly outplayed us,” Thierolf said. “But we were just a little bit better across the board.”
After Moundridge was forced to punt on the game’s opening drive, Marion showed promise when quarterback Taylor Heidebrecht found running room for a 38-yard gain. But Caleb Williams fumbled the ball away on the next play to end the drive.
On Moundridge’s first possession of the second quarter, Marion found a spark when Williams recovered a Wildcat fumble.
The Warriors took over at the Moundridge 10-yard line, and were in the end zone following two runs by Adam Janzen, including the 5-yard score. Grif Case’s kick made it 7-0 with 8:51 left in the half.
Marion received the second-half kickoff and executed a 15-play scoring drive.
Facing fourth-and-6 from the Wildcat 31-yard line, Heidebrecht completed a 12-yard pass to Zach Robson to keep the drive alive. Three plays later, Janzen ran up the middle for a 3-yard touchdown. The Warriors, who covered 67 yards on the drive, led 14-0 after Case’s kick.
After Moundridge was forced to punt, Marion’s offense went right back to work.
On the second play of the drive, Heidebrecht completed a 34-yard pass to Case, taking the Warriors to the Moundridge 19-yard line. Four plays later, Heidebrecht found Williams in the end zone for a 15-yard strike. Case’s kick made it 21-0 with 11:03 left in the game.
The Warrior defense again forced a Wildcat punt, and Marion added to its lead on the next drive. A 44-yard pass from Heidebrecht to Williams set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Janzen, capping a six-play, 69-yard drive. Case’s kick was no good, but Marion led 27-0 with 6:25 to go.
Moundridge failed to score on its final possession, and Heidebrecht took a knee to seal the victory.
“It was simply a matter of going back to the basic things that we do and just executing better after halftime,” Thierolf said of the second-half surge. “In the first half, we didn’t come out mentally ready to play as well as we needed to.”
Coming—Marion (8-1) was scheduled to play Hutchinson Trinity (4-5) at home Tuesday in bi-district play.
Trinity came into the game after a 28-14 win over Haven last week. Marion faced Trinity in week six and won, 19-10.
The winner of Tuesday’s game will face either Sedgwick (8-1) or Douglass (5-4) Saturday in regional action.