The Marion football team shook off last week’s loss and was in fine form Friday, taking care of Sunrise Christian Academy, 54-10, in front of a cheering homecoming crowd.
“Homecoming games are fun when you can get everybody in the game,” coach Grant Thierolf said. “You want those kids playing in front of mom and dad and grandpa and classmates that may be back for a reunion. ”
With the win, the Warriors improved to 2-3 on the season while Sunrise dropped to 0-5.
“It was fun to get our kids back in a winning situation,” Thierolf said. “It was fun to get them where they were having fun and competing hard.”
Stoking the intensity were Evan Slater and Spencer Fugitt, who returned for the first time this season after being sidelined with injuries.
“Spencer’s kind of the emotional barometer of the team, and he saw some things in the first four games he didn’t like,” Thierolf said. “He brings another level of intensity to us.”
Marion came out of the gate Friday firing on all cylinders and jumping to a 27-3 lead in the second quarter on three touchdown runs by quarterback Taylor Heidebrecht and one from by Brody Carroll.
Sunrise kicked a field goal late in the first quarter, and didn’t score again until quarterback Zach Howell threw a long pass into the end zone to receiver Daniel Lee as time ran out in the first half.
Marion still had a 27-10 lead going into halftime.
The momentum could easily have swung in the Buffaloes’ favor in the second half, but Marion stopped Sunrise on its first possession, then drove to the Buffalo 15-yard line midway through the third quarter. But Sunrise interception ended the drive.
Marion later took over at the Warrior 30-yard line. Heidebrecht handed off to Carroll to cap the 70-yard drive for a touchdown as the third quarter ended. A two-point conversion by Carroll made it 35-10.
Eric Regnier picked off a Sunrise pass early in the final quarter. A few plays later, Caleb Williams ran in for another touchdown to make the score 41-10.
Warrior reserves accounted for two more scores before the game ended. Zach Robson scored on a quarterback sneak that was set up by running back Adam Janzen’s 12-yard run to the 8.
Robson later intercepted a pass at the Sunrise 48, then sped in for the touchdown moments later with three minutes left to play.
The difference in offensive approach was clear from the stat sheet. Sunrise outgained Marion by 260 yards through the air, but the Warriors racked up 470 more rushing yards.
Carroll led Marion with 187 yards on 18 carries. Close behind him was Heidebrecht with 162 yards on 14 carries. Harper pulled in four catches for 79 yards to lead the receiving corps.
“Between Taylor and Brody, they got the mesh down well and made (Sunrise) lose their discipline a bit,” Thierolf said.
Thierolf praised the effort of his reserves.
“Our kids that don’t start on offense, don’t start because there’s really good players in front of them,” Thierolf said. “But they’re very quality football players.”
Coming—Marion will travel to Hutch Trinity (3-2) Friday for a tough league matchup. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
So, which Marion football team is going to show up?
“It’d better be the team that is getting ready to play in the play-offs,” coach Grant Thierolf said. “Trinity will be a great challenge for us, they’re a great football team.”