Warriors weather Southeast, 7-6

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ERIC CLARK
When the Marion Warriors arrived at Southeast of Saline High School at 4:30 p.m. Friday night, they weathered two storms-and came away unharmed and unbeaten by both.


The Warriors defeated the Trojans 7-6 in a defensive grudge match to improve their record to 2-0 for the young season.


Neither team scored in the first quarter. But early in the second period, Robert Verbic grabbed Jared Smith’s pass and ran 60 yards for Marion’s first and only touchdown of the night.


Saxonis added the extra point to give the Warriors a 7-0 advantage.


Late in the third, the Trojans marched down the field and capped-off their drive with a one-yard touchdown run by Adam Ptacek.


But on the extra-point attempt, Marion’s Braxton Skiles broke through the line and blocked the kick to preserve the lead and the eventual victory.


In the fourth quarter, with 40 seconds left in the game, Southeast’s quarterback, Ptacek, connected with with Chaid Schwarz for a 30-yard pass.


After an incomplete pass and a sack on second down, with six seconds left in the game, Ptacek dropped back to throw, but was sacked by a host of Marion defenders to end the Trojan threat.


After the game, head coach Grant Thierolf was impressed with the play of both teams.


“Yards were hard to come by tonight on both sides of the ball,” he said. “I thought it was a dog-gone good football game. We weren’t overwhelming but we were effective.”


The Warriors ended the evening with 152 total yards.


Once again Marion got a steady game from quarterback Jared Smith, who was 2-for-6 for 72 yards, one touchdown and one interception.


“I thought Jared did a good job of being a threat as the quarterback,” Thierolf said.


The last series for the Marion offense was crucial, according to Thierolf.


“The last drive we had, we picked up two first downs and they got four minutes off the clock,” he said. “And that’s a dog-gone big football drive. “People in the stands don’t realize it, but those drives are what win the games.”


On defense, the Warriors got a strong performance from Andrew Brookens, who lead them team with 16 tackles and 13 assists.


According to Thierolf, his team’s defense continues to show signs of improvement.


“I thought our team pretty well showed they could play defense tonight,” Thierolf said. “Southeast is a very good football team. I thought they did a good job of controlling a pretty potent offense.”


Braxton Skiles’ block of the PAT was a big play in the game, according to Thierolf, but the way the ball was kicked, Thierolf said he didn’t think the PAT would have made it regardless of the block.


The Warriors controlled the ball throughout the game and forced Southeast into some difficult decisions, Thierolf said.


“We’ve always been a field position team,” he said. “We pinned them deep quite a few times and had some success there.”


The Warriors will travel to Council Grove Friday night to take on their first Cottonwood League foe.

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