ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ERIC CLARK
The Marion Warriors dropped their first game of the season to the Rose Hill Rockets Friday night, 13-3.
Rose Hill dominated the game on both sides of the ball, holding the Warriors to just three points and 148 total yards on the night while rolling up 220 yards of their own.
After the game, head coach Grant Thierolf said his team simply was outplayed by a more physical offensive and defensive line.
“They just flat whipped our tail,” he said. “Their offensive and defensive line flat took it to us. Their front seven were a lot tougher than our front seven. Their players played better football than ours did tonight.”
The loss should have been a good learning experience for the team, according to Thierolf.
“We learned we’re not as good as we thought we were,” Thierolf said. “I think we can still be a very good football team.
“We’ve got to be physical every play and we can’t take our downs off,” he added. “We’ve got to work harder at practice, we’ve got to coach better and we’ve got to do all the things that you’re supposed to do to be a good football team.”
The Warriors are 3-1 for the year and 1-0 in the Cottonwood Valley League.
Rose Hill broke the game’s scoreless tie with a 35-yard field goal by Keenan Morris as the first quarter ended.
The Warriors came back to tie the game with an Alex Saxonis field goal late in the second quarter.
In the third quarter, Rose Hill marched down the field. At the 4:52 mark, Rockets quarterback Matt Ubben pitched the ball, as he was hit, to his running back, who trotted into the end zone untouched for a seven-yard touchdown.
Morris added the point-after kick and the Rockets lead 10-3 at the end of the third quarter.
Rose Hill threatened to score again early in the fourth quarter, but the Warriors blocked Morris’ field goal attempt.
With 7:20 left in the game, Morris got a second chance and connected on a 37-yard field goal to extend Rose Hill’s lead to the final margin.
With two key turnovers in the waning minutes of the game, including a fumble and an interception, the Warriors ended their hope for a late comeback.
The four Marion turnovers were critical, according to Thierolf.
“You never want to turn the ball over,” Thierolf said. “They played more physical than we did.”
Steven Boone led the Warrior rushing attack with 47 yards in 14 carries. Jared Smith was 4-for-13 passing for 46 yards and one interception.
Jason Matz paced Marion’s defense with 13 tackles and six assists.
The Warriors will travel to Chase County Friday to take on CVL foe Chase County. Game time is 7 p.m.