Marion drops first district game to Hesston Swathers

A big first quarter lead and a strong offensive line were all the Hesston Swathers needed to take control of the game and hand the Marion Warriors a 27-14 first-round district loss at Warrior Stadium Friday night.

The Warriors drew first blood when Jarvis Whiteman took a Jared Smith option pitch 63 yards for a touchdown. Alex Saxonis nailed the extra-point kick and Marion took a quick 7-0 lead with only 48 gone in the game.

Less than a minute later, Swather halfback Brian Roulhac juked his way down the field for a 48-yard touchdown. Micah Loucks added the the extra point to tie the ball game up at 7-7.

Hesston then added two more touchdowns, this time from the air, as Dustin Klassen found Andy Bartel for a 29-yard score and Brian Schultz for a five-yard score.

The Warriors trailed 21-7 as they headed into the locker room at half.

The Warriors started strongly in the second half, holding the explosive Hesston offense on its first possession. On fourth down, Marion’s Robert Verbic dove in and blocked the Swather punt.

The Warriors converted the opportunity for points when, at the 9:41 mark, Steven Boone blasted into the end zone from the 3-yard line to cut the Swather lead to seven.

But late in the fourth, Roulhac broke free inside the Warrior 23-yard line and scored what would be the last touchdown of the game.

The Warrior defense was lead by Jason Matz with 18 tackles and 11 assists.

Senior offensive lineman and linebacker Andrew Brookens had seven tackles and four assists before he was forced out of the game early in the third quarter with what turned out to be a broken arm.

After the game head coach Grant Thierolf complemented the Hesston team.

“They were just a better team,” he said.

The Warriors are 5-2 on the year and 0-1 in district play.

Marion will travel to Hillsboro Friday to take on the undefeated Trojans, who are 1-0 in district play after beating Herington last Friday.

Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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