Warriors ‘hit bottom’ against Sacred Heart

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ERIC CLARK
Rock bottom.

That’s what the Marion Warrior football team hit Friday night in Salina, according to head coach Grant Thierolf.

The Warriors were shut out 42-0 by the Sacred Heart Knights in a game that found Marion struggling for consistency in any aspect of its game.

“We didn’t execute in any aspect of the game,” Thierolf said. “We didn’t do anything right. Offensively, we struggled, on defense they exploited all the weaknesses we had.

“We overestimated ourselves. I knew we were going to face three tough teams right off the bat. The (Cottonwood Valley League title) is probably out of our grasp.

“We can’t abandon things,” Thierolf said. “It’s easy to get in the panic mode. We just have to get 11 guys going in the same direction.”

In the early moments of Friday’s contest, the Knights and Warriors looked destined to slug it out the rest of the night. In the first quarter, neither team scored.

In the second quarter, the Warriors surrendered three touchdowns, including a 10-yard reception from quarterback Brian Berchard to Jimmy McKee, a 3-yard run by Matt Ryan and a 23-yard pass reception from Berchard to Dolan.

The Knights connected on their first point-after and were unsuccessful on the second attempt. Ryan ran the 2-point conversion on their third attempt to give Sacred Heart a 21-0 lead at halftime.

A severe case of fumble-itis struck the Warriors in the second half. Marion fumbled four times and lost three. Two of the fumbles resulted in touchdowns on Sacred Heart’s subsequent possessions.

In the third quarter, Sacred Heart tacked on two more touchdowns orchestrated by Berchard, who threw for an 8-yarder to McKee and ran in from two yards. Ryan converted the first 2-point conversion after the McKee touchdown catch, and the Knights connected on the PAT kick after Berchard hit paydirt. Sacred Heart led 36-0.

The Knights added a touchdown late in the fourth quarter when Berchard found a streaking McKee for a 40-yard touchdown pass. The PAT failed and Sacred Heart coasted to the win.

The Warriors were held to just 130 total yards while Sacred Heart rolled up 384. The Knights were 18-for-28 for 271 yards in the air, including four touchdowns.

Marion completed just one pass in eight attempts for one yard.

“We made them a lot better team,” Thierolf said. “They’re not 42 points better than us.”

The lone bright spot for the Warriors was Steven Boone’s 20 rushes for 107 yards. Quarterback Clayton Chamberland completed one of eight passes for one yard and one interception.

Jason Matz led the Marion defense with nine tackles and six assists while Tyler Smith racked up nine tackles, two assists and two tackles for a loss.

Thierolf said the game was disappointing, but the rest of the season is still ahead.

“We have a chance to redeem ourselves and get things back on the right track,” Thierolf said. “That’s the nice thing about this not being our last game. We have the opportunity to get things back on the right track next week.”

Coming-The Warriors are 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the CVL. Friday, Marion hosts Chase County. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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