ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ERIC CLARK
After Herington scored a touchdown in the first minute of the game, the Marion Warriors put up 30 unanswered points to cruise past the Railers, 30-6, Friday in Herington.
The Railers had little defense against a Marion passing and rushing attack that caught Herington off guard throughout the night.
“We played better against a better team,” Marion coach Grant Thierolf said. “Herington was able to break a couple of big plays against us early, but I felt we did a good job of shutting them down for most of the game.
“We feel we are getting better at the right time of year, and hopefully will continue to play well as the season progresses.”
The Warriors compiled 362 yards on offense, including 220 yards on the ground and 142 through the air.
Playing one of the best games of his career, quarterback Clayton Chamberland completed nine-of-11 passes for 142 yards and one touchdown. The senior also ran for 19 yards on nine carries.
“Clayton is getting more comfortable in the passing game,” Thierolf said. “We have cut back on the run offense, which enables us to spend more time on the passing game during practice. Our receivers are doing a good job of finding the openings and are catching the ball well.”
Running back Jason Matz had another stellar night on offense and on defense. The Warrior senior carried the ball 17 times for 129 yards, scored one touchdown, hauled in a 28-yard pass and, on defense, amassed eight solo tackles and five assists.
“Moving Jason to running back has been very beneficial for us,” Thierolf said.
“He gives us a legitimate threat in the backfield to go along with Steven Boone, and he is a very well-rounded player. Both (Matz and Boone) can catch the ball well and both are hard to bring down.”
Despite holding the Railers to just 203 yards of offense, the Warriors surrendered a touchdown on Herington’s first play from scrimmage when Mitch Johnson ran in from 77 yards.
After the extra-point kick failed, the Warriors trailed 6-0.
Marion tied the game minutes later when Chamberland blasted through the defensive line for a 3-yard touchdown. The Warriors missed the extra point and the game was tied, 6-6.
Later, Boone scored from a yard out to give Marion a 12-6 lead after the Warriors failed to convert the second of five unsuccessful conversions attempts in the game.
Marion scored again when defensive end Neil Waner picked up a fumbled pitch and ran 47 yards for the touchdown in the second quarter to give MHS a 18-6 advantage heading into halftime.
In the third quarter, the Warriors added two more touchdowns. The first came on Matz’s 7-yard run and the second on Joel Versch’s 16-yard pass reception from Chamberland.
Versch caught four passes during the game for 67 yards. Tyler Stubenhofer made three key receptions for 37 yards.
Boone, the Cottonwood Valley League’s second-leading rusher, finished with 56 yards on 18 carries.
Coming-With the win, the Warriors are 4-2 overall and 3-1 in the CVL. Friday night, the Warriors travel to Wichita to challenge Wichita Independent. This will be Marion’s last CVL game of the season and the first game in district play.