Marion Warriors derail Herington in 44-0 victory

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
The Marion Warriors passed another milestone on the way to a Cottonwood Valley League title Friday night, and, with the exception of a couple potholes in the second quarter, the ride was another smooth one.

Marion defeated the outmanned Herington Railroaders 44-0, marking the Warriors third consecutive 40-point plus victory.

With the win, Marion improves to 5-1 overall and 4-0 in the CVL.

The game began on a sour note for Herington-and that turned out to be the highlight of its evening.

Fumbling the opening kickoff, Herington began the opening drive on its own 8-yard line. Three plays later, the Railroaders punted for the first of five times that evening. It was a short kick at that, and Marion took over on the Herington 23-yard line.

Five plays later, Casey Nelson skirted the right side for four yards and a touchdown, giving Marion a 7-0 lead with 8:02 left in the quarter.

After Herington punted again, Marion set up shop on the Railroaders’ 49-yard line. On third and 10, quarterback Clayton Chamberland spotted Calvin Riggs down the sideline and hit the sure-handed senior for a 40-yard gain.

Steven Boone took charge the final 12 yards, scoring on a three-yard burst to make the score 14-0 with 4:28 to play in the quarter.

Herington’s next drive featured eight plays, five of which lost yardage, but a 21-yard gain and 12-yard gain produced two first down before the Warriors forced a punt on the first play of the second quarter.

The Warriors started 47 yards from the goal line. But Boone covered that distance in just two plays, scoring on a 34-yard power run with just 25 seconds gone in the second quarter.

Herington blocked the extra point, but Marion led 20-0.

Herington’s next drive consisted of a three-yard run, a holding penalty and a Tyler Stubenhofer interception at the Railroader 32-yard line.

Marion returned the favor, though, when a Chamberland pass was picked off on the 15-yard line.

“I thought our kids did a nice job with the exception of about an eight-minute lapse in the second quarter where we just didn’t play well,” coach Grant Thierolf said. “But that’s all part of learning how to do things right and learning how to win.”

The teams traded possessions before Marion again went on the offensive again. This time working with a long field, the Warriors covered 78 yards on just four plays, including a 52-yard sprint by Nelson.

Boone covered the final yard with 2:20 to play in the half. The 2-point conversion failed, but Marion led 26-0.

But life went from bad to worse for Herington when they fumbled the kickoff and Josh Smith recovered the ball on the Railroader 26.

Three Boone running plays later, the burly senior rumbled the final seven yard into the end zone for a touchdown, his fourth of the half, to put Marion ahead 32-0. The extra point failed.

Marion began the second half with a third-quarter drive that’s become hallmark of this team. The Warriors marched 61 yards in 14 plays for another score.

Chamberland’s two-yard plunge capped the drive with just 4:52 left in the third quarter. Marion led
38-0.

“We knew we had them outmanned,” Thierolf said. “But I thought their kids played awfully hard.”

Herington got off one running play before throwing a received the kickoff before throwing another interception, this time to Riggs who returned it to the 2-yard line.

Chamberland scored on the next play for a 44-0 lead with 3:53 left in the third quarter.

Thierolf said he wasn’t worried about his team letting down mentally because of the big lead.

“It’s probably human nature (to let down) when you get a big lead lead like we’ve been doing,” he said. “But it shouldn’t be tough at all. Last year we had the opportunity to set our own destiny and we didn’t get it done.

“That’s been a big challenge right now going into these next three weeks.”

The fourth quarter featured three turnovers-two more by Herington and one by Marion- with the Warrior reserves playing the rest of the game.

Marion’s running game was effective enough that the Warriors attempted just eight passes, completing four with one interception.

Thierolf said not relying on an aerial attack recently doesn’t pose a potential problem.

“We work on our passing game an awful lot in practice,” he said. “The fact we haven’t needed to pass lately, I don’t think will really be a factor for us.”

Boone led Marion’s offense attack with 172 yards on 22 carries.

“Steven just runs hard, but he has a great offensive line blocking for him and Clayton makes good reads,” Thierolf said. “I also thought our downfield blocking was a little better tonight, so that opens it up even more for Steven.”

The Warrior offense piled up 350 total yards to just 125 for the Railroaders. Nelson contributed 78 rushing yards to the Marion total. Chamberland threw the ball eight times, completing four for 49 yards.

Marion never needed to punt.

Defensively, the Warriors were led by Jimmy Shipman, who recorded four tackles, three assists, two tackles for losses and one sack, and Boone who was credited with five tackles and an assist.

Herington drops to 1-5 overall and 0-4 in CVL play.

Coming-The Warriors will play their final regular-season home game-and begin district play-Friday when Wichita Independent comes to town.

“We’re excited because we have a chance to win the league outright, and that’s obviously a big deal to us,” Thierolf said. “I think it’ll be a good opportunity for us to keep getting better.”

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