Defense catapults Marion to 26-0 shutout of Moundridge

Aaron Riggs rushes for a 7-yard gain during Marion’s first offensive scoring drive. Riggs led Marion with 20 carries for 149 yards and two touchdowns in Marion’s 26-0 win.
Aaron Riggs rushes for a 7-yard gain during Marion’s first offensive scoring drive. Riggs led Marion with 20 carries for 149 yards and two touchdowns in Marion’s 26-0 win.
Credit the Marion defense with a strong performance Friday in a 26-0 shutout of Moundridge in the 2016 season-opener at Warrior Stadium.

The Warrior defense put the first points on the board when Mason Pedersen intercepted a Wildcat pass three plays into the game and ran it back for a touchdown, giving Marion an 8-0 lead after the two-point conversion.

Marion’s defense forced and recovered three Wildcat fumbles in the game, and when Marion returned the favor with a fumble inside its own 10-yard line on the first play of the second half, the Warriors produced a goal-line stand in which Moundridge netted -1 yards on four plays from scrimmage.

The Warriors scored their first offensive touchdown on their opening drive. Aaron Riggs crossed the goal line from 5 yards out to cap the 10-play, 84-yard drive. However, Marion faced some offensive miscues on the night, twice advancing to the red zone in the scoreless second quarter but coming up empty both times.

Marion’s 14-0 lead held through halftime.

Following the goal-line stand, the Warrior offense found some rhythm with a possession that took 5:15 off the clock. Riggs contributed 37 yards on four running plays, and Schneider later connected with Pedersen for a 30-yard reception down the left sideline that put Marion inside the 10. Schneider crossed the goal line three plays later on a 5-yard touchdown run to cap the 11-play, 91-yard drive. The two-point conversion failed, extending Marion’s lead to 20-0 with 4:44 left in the third quarter.

That score held through the end of the period.

Jeremy Hett and Jarret McLinden secured fumble recoveries on back-to-back Wildcat possessions in the fourth quarter. Although the Warrior offense stalled at the 3-yard line following the first fumble of the period, Marion capitalized after the second, needing just two plays to score. Riggs punched in the 3-yard touchdown run that brought it to the final, 26-0, margin with 5:19 left in the game.

Marion rolled up 310 yards of offense, compared to 92 for Moundridge. The Warriors rushed for 231 yards, led by Riggs with 20 carries for 149 yards and two touchdowns. Through the air, Schneider was 6-for-12 for 79 yards. Pedersen was his top target, hauling in three receptions for 62 yards.

Coming—Marion (1-0) will travel to Inman Friday for a 7 p.m. game. Inman comes into the game following a 46-33 loss to Hutchinson Trinity.

For scores and updates during games, follow Janae on Twitter @janaerem13