The Marion football team had little trouble securing the Class 2-1A District 3 title in a 72-14 rout at Mission Valley Thursday. Both teams entered the contest with perfect 3-0 records in the district, but Marion established its presence from the start.
When the Warrior defense forced a three-and-out on the game?s opening drive, Kyle Palic set the tone early by blocking the Viking punt. Jacob Baldwin recovered the ball at the Viking 16-yard line, and three plays later, Adam Janzen was in the end zone after a 3-yard run to give the Warriors a 6-0 lead.
The Vikings were penalized for a false start, and the next snap sailed high over Viking quarterback Tanner Allen?s head. Tyler Neufeld recovered the loose ball in the end zone for a second Marion touchdown just 13 seconds after the first. Baldwin?s two-point conversion pass to Brad Stone made it 14-0.
Stone intercepted Mission Valley?s first-down pass, setting up Marion?s third score. The Warriors marched 24 yards in five plays, scoring on Baldwin?s 2-yard run for a 22-0 margin after Janzen?s two-point conversion.
Marion struck again following a Viking three-and-out. Facing third-and-10 at the Warrior 34-yard line, Baldwin threw a perfect strike to a wide-open Stone across the middle for a 67-yard touchdown. After Baldwin?s two-point conversion, Marion?s lead had extended to 30-0. That score held to the end of the first quarter.
Just as they had in the first quarter, the Warriors scored on every possession in the second. Marion scored less than three minutes into the period on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Baldwin to Mason Pedersen, and added another score when Janzen rumbled his way through the Viking defense for a 74-yard touchdown run on the first play of the drive. With the run, Janzen surpassed 1,000 yards rushing on the season. His touchdown gave Marion a 44-0 lead with 6:54 left in the half.
Mission Valley countered with a five-play scoring drive, set up by a 59-yard run by Allen to the Warrior 2-yard line. Three plays later, the Vikings were on the board and added the extra-point kick, making it 44-7.
But it only took two plays for Marion to strike once more, this time on a 61-yard touchdown run by Baldwin, who broke tackles along the way to extend the lead to 50-7. Marion got the ball back with 1:50 left in the half and punched in one more score, this time on a 21-yard pass from Baldwin to Corbin Wheeler. With Seth Snelling?s two-point conversion, Marion took a 58-7 lead into intermission.
A running clock was put into effect to start the third quarter, and Marion head coach Grant Thierolf began clearing his bench. The Vikings managed the only score of the period on a 41-yard run by Dane Howe that made it 58-14 heading into the final quarter.
Marion responded with a score five plays in on a 9-yard run by Aaron Riggs, who added the two-point conversion for a 66-14 score with 9:11 to go.
After a Mission Valley fumble, Marion scored once more on a 5-yard run by Jarrett Johnson, bringing the score to the final, 72-14, margin.
Marion rolled up 517 yards of total offense, compared with 160 for Mission Valley, who gained all of its yardage on the ground. The Warriors tallied 378 yards rushing, led by Janzen with 11 carries for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Baldwin added eight carries for 120 yards and two scores. Through the air, Baldwin was 4-for-4 for 139 yards and three touchdowns.
With the win, Marion clinches the District 3 championship, and Mission Valley is district runners-up.
Coming?Marion (4-0, 6-3) will host Lyndon (3-1, 8-1) in a regional matchup to kickoff the playoffs Friday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m.
For scores and updates during football games, follow Janae on Twitter @janaerem13