It took a few possessions for the Marion offense to come to life, but once it did, there was no stopping the Warriors as they rolled to a 56-8 victory over Herington Friday.
Marion?s first two possessions ended in a punt and a turnover on downs, and it was the Warrior defense that put the first points on the board. Two plays into Herington?s first drive, Jacob Baldwin tackled Railer quarterback Justin Biehler in the end zone for a safety for an early 2-0 lead.
After that, though, the Marion offense rattled off six consecutive scoring drives, on its way to a 317-yard night. Marion tallied 241 yards on the ground, led by Adam Janzen with 19 carries for 150 yards and two scores. Through the air, Baldwin was 3-for-5 for 76 yards and two touchdowns.
The Warrior defense did its job, too, limiting the Railers to just 44 yards of total offense, including 24 passing and 20 rushing.
The Railers did not convert a first down until less than 2 minutes remained in the first half. On offense, Herington crossed the 50-yard line into Marion territory only once in the first half, and did not enter Warrior territory again until the fourth quarter.
The Warrior offense, meanwhile, kicked off its scoring spree with a 2-yard Janzen run and two-point conversion for a 10-0 lead with 2:12 to go in the opening period.
Brad Stone intercepted Biehler?s second-down pass, and Janzen was in the end zone again just four plays later, this time on a 43-yard scamper. Janzen?s two-point conversion made it 18-0, a margin that held to the end of the first quarter.
Marion proved to be a scoring threat through the air as well, as Baldwin connected with Stone for a 7-yard touchdown pass to cap an eight-play, 57-yard drive that increased the lead to 26-0 after Baldwin?s two-point conversion.
On the sixth play of Marion?s next drive, Baldwin completed a pass to Corbin Wheeler, who ran through the Railer defense 75 yards for a score that made it 34-0 after Baldwin added the two-point conversion.
Following Herington?s first first-down conversion of the night, Janzen intercepted a Biehler pass and ran it back for his third score of the night. The 38-yard pick-six and two-point conversion by Baldwin gave Marion a 42-0 lead, which held to halftime. Biehler was injured on the kickoff return and did not return the duration of the night.
With Chase Mayers under center, Herington fumbled the ball away on the second half?s first possession. Marion needed just four plays to score, this time on a 3-yard run by Seth Snelling. Wheeler added the two-point conversion, making it 50-0.
Marion head coach Grant Thierolf began pulling his starters, and Remington Putter snagged an interception three plays into the next drive. With a running clock in place, Marion added a score on a 3-yard run by Tyler Neufeld, increasing the lead to 56-0 by the end of the third quarter.
After Herington was forced to turn the ball over on downs, Marion fumbled a pitch and could not fall on the ball, which bounced nearer and nearer the Warrior end zone. Herington finally scooped up the loose ball and ran it in for a score with around 4:45 left in the game. The two-point conversion pass brought the score to the final, 56-8 margin.
Coming?In a battle with playoff implications between the top two teams in Class 2-1A District 3, Marion will travel to Mission Valley Thursday for a 7 p.m. game. Both teams are 3-0 in district play, 5-3 overall. Mission Valley comes into the game after a 20-18 victory over Northern Heights.
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