Despite holding a narrow lead at halftime, the Marion football team committed costly turnovers in the third quarter of tonight’s road match-up with Inman and let the game fell through their hands, 39-28. The loss drops them to 1-3 on the season so far.
Marion started out strong, forcing Inman to punt on their first possession before senior running back Brody Carroll converted on a fourth-and-one at the 35-yard line and then scrambled in for a touchdown halfway through the first quarter. Grif Case’s extra point made it 7-0.
But Inman would drive back down field on their next possession, converting with the pitch on a fourth-and-four to tie it up with 58 seconds left.
The Warriors would punt the ball away on their turn, but the Teutons fumbled the punt return and Marion’s Lance Knolla recovered the ball on Inman’s 23-yard line. On fourth and seven, junior quarterback Taylor Heidebrecht connected with senior received Jacob Harper for a first down, then Heidebrecht ran in for the touchdown at 9:07 for a 14-7 margin.
Two missed tackles from Marion would give Inman a 45-yard run for a first down on their next possession, setting up a touchdown scramble up the middle from speedster senior quarterback Josh Miller, who gave the Marion defense fits all night. The two-point conversion failed, leaving Marion with a narrow 14-13 lead going into the second half.
But as the second half began, so did all the Warriors’ troubles. They fumbled the ball away to Inman on their first drive of the half, giving the ball to the Teutons on Marion’s 41-yard line. Inman quickly moved the ball down field, as Miller escaped a couple plays into the drive for a first down at the Marion five-yard line at 9:51. Inman took the lead with just under nine minutes left in the third period, failing in a two-point conversion attempt to make it 19-14.
Marion started a drive of their own, making it to the Inman 33-yard line before the Teutons picked off a Heidebrecht pass at the 25 with seven minutes remaining. But the Warrior defense made a stand, earning repeated losses on plays until Inman had to punt the ball away.
When the Warriors took over the ball, they drove to near midfield, but were stopped on downs when a scramble from Heidebrecht was ruled millimeters shy of the first down. Inman capitalized on the opportunity in a big way, putting together a 24-yard on first down before Miller again escaped coverage and ran through traffic for a Teuton touchdown. The two-point conversion succeeded, making the score 27-14 at 11:37 in the final period.
Marion responded with a touchdown drive, as Heidebrecht passed to near the four-yard line and then scored on the keeper at 10:32. Case’s kick brought it back within a score, 27-21, with Marion trailing.
At first it appeared the Warriors would get another stop on Inman’s following possession, but Inman converted on a fourth and three and then broke free for a long run to the Marion 24-yard line before being run down by Warrior James Jones. Inman ran in for the touchdown on the next play, but failed to convert on the two-pointer, making it 33-21 with seven minutes remaining.
Marion caught a lucky break on Inman’s next possession, as Miller broke free at the 48 and ran all the way in on the left side for a touchdown, but the score was brought back on a holding call. Marion forced the Teutons to turn over the ball on downs with 2:42 left.
The Warriors needed to move the ball down and score, fast, and they proceeded to do just that. Marion passed more in the final quarter of tonight’s game than they have all season, picking up first downs in rapid succession off passes to Jones, Case and Harper. They sealed the deal in spectacular fashion, as Harper made a leaping catch in traffic and came down on the line for the touchdown with 1:11 left on the clock, making it 33-28.
But Marion needed another break in the form of an onside kick, and they wouldn’t get it. Inman took over the ball at the 30-yard line, with Miller escaping Carroll’s tackle for a 60-yard touchdown run with 58 seconds left on the clock, taking a 39-28 lead.
The Warriors didn’t just roll over and die as the clock wound down, completing pass after pass to pick up a series of first downs. But a pass to Harper in the red zone was knocked down by an Inman defender with two seconds left and a throw to Case in the end zone fell through his fingers. Ultimately, Inman walked away with the 11-point victory on their homecoming night.
Marion is scheduled to host Sunrise Christian Academy Friday for their next outing.