Marion ends season with win over district champion Mission Valley

Marion walked away with a 22-20 win over district champion Mission Valley on a rainy Friday night, yet missed the playoffs.

The Warriors needed an 18-point victory to keep their playoff hopes alive in what became a tight district race. Mission Valley came into the game after defeating Northern Heights, 28-22, last week. Yet Northern Heights beat Marion, 34-24, on Oct. 9. All three went 3-1 in district play. But at the end of the day, Mission Valley clinched the district championship, and Northern Heights finished runners-up.

Thus, Marion?s season ended with a win, with the Warriors boasting an overall record of 7-2, and its only district loss a costly one. Aaron Riggs rushes for a 13-yard gain during Marion?s second scoring drive Friday against Mission Valley. Riggs had 16 carries for 133 yards.

Marion struck first in the contest with a four-play, 60-yard drive, keyed by a 22-yard run by Aaron Riggs on second down. Jack Schneider connected with Mason Pedersen two plays later for a 28-yard touchdown pass, giving Marion an 8-0 lead after Corbin Wheeler?s two-point conversion with 3:44 left in the first quarter.

The first quarter ended with Mission Valley threatening to score, and the Vikings crossed the goal line three plays into the second period, tying the score at 8.

The Warriors responded immediately with their second scoring drive, highlighted by a 12-yard run by Schneider and a 13-yard run by Riggs and aided by a Viking pass interference penalty. Wheeler crossed the goal line from 10 yards out, pushing Marion back in front, 16-8, after Schneider?s two-point conversion. Corbin Wheeler rushes for a 4-yard gain during Marion?s second scoring drive against Mission Valley.

Both teams forced a turnover on downs before Mission Valley added one final score right before halftime. With 2:41 to work with, the Vikings drove from their own 19-yard line to the Marion 15-yard line in 14 plays, at one point retaining possession with a successful fake punt. With just one second left on the clock, the Vikings completed a 15-yard pass in the end zone for a touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt failed, giving Marion a narrow, 16-14 margin at halftime.

With the moisture picking up slightly after halftime, Marion forced a Viking turnover on downs, then pieced together its final scoring drive of the night on its first possession of the half. Schneider rushed for a 21-yard gain on second down, and two-plays later, Riggs broke loose for a 52-yard score. The two-point conversion failed, giving Marion a 22-14 advantage.

Once again, Mission Valley matched Marion blow for blow, scoring on its ensuing drive when quarterback Clay Phillips ran untouched for a 21-yard score on the fifth play of the drive. The two-point conversion failed, bringing it to the final, 22-20 margin with 7:07 left in the third quarter.Jack Schneider fakes the handoff then rushes for a 51-yard gain late in the third quarter against Mission Valley. Schneider had 13 carries for 120 yards.

Marion threatened to score late in the third quarter, advancing to the Viking 8-yard line, but a pass on fourth-and-goal fell incomplete to force a turnover on downs. With one exception on Marion?s last drive, neither team made it into the red zone again.

Marion rolled up 349 yards of offense, including 317 on the ground led by Riggs with 16 carries for 133 yards. Schneider also surpassed the century mark with 13 carries for 120 yards. Through the air, Schneider was 2-for-12 for 32 yards and one touchdown.

Marion concludes the season with an overall record of 7-2.

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