Marion falls just short in battle at undefeated Meade, 39-36

The Marion football team lost a hard-fought battle at undefeated Meade Friday, 39-36.

In the non-district contest, it was a scoreless first period, but the quarter ended with Meade on the move. The Buffaloes punched in the game?s first score one play into the second quarter on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Friesen to Nick Finke, giving Meade a 7-0 lead after the extra-point kick at the 11:53 mark.

Marion responded with its first scoring drive of the night, covering 65 yards in seven plays. The drive culminated in a 39-yard touchdown strike from Jacob Baldwin to Mason Pedersen. The two-point conversion attempt failed, bringing Marion within 7-6.

But Meade was in the end zone again just four plays later on a 9-yard touchdown run by Friesen. The extra-point kick extended Meade?s lead to 14-6.

After a Warrior three-and-out, Meade marched 52 yards and added another score, this time from 3 yards out. That made it 20-6 with less than a minute left in the half.

Marion closed the gap, though, when Brad Stone returned the ensuing kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown. Baldwin?s two-point conversion put Marion within 20-14, a margin that held to halftime.

After intermission, Marion had a chance to tie or take the lead, but the Warriors fumbled the ball away on the first possession of the second half.

Meade capitalized on the turnover with a touchdown that extended the Buffaloes? lead to 27-14. But Marion struck back with a seven-play, 58-yard drive to close the gap to 27-20 on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Baldwin to Pedersen.

The Warriors came up big with a defensive stop on Meade?s next possession, and Marion took over on downs at its own 49-yard line. With momentum swinging the Warriors? way, Marion took its first lead of the night on the first play of the fourth quarter when Adam Janzen crossed the goal line from 6 yards out and added the two-point conversion for a 28-27 lead.

Marion?s lead was short-lived, however, as Meade needed only two plays to move back in front with a 61-yard touchdown scamper for a 33-28 margin.

The teams continued to trade blows, as Marion responded with a scoring drive that culminated in Baldwin?s third touchdown pass to Pedersen, this time from 39 yards out. Baldwin?s two-point conversion put Marion back in front, 36-33, with 8:45 left in the game.

The Buffaloes? next drive took more than 7 minutes off the clock. Meade converted a key fourth-and-3 from the Marion 8-yard line and scored two plays later to jump back in front, 39-36, with 1:12 left in the game.

Marion?s final drive began at the Warrior 41-yard line, and after a Janzen run on first down, Baldwin completed three consecutive passes to move the Warriors to the Meade 20-yard line. Marion called timeout with 17.6 seconds left, but Baldwin?s pass was intercepted on the next play, which sealed the game.

Coming?Marion (4-3) will resume district play when Herington (1-6) comes to town Friday for a 7 p.m. game. Marion remains 2-0 in district play; Herington is 0-3.

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

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