In a district battle between two Marion County teams, Marion prevailed over Hillsboro by a score of 42-14 Friday.
The score remained within one touchdown for three quarters of play, but Marion broke the game open in the fourth quarter.
Marion put two touchdowns on the board in the first quarter. The Warriors struck first on a 1-yard run by Jack Schneider to cap an 11-play, 50-yard drive. Then, two plays after Zachary Stuchlik intercepted a Trojan pass, Corbin Wheeler sprinted for a 5-yard score. That gave Marion a 12-0 lead, which held through the end of the first quarter.
The period ended with Hillsboro on the move, and the Trojans punched in their first score of the night on the third play of the second quarter. Jorge Hanschu crossed the goal line from 9 yards out to cap a 12-play, 69-yard drive. The drive was highlighted by a 17-yard pass from Kaden Kleiner to Elliot Ollenburger, and later, a 22-yard sprint by Kleiner to put the Trojans in the red zone. With 11:07 to play in the first half, Hillsboro had cut Marion’s lead in half, 12-6.
An inadvertent whistle negated what would have been a 75-yard touchdown run by Schneider on the first play of Marion’s next drive, which stalled when the Trojans came up with a fourth-down stop at their own 9-yard line. The Warriors maintained their 12-6 lead at halftime.
With Marion threatening to score on its first possession after halftime, the Trojans forced and recovered a Warrior fumble in the red zone. As it was, neither team scored in the third quarter.
Marion, however, scored the first of four fourth-quarter touchdowns three plays into the period on a 5-yard run by Schneider. Mason Pedersen’s two-point conversion reception from Schneider extended the Warriors’ lead to 20-6.
Pedersen cut Hillsboro’s next drive short with an interception on third down, and Marion needed three plays to score, this time on a 46-yard run by Schneider. Aaron Riggs’ two-point conversion run made it 28-6 with 8:34 to play.
Marion added a touchdown on its next possession when Schneider crossed the goal line from 3 yards out. That made it 34-6.
The Trojans responded by piecing together a 73-yard scoring drive. Hanschu gained 14 yards on the first play of the drive, and Hillsboro benefitted from a pair of Warrior penalties. Brooks Gardner rushed for a 3-yard score on the seventh play of the drive, and Kleiner connected with Jacob Funk for the two-point conversion pass. That trimmed Marion’s lead to 34-14 with 50 seconds left in the game.
Hillsboro attempted an onside kick, which bounced into the hands of Bryce Shults, who took the ball 58 yards for a touchdown. Riggs added the two-point conversion, bringing it to the final, 42-14 margin.
Marion recorded 376 yards of offense; Hillsboro had 196.
The Warriors rushed for 316 yards, led by Schneider with 23 carries for 169 yards and four touchdowns. Riggs also exceeded the century mark with 23 carries for 104 yards. Through the air, Schneider was 4-for-10 for 60 yards.
Hillsboro, meanwhile, rushed for 108 yards, led by Hanschu with nine carries for 47 yards and one touchdown. Through the air, Kleiner was 8-for-20 for 88 yards.
Coming—With the win, Marion improved to 1-1 in district play, 7-1 overall. Hillsboro moved to 0-2, 2-6.
In other district action, Hesston defeated Southeast of Saline, 34-26, to lead the district with a 2-0 record, 5-3 overall. SES moved to 1-1, 7-1.
District play continues Thursday when Marion will travel to Hesston, and Hillsboro will host Southeast of Saline. Kickoff for both games is set for 7 p.m.
For scores and updates during games, follow Janae on Twitter @janaerem13