Marion smacks Nickerson 21-14

The Marion Warriors celebrated homecoming with a 21-14 win over
Nickerson Friday, gashing the Panthers for 31 rushing yards and a
touchdown with an 11-play series out of the gate. Nickerson received
the opening kickoff and fumbled the ball away on its third play from
scrimmage, with Brad Klenda recovering the loose ball. The Warriors
then converted on fourth-and-1 twice, setting the stage for a 4-yard
scamper by Mitchell Leppke 6:20 into the contest. Nickerson repaid
Marion in kind at the end of the quarter, turning a fumble into a
9-play series that culminated in a 1-yard plunge by Hector Rodriguez as
time expired on the first frame.

Sheldon Boone broke a 29-yard
run on the second play of the second quarter, and Marion revved up a
9-play series that covered 68 yards and ended with Leppke scooting 9
yards to score the 14-7 touchdown.? Leppke scored again with 22 seconds
left in the half, capping off drive that began at the Marion 27 and was
interrupted by an exchange of fumbles deep in Nickerson territory. On
first-and-10 at the Panther 18, Boone rumbled down the 5-yard line but
lost the ball with 1:26 left. But the defense stifled Nickerson on
third-and-3, forcing a fumble that Boone dove on at the Panther 10.
Boone blasted a 9-yard run on the next play, setting up Leppke's keeper
dive that made it 21-7.

?Marion lept out of the gate in the
second half, with Tylor Neil racing 58 yards on the kickoff return. But
the Warriors ran four plays, lost yardage, and had to punt 1:26 into
the third quarter. Nickerson seized the momentum at that point, scoring
on a 64-yard toss sweep around the left flank by Weston Cottrell to cut
it to 21-14. The Panthers attempted an onside kick, which was handled
by Eric Vogel near midfield. But the solid field position did not
translate into points for Marion, as the drive stalled at the Nickerson
18.

Marion mounted another extended drive in the fourth quarter,
marching down to the Nickerson 17 before backpedaling to the 47 on
penalties which included two personal fouls. The Warriors punted and
Nickerson sought the tying score on the drive that ensued from their
own 25, expending two timeouts during a 27-second span. After Marion
stuffed the Panthers on third-and-4, Nickerson faked the punt, with
kicker Wayne Ratley escaping containment to convert for the first down.
But Marion snuffed out the drive on a 7-yard sack on third down
followed by a tackle for no gain with 3:47 to go.

Boone then
closed the contest with an 11-yard run on third-and-4, forcing
Nickerson's final timeout with 1:21 remaining. Four plays and one last
first down let Leppke sap the rest of the clock on a victory formation
kneel.