Marion suffers first loss of season to Northern Heights

The Marion football team saw a 24-14 halftime lead over Northern Heights turn into a 34-24 deficit when the final whistle blew Friday.

The Warriors searched in vain for any sense of rhythm offensively in the second half, and struggled on defense to contain a Wildcat offense boasting two rushers and one receiver exceeding the 100-yard mark.Jack Schneider rushes for a 46-yard touchdown on the game?s opening drive. Marion suffered its first loss of the season to Northern Heights, 34-24.

Things clicked for the Warriors early, however, as Marion scored just one minute into the game when Jack Schneider ran for a 46-yard touchdown. Schneider?s two-point conversion gave Marion an 8-0 lead.

Just as quickly, Northern Heights capped a five-play, 64-yard scoring drive with a 26-yard touchdown run. The extra-point kick made it 8-7 at the 9:31 mark.

The Warriors needed just three plays to score after that, thanks to a 69-yard pass completion from Schneider to Mason Pedersen that set up an 8-yard Peyton Heidebrecht score on the next play. Marion took a 16-7 lead with 8:29 left in the first quarter. That score held through the first break, as the teams traded punts to end the period.

The teams traded fumbles in the second quarter. When the Warrior defense held on the Wildcats? second possession of the period, the drive culminated in two missed field goal attempts as the result of an inadvertent whistle after the first kick fell well short of the goal posts and was scooped up by Marion and taken the other way.

The Wildcats closed the gap to 16-14 with a 63-yard touchdown run by Theron Row just two plays into their next drive. Pedersen returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, but it was negated by a holding penalty.

Marion pieced together what would be its final scoring drive of the night right before halftime. Schneider completed back-to-back passes to Heidebrecht and Corbin Wheeler for 19 and 14 yards, respectively. Three plays later, Schneider connected with Pedersen in the corner of the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown strike. Schneider?s two-point conversion gave Marion a 24-14 halftime lead. Aaron Riggs hurdles a would-be tackler for an 8-yard gain early in the second quarter against Northern Heights Friday. Riggs was Marion?s leading rusher with 14 carries for 64 yards.

Northern Heights marched nearly the length of the field after intermission, piecing together a 95-yard drive that devoured nearly half of the third quarter. The drive was capped by a 14-yard touchdown pass, making it 24-20 at the 6:03 mark.

After a Warrior punt, Northern Heights closed the quarter with a scoring drive to take the lead, 27-24, thanks to a 63-yard catch and run that went for a touchdown with 33 seconds left in the quarter.

The Warriors? next two drives ended in a turnover on downs and an interception. With a short field to work with, Northern Heights was in the end zone in three running plays courtesy of leading rusher Trent Burd, who finished the night with 27 carries for 146 yards and one touchdown. That made it 34-24 with 3:42 to go. Marion had two more possessions sandwiching a Northern Heights fumble recovered by Garrett Hoffner, but both ended in interceptions, allowing Northern Heights to run out the clock.

Marion tallied 303 yards of total offense, including 145 rushing led by Aaron Riggs with 14 carries for 64 yards. Through the air, Schneider was 10-for-21 for 158 yards and one touchdown.

Northern Heights rolled up 473 yards of offense, including 275 rushing and 198 passing.

Coming?Marion falls to 1-1 in district play, 5-1 overall. The Warriors will take a break from district play when undefeated and state-ranked Meade comes to town Friday.

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

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