The Marion Warriors were never threatened Friday night, earning a 46-6 victory on the road at Bennington.
Marion struck fast and never looked back, scoring on its opening drive to take the lead one minute into the game after a 56-yard touchdown run by Adam Janzen. Grif Case?s kick failed, but the Warriors held a 6-0 lead.
When Bennington couldn?t convert on fourth-and-4, the Marion offense again went to work, scoring after five plays on a 23-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Taylor Heidebrecht to Zach Robson. The two-point conversion failed, putting Marion in the lead, 12-0 with 5:39 left in the opening quarter.
Trevor Kruse intercepted a pass on Bennington?s second play from scrimmage to hand the ball back to the Warriors at the Bulldog 13-yard line.
After a false start penalty on first down, Marion capitalized when Kruse pounded in for an 18-yard touchdown run. Case?s kick made it 19-0 with 4:32 left in the first quarter.
Although Bennington returned the ball to the Warrior 19-yard line, the Bulldogs could not take advantage of the field position, turning the ball over on downs.
Marion?s ensuing drive lasted into the second quarter. Janzen broke tackles to advance the ball to the 2-yard line after a 45-yard run, and Kruse crossed the goal line on the next play, capping a seven-play, 85-yard drive that took 2:56 off the clock. Case?s kick was no good after a delay of game penalty, but Marion led 25-0 with 11:16 left in the half.
The teams traded interceptions on four consecutive possessions, but Marion managed one final score of the half after a botched snap on a Bennington punt gave the Warriors the ball at the Bulldog 13-yard line.
After a defensive encroachment penalty narrowed the field to first-and-5 at the 8-yard line, a Heidebrecht pass to Jones for a touchdown was called back because of a holding penalty. Two plays later, however, Heidebrecht connected with Jones in the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown. Case?s kick made it 32-0, a lead the Warriors took into the half.
The Bulldogs got the ball to start the second half, but the Warrior defense forced a three-and-out.
Robson returned the Bulldog punt to the Bennington 27-yard line, and three plays later, Caleb Williams found the end zone on a 15-yard touchdown run. Case?s kick increased Marion?s lead to 39-0 with 8:39 left in the third quarter.
When Bennington couldn?t convert on fourth down, Marion took over at the Bulldog 25-yard line. Marion coach Grant Thierolf began sending in the second string; still, the Warriors scored two plays later on a quarterback keeper by Robson for a 10-yard touchdown run. Case?s kick made it 46-0 with 5:50 left in the third quarter.
With a running clock in effect and multiple Warrior defensive starters on the sideline, Bennington pieced together its only scoring drive of the night, cashing in on a 1-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion failed, bringing the score to 46-6 with around 7:30 left in the game.
That would be the final score, as Bennington couldn?t capitalize on a Warrior fumble and turned the ball over on downs, allowing Marion to run out the clock.
Marion will host Inman Friday, with homecoming festivities prior to the 7 p.m. kickoff.