The Marion football team overcame their butterfingers to pick up their second win Friday, 34-12, over an experienced Inman team.
The Warriors started off strong, driving to midfield on their first possession, when the game took a turn for the worse. Quarterback Cole Lewman fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Inman. However, the Marion defense stepped up, forcing a turnover on downs.
A couple possessions later, on third-and-10, Lewman completed a long pass to senior tight end Dakin Letford at the Inman 47. But Lewman fumbled the ball again on Inman’s 27 yard line to end the drive.
Inman and Marion continued to trade possessions during first quarter in what turned out to be a defensive battle.
Quarterback Cole Lewman and the offense found their spark in the second quarter. After the defense forced Inman to turn over their ball on downs, Lewman ran the ball to Marion’s 44-yard line for a first down with 9:15 left in the half. Then Lewman broke free at midfield and made it to Inman’s 4-yard line. He ran in for the Warriors’ first touchdown with eight minutes left in the half. The extra point was no good, so Marion led, 6-0.
After the Marion defense forced Inman to punt again two possessions later — thanks in part to Colten Johnson’s quarterback sack on Inman’s 15-yard line — running back Mikael Antoszyk returned the kick to the Inman 39. Lewman ran to near the 20, but Inman stepped up for the stop on third down. But the Warriors took the chance on fourth down; Lewman threw to Dakin Letford at the 2-yard line with just seven seconds left in the half. Lewman then punched through for the touchdown and the 2-point conversion to give Marion a 14-0 at halftime.
The offense slowly heated up for both teams during the second half.
Inman drove to midfield, but the Marion defense recovered a fumble on Inman’s 46-yard line. Lewman then completed the pitch to Brody Carroll for the first down on the 34-yard line with 9:17 left. But Marion fumbled on the next play and recovered the ball for a loss. The drive stalled and the Warriors turned it over on downs near the 30.
Marion found some spark in Letford, who tipped an Inman pass into the hands of Johnson, who ran it in for a touchdown with just under eight minutes left. The extra point made it 21-0.
Letford tipped the ball twice more on Inman’s next possession, once toward Johnson, who could not hold on to it, and the second time to an Inman player who was tackled for a loss. But a couple plays later Inman’s Grant Garst ran for the Teuton’s first touchdown with just under five minutes left in the third quarter. The extra point was no good, making the score 21-6.
Johnson returned the kickoff from deep in Warrior territory for a touchdown, but a penalty brought the ball back to Inman’s 20. Johnson ran to the 5-yard line for a first down and seconds later Carroll punched through for the touchdown. The Warriors led, 28-6, with 4:10 left in the third quarter.
But Inman drove from midfield to the goal line, then througha scoring pass on second down to make it 28-12. Though the Warriors stopped the Teutons’ 2-point conversion run.
After Letford sacked the Inman quarterback at their 6-yard line. Antoszyk returned a short punt to the Teuton 20. Lewman scored a couple of plays later with five minutes left in the game. After a muffed extra point, Marion still led, 34-12.
Late in the game, Antoszyk ran a punt back for a touchdown that was called back on another penalty. The Warriors drove down the field to Inman’s 5-yard line with mere seconds remaining. But the game was called and Marion walked away with a 34-12 victory.
With the win, Marion improved to 2-0 for the season and 1-0 in Heart of America play.