Marion?s football team played a strong first half against undefeated Sedgwick, but the game got away from the Warriors in the second half with a 34-18 defeat for their first loss of the season after four wins.
Marion running back Colten Johnson got the game rolling with a 52-yard run that took the ball from the Marion 28 to Sedgwick?s 20-yard line. With 3:15 left in the first quarter, quarterback Cole Lewman scored to cap the drive. The extra point was no good, giving the Warriors a 6-0 lead.
Marion got another key break with 2:52 left when Jacob Harper intercepted a pass at the Warrior 44-yard line. Taylor Heidebrecht then fought off two defenders to grab a Lewman pass at Sedgwick?s 34 with 1:40 left. In a fourth-and-six situation, the Warriors appeared to come up short, but a pass-interference penalty gave Marion the first down at the end of the first quarter.
Seven seconds into the second quarter, Johnson ran in for the touchdown to make the score 12-0 after the missed extra point.
Sedgwick struck next, when Josh Locke snagged a 30-yard pass and ran in for the Cardinals? first touchdown with 10 minutes left in the half to cut the margin to 12-7.
After the Cardinal defense stopped Marion on the ensuing possession, Sedgwick drove for its second score when Levi Vogt caught a 22-yard pass from Trent Stucky with 3:04 left. With the extra point, Sedgwick took their first lead, 14-12.
Marion threatened to score on their next drive when Lewman broke free to carry the ball to Sedgwick?s 42. The Warriors drove steadily up the field, but lost a fumble on Sedgwick?s 13-yard line.
Marion?s James Jones broke up a Sedgwick pass to save a possible touchdown and give his team the ball on downs, with just 15 seconds left to play. The Warriors received the Cardinal punt, but with only 1.9 seconds left in the half. But Johnson took off through traffic from the Marion 48-yard all the way for a touchdown.
?I think that?s the greatest run, right there, in Marion football history,? coach Grant Thierolf said moments after the play.
Marion had its lead back, 18-14, going into the second half. But the momentum would be short-lived. After Lewman jump-started the offense with a run to the Sedgwick 20-yard line from midfield, Marion lost another fumbled on the Sedgwick 13-yard line with 7:12 remaining in the third quarter.
Sedgwick?s Dalton Drandt then broke free to run for a touchdown, but it was called back on a penalty. Unphased, the Cardinals completed an 80-yard double pass play to Daniel Vogt for the score with six minutes to play. They missed the extra point, but still led, 20-18.
The Warriors seemed to lose their confidence after fumbles stalled their offensive efforts in the third quarter, and they would not score again.
On the other hand, with 10:48 left in the game, Drandt broke free in traffic for an 89-yard run for a Cardinal touchdown to make it 27-18.
The Marion defense held Sedgwick in the red zone for three downs on their next drive, but with 5:17 left, Locke caught a touchdown pass for the final margin.
Sedgwick threatened to inflate the margin after recovering another Marion fumble at the Warrior 27-yard line with 4:38 to play. But the defense stood firm and prevented another score.
The Warriors (4-1) will look to capitalize on their home field Friday when they take on undefeated Hutch Trinity (5-0).