Collegiate escapes Marion with 28-19 win


Marion?s Luke Gordon hauls in a touchdown pass from Sheldon Boone vs. Collegiate.

The Marion High School football team dropped a hard-fought 28-19 home game against Wichita Collegiate Friday that seemed to be headed toward a rout after the Spartans blitzed the Warriors for 14 points in the first six minutes of the game. Instead Marion found itself with a player wide open in the front right corner of the end zone with a well-thrown ball in flight.

Right there for the taking, the touchdown that would make it a one-possession game and throw all of the momentum behind the home team with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter.

But like so much else that didn?t go quite right for the Warriors, the ball?and the opportunity to inflict a monumental upset on a highly touted team?slipped right through Nick Klenda?s grip.

Marion continued to battle, but from that moment on had to outplay both the Spartans and the clock.

Collegiate had its way early in the game, scoring on its second play from scrimmage when Andrew Hourani took a pass in stride and raced 43 yards for a 7-0 lead 26 seconds into contest.

After a Marion punt, Collegiate struck again with an eight-play series that climaxed with Tre Bailey whipping a pass to Quincy Taylor to turn third-and-goal from the Marion 20 into a touchdown. Tyler Coghenour?s second extra point of the night made it 14-0 with 5:51 left in the first.

The Warrior defense had barely caught its collective breath while the offense stumbled through its second three-and-out. Even so, the Warriors hung tough against the team ranked fourth in Class 3A by the Wichita Eagle.

Aided by a holding penalty that put Collegiate in a throwing posture on first-and-26, Marion forced consecutive incompletions and took advantage of a fumble in the Spartan backfield to force Collegiate to punt out of its own end zone.

The punt wobbled out of bounds at the Spartan 26, where it was caught by head coach Grant Thierolf.

The Warriors jumped on the opportunity. Facing third-and-13 just before the quarter expired, Marion picked up its initial first down of the night on a 14-yard throw from Mitchell Leppke to Luke Gordon.

After the teams traded ends, a Tylor Neil-led charge dissolved into a fourth-and-five from the Collegiate 10-yard line.

Marion called a timeout with 10:06 left in the second quarter to set up a halfback pass designed to isolate Luke Gordon against a much smaller defensive back.

It worked to perfection, as Sheldon Boone put exactly enough air under the throw to ensure that Gordon?and only Gordon?could make the catch.

Gordon did his part, as did kicker Brian Fruechting, and the Warriors slashed the Spartan lead to 14-7.

But just when Marion had all the momentum moving its direction, Coughenour returned the kickoff 95 yards, adding the kick at 9:45 to throw the Warriors back into a two-possession hole.

Marion advanced to the Collegiate 39 but lost its second fumble of the evening at 5:36.

Collegiate took possession at midfield and rammed home another touchdown, using a 32-yard reception by Blake Jablonski to set up a one-yard dive by Hourani for a 28-7 advantage heading into halftime.

But Marion seized control of the game after the intermission, forcing Collegiate?s first turn?over 20 seconds into the third quarter.

The Warriors went three-and-out, then forced another fumble, then punted again, then forced a third turnover before finally taking advantage of superior field position to score.

A long reception by Gordon set up a one-yard quarterback keeper run by Leppke with 26 seconds left in the frame. The point-after went wide, making it 28-13, Spartans, to start the fourth.

Collegiate ran six plays to begin the final period, but continued to struggle to hold on to the ball, fumbling the ball back to Marion deep in Spartan territory with 9:37 remaining.

The Warriors went for the jugular, hitting Boone with a nine-yard pass to set up a third-and-five from the 10-yard line which became a fourth-and-four at the 9.

Then came Klenda?s chance, but the ball refused to cooperate and Collegiate took over on downs.

The Warriors forced a punt with 5:23 left and Boone blasted a 16-yard run up the gut for the 28-19 score with 3:41 to go. But the 2-point conversion was stopped, and Marion still needed to score twice.

Fruechting sent away a promising onside kick, Collegiate recovered th ball, effectively ending the game with an eight-play series that sapped the clock down to 49 seconds.

Coming?Marion (1-1) hosts its homecoming game at 7 p.m. Friday against Nickerson (0-2), which was defeated 44-6 by Hoisington last week.

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