The Marion football team earned its first victory of the season by defeating Sterling Friday, 36-13.
“We tried to spread the ball around, and everybody stepped up tonight and played better,” coach Shaun Craft said. “We challenged them all week.”
Marion scored on all but two of its first-half possessions to build a 22-7 lead over a beat up Black Bear team by halftime. Sterling’s starting quarterback, Brady Myers, did not suit up, and Black Bear backup Conan Ball left the game with an apparent injury in the first quarter and did not return, putting freshman Zach Surface under center the duration of the game.
The first quarter started slowly, with Sterling fumbling the ball away on its own 17-yard line and Marion unable to capitalize. As it was, Marion started all but one of its first-half drives in Black Bear territory.
A 26-yard catch by Noah Dalrymple keyed a 48-yard scoring drive that concluded with a diving 1-yard touchdown by Chase Stringer. Colton Mercer’s two-point conversion made it 8-0 with 48 seconds left in the opening quarter. Sterling returned the kickoff for a touchdown, and the first quarter ended with Marion leading, 8-7.
The Warriors scored two touchdowns in the second quarter, first on a 5-yard run by Stringer, and later, on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Stringer to Sam Zinn with 6:28 left in the half. Marion’s 22-7 lead held through halftime.
Marion added two third-quarter touchdowns. Evann Heidebrecht rushed for a 3-yard score to make it 28-7, and Mercer found open field for an 83-yard touchdown run on the first play of Marion’s next drive. Dalrymple recovered a fumble on the kickoff, but Marion was unable to capitalize. The quarter ended with Marion leading, 36-7.
Sterling scored its first offensive touchdown with 2:02 remaining, bringing it to the final, 23-point spread.
Marion recorded 269 yards of offense, led by Mercer with six carries for 109 yards and one touchdown. Through the air, Stringer was 5-for-10 for 68 yards and one touchdown.
Craft noted progress in Marion’s offensive line play.
“We had some position changes, and some guys moved around a little bit,” he said. “They just came off the ball a lot harder this week, and they were more clear on assignments, which we had an issue with last week.”
Craft seeks consistency moving forward.
“We had big plays here or there, then had a bad play,” he said. “We’ve just got to be consistent every play.”
Coming—Marion (1-1) will travel to Douglass Friday where kickoff is set for 7 p.m.