Marion throttles Bluestem, 68-14

Colton Mercer rushes past a couple of Bluestem defenders on Friday. He had 38-yards and a touchdown on the night. Allison Shults/Special to the Free Press
Colton Mercer rushes past a couple of Bluestem defenders on Friday. He had 38-yards and a touchdown on the night. Allison Shults/Special to the Free Press
The Marion football team picked up its first win in district play by defeating Leon-Bluestem Friday, 68-14.

“We came out with a lot more fire and emotion,” coach Shaun Craft said. “Football is a game of emotions, and if you don’t play with a little passion and fire it’s hard to be successful.”

The Warriors scored 30 unanswered points in the first quarter, including touchdown runs by Chase Stringer and Evann Heidebrecht. By the time Colton Mercer rushed for a 6-yard touchdown early in the second quarter, Marion held a 38-0 lead.

Leon-Bluestem returned the ensuring kickoff for a touchdown, but Marion responded by scoring its final four touchdowns before halftime.

Stringer completed a 45-yard touchdown pass to Eli Hett, then Stringer rushed for a 58-yard score. Heidebrecht crossed the goal line for a 3-yard touchdown, and Jaxton Tracy hauled in a 17-yard touchdown strike from Stringer with just 26 seconds left in the half, for a 68-6 margin at intermission.

Leon-Bluestem scored its final touchdown with 4:12 left in the third quarter.

Marion totaled 391 yards of offense, including 319 rushing yards led by Stringer with 10 carries for 131 yards and two touchdowns.

Through the air, Stringer was 3-for-6 for 72 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, Mercer and Blaine Mermis each had three solo tackles.

Leon-Bluestem recorded 166 yards of offense and turned the ball over seven times, including three lost fumbles and four interceptions. Warriors with interception receptions were: Sam Zinn (2), Noah Dalrymple and Heidebrecht.

Craft said he was pleased with the emotion displayed by his team, as well as offensive line communication.

Coming—As the third-place finisher in Class 1A, District 2, Marion (1-2, 2-6) will travel to Pleasanton (7-1), the runners-up in District 1, Thursday for a 7 p.m. game to start Class 1A bracket play.

Meanwhile, Olpe (3-0, 8-0) won District 2, while Hillsboro (2-1, 6-2) finished as runners-up.

With a win, Marion would face either Olpe or Uniontown in a regional game.