Marion whips Wildcats in first game

Marion quarterback Jack Schneider runs for 24 yards during the first quarter Friday at Moundridge. The play set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Adam Janzen for Marion?s first score in the 38-7 victory.Marion showed it had what it took to defeat Moundridge in the football season-opener Friday night.
With a strong defensive showing?Marion maintained a shutout until the final quarter?and an offense that backed the defense with points, the Warriors won handily, 38-7.
?I thought Moundridge played hard,? coach Grant Thierolf said. ?I thought they played really well. We just had more players than they did, and for us to be able to get everybody in a first game, that?s big.?
The victory was not without gifts from the Wildcats. Moundridge coughed up the ball three times and committed an error on special teams that set up the Warriors for an easy score.
Thierolf took away many positives from his team?s first outing, including the balanced attack of his offense led by freshman quarterback Jack Schneider.
?Moundridge was able to do some things against us tonight that are going to help us later on in the year,? he said. ?They were good in their stunts, and teams are going to try that against Jack being a freshman quarterback.
?But I thought he handled it very well tonight. He threw the ball very well, and if we can add that, that?s a nice complement to everything else we?ve done.?
Marion?s running game remained strong with the trio of Adam Janzen, Seth Snelling and Schneider combining for 194 of Marion?s 209 yards on the ground.
Schneider completed 12 of 16 attempts for 103 yards and two touchdowns.
?It?s nice when we?re able to execute it,? Thierolf said of the passing game. ?So that?s just exciting because now you can stretch the field horizontally, you can stretch the field laterally. Vertically, it just makes it so much nicer.?
The success of the passing game, which included two touchdown receptions, relied on everyone doing his part, including linemen and receivers.
?It starts off with Jacob Baldwin running great routes across the middle,? Thierolf said. ?By and large, Jack had good protection. He had time to throw, and that?s awfully important, too.?
It took a little while for Marion to find its rhythm. The Wildcats got a boost when the Warriors failed to convert a fake punt on the game?s opening drive. That gave Moundridge the ball at the Warrior 27-yard line.
But the Marion defense held strong and forced a turnover on downs.
Thierolf praised the overall efforts of his defense, which forced three fumbles during the game.
?We?re starting a lot of young guys,? he said. ?We?re starting basically 10 new guys on defense, to have that success was exciting.?
After the stop, Schneider completed back-to-back passes to Mason Pedersen and Baldwin, then followed with a 24-yard keeper that gave the Warriors a first down at the Wildcat 3.
Janzen scored on the next play, capping a nine-play, 66-yard drive. Corbin Wheeler hauled in a tipped pass in the end zone for an 8-0 Warrior lead that held to the end of the first period.
Marion?s next two scores were both through the air and occurred only three minutes apart, thanks to a blocked punt by Tyler Palic.
Schneider connected with Pedersen for both scores, first on a 20-yard strike across the middle, and later on a 5-yard pass with only seconds left in the half. Marion took a 22-0 lead into halftime.
On Marion?s first possession of the second half, Snelling ran for a 31-yard touchdown. Schneider?s two-point conversion pass to Pederson made it 30-0 with 8:12 left in the third quarter.
After recovering a Wildcat fumble, the Warriors were forced to punt. But Marion maintained possession when the Wildcats failed to secure the ball on special teams.
On first-and-goal, Janzen scored ran in from five yards out; Schneider added two points for a 38-0 score. The running clock kicked in for the final three minutes of the third quarter.
In the final period, the Wildcats pieced together a 70-yard drive that ended in a 5-yard touchdown run by Deshawn Pfeiff with 6:25 left.
Janzen led Marion?s rushing attack with 72 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Kyle Palic anchored the defense with nine tackles.
Coming?Marion will host Hutchinson Trinity Friday at 7 p.m. Trinity defeated Sedgwick, 39-14, in its season opener.

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