Marion football rebounded from a 14-6 loss to Sterling last week by defeating Hutchinson Trinity by the same 14-6 score Friday.
The Celtics came into the game after suffering their first loss of the season, a 14-6 defeat to Ell-Saline.
Trinity pieced together a scoring drive on the opening possession, covering 45 yards in 11 plays. The Celtics benefitted from a third-down, 24-yard pass completion that sustained the drive.
Four plays later, Trinity found the end zone with a 12-yard touchdown strike. The extra-point kick missed its mark, but the Celtics claimed a 6-0 lead.
Marion responded with a touchdown on its first possession. The Warriors pounded yardage on the ground, with Corbin Wheeler rushing for gains of 14 and 18 yards on a pair of third-down plays to keep the drive alive.
Chase Stringer capped the eight-play, 63-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run, and Jack Schneider’s two-point conversion run pushed Marion in front, 8-6, with 3:00 left in the first quarter. That score held through halftime.
Tyler Palic recovered a Celtic fumble three plays into Trinity’s next possession, but Marion could not capitalize, turning the ball over on downs. The teams traded punts, then Marion came up with a defensive stop when a Trinity pass fell incomplete on fourth-and-goal from the 5-yard line.
Marion’s next drive stalled in the red zone, and Schneider defended a Trinity pass attempt at the end of the half, which ended with Marion maintaining its 8-6 lead.
Marion scored its final touchdown late in the third quarter when Stringer connected with Zachary Stuchlik for a 19-yard touchdown, capping an eight-play, 63-yard drive. The two-point conversion run failed, bringing the final 14-6 margin with 2:53 left in the period.
The Warrior defense held through the fourth quarter, forcing two Trinity turnovers on downs and a punt. Wheeler broke up a pair of Celtic pass attempts, the second of which left Trinity facing fourth down at its own 40-yard line with only seconds left. One final desperation play by the Celtics came up empty, securing Marion’s eight-point victory.
Marion played without head coach Grant Thierolf, who missed the game because of a family emergency. Coach Shaun Craft spoke on behalf of the coaching staff following Marion’s victory, praising the team’s defensive effort late in the game.
“They just rose up,” Craft said. “They were tired. They’d been chasing (Trinity’s) quarterback around all night long, and they were just relentless in the fourth quarter. They knew they had to do it and they stepped up and did it.”
Offensively, the Warriors did just enough to get the job done.
“We had a couple drives and then we had a costly penalty that would kill our drive or put us in a long-yardage situation,” Craft said. “We were moving the ball, we just kept shooting ourselves in the foot.”
Coming—Marion (5-1) will travel to Southeast of Saline Friday to begin district play. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.