Highly touted quarterback Cole Cherryholmes picked apart the Warrior secondary, throwing for 360 yards on 24-of-45 passing and three touchdowns.
“Cherryholmes is the best quarterback we’ve seen all year, and he threw the ball wherever he wanted,” Marion coach Grant Thierolf said. “It’s one of those games that we learn from, and the next time we see a kid as good as Cherryholmes, we don’t get shell-shocked and we rise up to the occasion.”
Remington came out firing, throwing an incompletion deep down the right side of the field on the first play, then looking deep down the left sideline for a 53-yard completion only moments after the opening kick.
After the big-gainer, the Warriors stood tall and forced a punt, but were unable to convert their first crack at a third-and-short on offense.
Marion punted, and four plays later, Remington’s Jake Thiessen finished off a 32-yard catch-and-run for a 6-0 lead. The Broncos went back to Thiessen for the 2-point conversion and led 8-0 with 7:32 left in the first quarter.
Marion went three-and-out again on its second series, and Remington used a 19-yard gain on a screen pass to set up a 1-yard dive into the end zone by Cherryholmes with 1:05 left in the quarter. Thiessen caught another 2-point pass, and Remington led 16-0.
The Warriors gained some momentum at the end of the period when Drew Maddox burst 10 yards up the middle to open the next series.
But Marion’s fortunes didn’t fare much better in the second quarter, which began with Remington’s Wayne Bennett intercepting a pass intended for Justin Heidebrecht.
Bennett also capped the ensuing drive with an 11-yard touchdown run after catching a screen pass from Cherryholmes. The 2-point conversion attempt failed, but the Broncos led 22-0 with 9:10 left in the half.
Maddox notched Marion’s first score 3:06 later. Leppke started the series at the Warrior 24 and ran for gains of 7 and 5 yards. Maddox then broke through with a pair of runs that totaled 23 yards to move Marion into Bronco territory.
Then it was Sheldon Boone’s turn to carry the ball, and he ripped off 13 yards.
“Drew and Sheldon both played very well for us,” Thierolf said. “I’m not sure anyone on defense had a really good game.”
Remington called timeout, but the interlude took neither the runners nor their blockers out of their rhythm. Marion got 8 yards from Leppke and 6 from Boone to set up a 15-yard sprint through the middle with 6:04 to play before halftime. Marion’s 2-point try misfired, making the score 22-6.
Then Warriors caught their first break of the night when Cherryholmes fumbled the second snap of Remington’s next possession. Brett Billings crashed into the Broncos backfield and knocked the Bronco quarterback out of the play and recovered the loose ball.
Then Marc Washington, who had scored three touchdowns in a junior varsity contest, put a momentary charge into the Marion crowd with his first carry as a varsity player.
On fourth-and-2 at the Remington 12, Washington took a counter handoff deep in the Marion backfield and raced toward an opening along the left side of the line.
But Broncos defensive lineman Jordan Nolan reached out and caught just enough of the sophomore’s shoelaces to send him stumbling to the turf short of the first down.
Following the turnover on downs, Remington self-destructed with back-to-back penalties that wiped out a first down run by Bennett and set up a third-and-27. Marion muffed the ensuing punt, but the Broncos were unable to recover the bouncing ball.
Boone and Leppke carried three times before the half ended, chalking up 34 yards in 50 seconds. But the quarter ended with Marion down by 16.
After intermission, Marion lost two fumbles in three plays, allowing Remington 14 points in the first 3:30 of the third quarter.
Bennett blasted into the end zone from 6 yards out at the 11:20 mark and Cherryholmes connected with Kyle Berg for a 17 yard score with 8:30 to go in the frame.
In between, Washington brought Marion fans to their feet with a 19-yard kickoff return. He scooped up a bouncing ball at the 20-yard line and knifed through the first wave of defenders, then nearly hurdled the second wave before being brought down.
“Marc has come a long way, and both he and Drew have helped our J.V. off to a good season,” Thierolf said. “We really look forward to what those two can do for us, because they give us an element of speed, and you can do a lot of things with speed.”
The Warriors put together a play-for-pride touchdown drive that covered 80 yards in 16 plays. Boone capped it by carving his way into the end zone from several inches out with 19 seconds left.
Boone also had the key plays of that drive, including a 25-yard off-tackle burst followed by a 10-yard carry that put Marion first-and-10 at midfield.
Leppke added a tough 12-yard run that converted a third-and-12 at the Bronco 28 and threaded an 9-yard completion to Heidebrecht to set up the final score of the night.
Boone totaled 116 rushing yards on 19 attempts for an average of 6.1 yards per carry. Maddox averaged 6.9 yards on 12 attempts for 83 yards.
Six Broncos caught passes, led by Thiessen and Berg, who each caught seven. Thiessen compiled 153 yards and Berg 100.
Marion played without several key players due to injury, including standout running back Austin Hager.
“I’m not sure about Hager, but everybody else should be healthy and ready to go this week,” Thierolf said.
Coming—Marion (4-4) faces Hesston (8-0) in the last regular-season date of the year. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Thursday in Marion.