The Marion High School football team trailed Sterling for all of 70 seconds Friday night. The Warriors took a 7-6 lead on the way to a 14-6 halftime advantage and blasted the Black Bears off the field in the third quarter of a 41-6 rout.
?We are slowly starting to get our running game in gear,? coach Grant Thierolf said. ?The option offense works best when all three phases are a threat and we had that against Sterling in the second half.?
Sterling?s Matt Foster opened the scoring with a 62-yard touchdown run at 7:31 of the first quarter. The Bears missed the extra point and there was nothing else for the visitors to celebrate on the night of Marion's homecoming.
The Warriors evened the score on a 40-yard touchdown run by Sheldon Boone 1:10 later and scored what proved to be the decisive point on Brian Fruechting's subsequent kick.
?We are just trying to get better each week and I thought we did that,? Thierolf said. ?Outside of one play, our defense held Sterling to under 90 yards of offense for the game. We have to tackle better but we do have some people that fly around to the ball.?
But turnovers, penalties and poor execution hampered the Warriors throughout the first half. Among the penalties were an illegal block that wiped out most of a long punt return and a holding call that took a Marion touchdown off the scoreboard with 2:35 left in the half.
Boone?author of the long return?eventually capped off that drive with a 17-yard run. Marion led 14-6 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Boone scored on a 5-yard run at the end of a 7-play series and Drew Maddox scored on runs of 27 and 36 yards.
Matt Sprowls added a 70-yard run early in the fourth quarter, and the Marion junior varsity killed off the running clock without incident.
Eight different Warriors carried the ball and posted a team average of 11.3 yards per carry on a total of 508 rushing yards.
Sterling averaged 3.3 yards per play and lost four fumbles.
Nick Klenda recorded five tackles (three for loss and one sack) and forced a fumble, and also booted a 64-yard punt.
?Nick is such a solid performer at defensive end that it makes our defense play pretty well,? Thierolf said. ?All of our defensive linemen need to be ready this week v. Hoisington.?
Abe Eldridge and Colten Olsen each had five solo tackles and two assists. Olsen also recorded a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery.
Colten Johnson, Connor Thierolf and Parker Ash each also recovered a Sterling fumble.
Dillon Richmond blocked a Sterling punt.
Coming?Marion hosts Hoisington on Friday.
?They are still a very good football team and we will have to play well for four quarters against them,? Thierolf said. ?It will be a great game, like they always are. We look forward to the challenge of playing them.?