Warriors disintegrate Ellinwood 50-28

Ellinwood junior Glenn Whitaker runs into a storm of red fury Friday night in Marion. He gained none of his 119 yards on this play during the second quarter, as (clockwise from left) Mitchell Leppke, Tylor Neil, Nick Klenda, Sheldon Boone and Brad Klenda team up to drag him down.

Marion stated its superiority early and often in Friday's victory over Ellinwood, seizing the lead on a 12-yard end-around by Marc Washington 4:02 into the contest and ramming in a 2-point conversion run by Sheldon Boone.

Up 8-0 out of the gate, Marion cruised to a 50-28 win.

?I was pleased that we came out and played well from the opening kickoff,? coach Grant Thierolf said. ?We have needed to establish ourselves early in a game and this was the first time that we have done that this season.?

The Warriors then scored on a 44-yard fumble return by Eric Vogel, an 11-yard Boone run, and a 20-yard Tylor Neil interception return?all in the first quarter.

?We still need to work on our perimeter blocking and we need to be more physical than we have been, but we are getting better at it,? Thierolf said. ?I think that Eric’s fumble return was a big play for us?it gave us a working margin that we were comfortable with and allowed us to relax and play fast.?

?Tylor’s interception was also very big because it gave us two touchdown’s in a 10 second span,? Thierolf noted. ?Both of those plays helped to set the tone for our defense.?

Boone’s run and Neil’s interception return came a scant 8 seconds apart on the scoreboard clock, and kicker Mats Johannessen slammed the ensuing kickoff into the right upright to end the quarter.

?Mats adds a nice dimension to our team,? Thierolf said. ?He has consistently gotten better as the year progresses and it is nice to put the ball in the endzone on most kickoffs.

?Even his kickoffs into the wind were high and deep and allowed us to get downfield and smother their returner,? he added.

Marion kept up the rout in the second quarter, scoring on a 3-yard sneak by Mitchell Leppke and a 6-yard burst by Boone, making it 43-0 with 5:27 left in the first half.

Marion caught an unlucky break late in the second, allowing Ellinwood’s first score with 14 seconds left in the half.

Eagles quarterback Kyle Corbett lofted a long bomb down the far sideline toward a cluster of players, where the pass deflected away from Marion’s Mitch Cady and into the grasp of Ethan Linden, leading to a 3-yard throw from Corbett to Alex Birney that made it 43-7.

Those were the first points allowed since the third quarter of Marion’s 21-14 win over Nickerson Sept. 19, breaking the Warriors streak of 133 minutes, 31 seconds without allowing a point.

But if the Warriors were fazed by the end of their shutout streak, they did not look it on the kick return. Washington retreated inside his own 10-yard line to pick up a bouncing ball, and found both strong blocking and disorganized coverage when he turned upfield, racing 92 yards like a hot knife through warm butter to make it 50-7 as the half expired.

The running clock kicked in to start the third quarter, and Ellinwood scored 21 unanswered points before final horn.

?I thought when we started to substitute, we did pretty well,? Thierolf said. ?If not for penalties, our offense would have moved the ball consistently on Ellinwood the whole second half.?

But Thieolf also found room to improve after the lopsided win:

?The big plays we gave up are something we need to work on and we had too many missed tackles on those plays,? he said.

Boone totaled 69 rush yards on 16 carries and Leppke totaled 43 yards on 7 carries. Les Riggs carried six times for 23 yards, and the Warriors totaled 152 yards on the ground.

Ellinwood?s Glenn Whitaker totaled 119 rushing yards on 18 attempts.

Coming?Marion visits Herington Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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