Marion was in reach of victory in Friday?s football game at Sedgwick, but the Warriors couldn?t close the deal.
Trailing 14-0 at halftime, Marion used a strong third quarter to tie the game with two unanswered touchdowns. But the Warriors? missed opportunities and turnovers eventually gave the Cardinals a 34-14 victory.
?It all comes down to execution,? coach Grant Thierolf said. ?We?ve just got to execute better.
?We?ve had nine turn?overs in two games. We can?t do that. No team in Amer?ica?s good enough to win that way. We?ll just keep working; that?s why we have practice.?
After Marion went three-and-out to start the game, the Cardinals pieced together an eight-play, 71-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead with 7:28 left in the first quarter.
The Warriors? next drive ended when Sedgwick intercepted a Taylor Heidebrecht pass?the first of four interceptions on the night.
A second interception early in the second quarter set up a Sedgwick score on the next play. The 81-yard touchdown pass boosted the Cardinals? advantage to 14-0, which held until halftime.
After Sedgwick went three-and-out, Marion scored when Heidebrecht found James Jones in the back of the end zone for a 35-yard touchdown pass. Adam Janzen?s 2-point conversion made the score 14-8 with 10:48 left in the third quarter.
After the Warrior defense forced another three-and-out, the offense went back to work, scoring on a 10-yard run by Heidebrecht that capped a four-play, 55-yard drive that took 1:40 off the clock. When the two-point conversion failed, the score remained at 14-14 with 8:12 left in the third quarter.
Marion would not score the rest of the night, but Sedgwick later orchestrated a six-play, 70-yard drive highlighted by a 27-yard touchdown run. The PAT was blocked, but the Cardinals led 20-14 with 2:12 left in the third quarter.
?From that point, we just got behind the eight ball and didn?t make some plays we needed to make, and (had) kids sometimes trying to do too much instead of making the smart play,? Thierolf said.?You can?t fault the effort, just fault the execution.?
Marion went three-and-out, but the Warrior defense forced a Sedgwick punt after back-to-back sacks by Nick Meyer and Morgan Wheeler.
The Warriors fumbled on the first play of their next possession, but neither team found much success until Sedgwick navigated a 10-play, 62-yard drive to push its lead to 28-14 after the 2-point conversion with 3:43 to play.
When Marion?s next drive ended with a fumble, Sedg?wick capitalized with a touchdown two plays later to increase the lead to 34-14.
The Warriors got the ball back with 2:37 left to play, but Heidebrecht was intercepted on first down to stifle any remaining hope.
Despite the final score, Thierolf saw some positive things on the field.
?I thought at times we played very good team defense,? he said. ?Obviously our passing game is better than it?s been.
?We?ve got receivers who can get down field, we?ve got a quarterback who (is) pretty accurate, because we had some passes dropped and we had some passes that we?ve got to fight for better.
?I thought we had good protection most of the night.?
With the loss, Marion dropped to 1-1 overall and in the Heart of America league, while Sedgwick improved to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the HOA.
Coming?Marion will travel to Bennington (1-1) Friday for a league game beginning at 7 p.m.