Patriots hold off Yellowjackets
Marion edges out Wynne by a point in overtime
Marion School District The Marion Patriots (1-0) went to overtime for the second time in school history last Friday and snuck out of Wynne (0-1) with a 24-23 victory. The last overtime game for the Patriots was a 13-10 double OT win over the Wynne Yellowjackets in 2005.
“Our kids played hard. We knew it would be a dogfight coming (to Wynne),” said first-year Marion head coach Keith Houston.
“They did everything we asked of them. They battled through adversity. I’m excited for the season moving forward.”
Wynne’s wing-style offense offered a formidable challenge for the Marion run defense, but the Patriots in the trenches limited the effectiveness of the Wynne running game by making fourteen tackles for loss.
The Yellowjackets and Patriots traded three-andouts to begin the game before a muffed punt recovered by the Jackets gave them a fresh set of downs at the Marion 20 yard line. However, the Patriot defense held their ground and eventually blocked a Wynne field goal attempt. Marion gave the ball up two plays later and allowed a successful field goal to give the Jackets a 3-0 with 2:06 left in the first.
Marion answered with a two play, 80-yard touchdown drive to take a 7-3 lead just 39 seconds after the Wynne field goal.
Sophomore wide receiver Markel Wynn climbed the ladder to tip the ball to himself in mid-air over the outstretched arms of his defender to take the ball 79 yards to the house.
The Jackets started the second quarter with possession, but only ran three plays before throwing an interception to junior safety Brandon Calvert. A personal foul against Wynne following the interception set the Patriots up inside the Wynne red zone.
Marion scored just two plays later on a four-yard laser pass from sophomore quarterback Daedrick Cail. Cail found senior wide receiver Joyrion Chase isolated in the endzone and made a throw to an area where only Chase had a play on the ball. Chase’s one handed snag gave the Pats a 14-3 lead with 9:57 remaining in the second quarter.
Wynne responded with a 58-yard run from senior Jay Nelson on their next possession. The Jackets found the endzone two plays after the big run to trim the Patriot lead to four. Marion had one more opportunity to score, but the score remained 14-10 after the first half.
Marion started the second half with the ball, but an interception from Cail gave the Jackets the ball on their side of the field.
The Jackets regained the lead five plays later on a 51-yard touchdown run from sophomore Jayden Potter.
Both teams traded empty possessions until the Patriots tied the game at 17 with a 29-yard field goal from freshman Dillon Pieri. Marion had the last possession of regulation, but Pieri missed an awkwardly angled 30-yard field goal as time expired to send the game to overtime.
The Pats started overtime with the ball and scored in two plays. Senior Anthony Switzer rushed for nine yards on the first down before Kentreal Jones punched the ball into the endzone from less than a yard out.
Wynne scored a touchdown on fourth down to extend the game, but decided to go for the twopoint conversion and the win. Quarterback James Parker had a man in the endzone, but the receiver tripped on his own feet.
Parker’s pass sailed out of the back of the endzone, and the Patriots stormed the field victorious.
Cail finished the game with two touchdowns and three interceptions, but Coach Houston was proud of his young quarterback’s game.
“This was his first varsity football game, so he learned what this game is like in the next level,” said Houston. “He never let his head down though. He never got discouraged at any point in the game. He felt like we could get back in the game no matter what the situation was. You need that in a leader in this game.”
Marion is back at home next Friday, September 7 for the annual ‘Colton’s Football Round-up’ against the Parkview Patriots.
Kickoff is set for 7 pm.
By Tyler Bennett