Fans of big-play football had plenty to cheer about Friday during the annual Marion High School football soap scrimmage.
Taylor Heidebrecht, James Jones, and Morgan Wheeler each ripped off scoring jaunts of more than 50 yards. Heidebrecht turned a tough fourth-down play into a 25-yard touchdown pass to Brody Carroll. Jones hauled in an interception. And to cap it all off, Grif Case nailed a wind-aided 40-yard field goal that would’ve cleared the crossbar from 50 yards.
Big plays are common when the first team lines up against junior varsity players. Head coach Grant Thierolf was pleased to see them, but his eyes were looking elsewhere for things that will make this team better.
“We didn’t get anybody hurt — that’s always the number one thing in the soap scrimmage,” Thierolf said. With likely starters Spencer Fugitt and Evan Slater benched for the first few games due to preseason injuries, staying healthy was important. So, too, was finding those diamonds in the rough that can step in and contribute.
“We have a pretty good idea who our starters and major contributors on Friday nights will be,” Thierolf said. “We always look for those one or two young kids that really hustle around, and we find a place on special teams for them.”
Theirolf said the offensive line will be a strong point for this team if they continue improving.
“Right now it looks like Ethan Hett or Zac Lewman at left tackle, Nick Meyer at left guard, John Nordquist at center, probably Morgan Wheeler at right guard and Isaac Baldwin at right tackle,” he said.
“We like it, and we’d better be good. We’ve got good athletes and football players there,” he said. “We’ve got to be more steadfast staying on the blocks we make. That will evolve over time.”
Getting four touchdowns from four players is a model the Warriors need to follow to be successful.
“We have to be more multifaceted than we were last year,” Thierolf said. “We’ve got four or five guys we can get the ball to.”
Thierolf was pleased with the progress quarterback Heidebrecht demonstrated.
“The more reads he gets in, the better he’ll be,” he said. “He has a good feel for what we’re doing, for what we want to accomplish with each play.”
The Warriors’ first game is Friday at Ell-Saline.