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MHS clinches playoff spot

Staff writer

It was only a matter of time before Marion imposed its will against visiting Herington on Friday, and the Warriors cruised to a 56-8 victory to go to 5-3 on the season.

Marion was sluggish out of the gate, and didn’t get its first touchdown until just over 2 minutes remained in the opening quarter. Once the scoring started, however, it didn’t stop until the game was out of reach.

“Once we get rolling, we just go,” quarterback Jacob Baldwin said.

Head coach Grant Thierolf helped Marion get rolling, calling a timeout and admonishing his team’s effort up to that point. Baldwin said that talk helped to light the fire for the Warriors.

“It gave us a very vivid picture of what he expected of us and what we should do,” Baldwin said. “It was what we needed. If you saw the game, you saw that we weren’t playing like we should’ve, and he set us on the right track.”

Baldwin had 76 yards on 3-of-5 passing, with 2 of those completions going for touchdowns. One touchdown was a high throw that Brad Stone leapt and caught. The other was a deft throw to freshman Corbin Wheeler, who caught it in stride and shirked a defender before finding daylight and outracing everyone for a 75-yard score. He complemented those efforts with 7 rushes for 47 yards.

The motor of the offense was, as usual, senior Adam Janzen. Janzen had 150 yards and 2 touchdowns on 19 carries. He also picked off a Herington pass and ran it in for a score near the end of the first half, which put Marion ahead 42-0.

The Warriors switched gears, going with junior varsity players for most of the second half, and the scoring continued. Seth Snelling scored early in the second half and a 2-point conversion from Wheeler put the Warriors ahead 50-0. Tyler Neufeld scored his first varsity touchdown to round out the scoring for Marion at 56 with a running clock at 3:29 remaining in the third quarter.

The lone score of the fourth quarter came off a Neufeld fumble at the Marion 38, on a circus play in which numerous Marion players attempted to jump on and secure the ball but were unsuccessful. As a result, a Herington player picked up a ball just outside the 10 to scamper in for a score. A slick fake on the conversion attempt gave Herington 8 points on the scoreboard and something to cheer about in the stands.

Marion’s defense did not yield a touchdown all night, and only allowed 6 first downs, most of which were in the second half. Marion also picked off 3 passes including Janzen’s score, and picks from Stone and Remington Putter.

Thierolf was pleased with the win, though he wants more intensity throughout the game from his team.

“I don’t think we ever had the intensity that we really needed,” he said, “but we’ll bring that next week.”

The win clinched a winning record and a playoff spot for the Warriors.

The Warriors will wrap up their regular season in a veritable district championship game against Mission Valley, who is undefeated in district play.

The game will be played Thursday at 7 p.m., so as not to conflict with any Halloween festivities.

If Marion wins that game, they’ll be the top seed out of the district and have a guaranteed home game in the first round of the playoffs.

Last modified Oct. 30, 2014

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