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Successful season ends for Warrior football

Cheney shuts out Marion for 56-0 win

Staff writer

For the last 15 years, no other Class 3A football conference has been more fatal to Marion County 11-man teams than the Central Plains League.

With a good many of the competing schools near Wichita, CPL teams have a tendency to field more players than the smaller schools like Marion and Hillsboro.

That’s paid dividends with 3A juggernauts like Conway Springs, Garden Plain, and Cheney putting the brakes on Marion County teams’ seasons, beating both the Warriors and Hillsboro a combined 10 times.

The CPL ran its record to a dominating 10-1 Saturday in Cheney with the Cardinals using eight Warrior turnovers for a 56-0 win.

Marion County’s sole victory came in 2006 with Hillsboro outlasting Cheney in overtime in the first round before being upended by Garden Plain in the semifinals.

Through the last 15 years, Conway Springs and Garden Plain have combined to hoist a 3A football title six times with Silver Lake and Rossville also bagging six.

“We simply ran into a better football team Saturday, that’s really all there is to it,” Warrior coach Grant Thierolf said. “You turn the ball over eight times in a football game, you’re not going to win.”

The Cardinals wasted little time swooping in on the Warriors, exploding out of the gate for a 14-0 lead with 2:18 still left in the opening frame.

With the game already on the verge of slipping out of Marion’s reach after the first quarter, seven turnovers for touchdowns had the Warriors’ season sealed up by halftime, trailing 49-0.

The Cardinals’ defense shut down Marion’s vaunted ground attack, limiting a season-low 109 yards and 126 total.

Cheney tailback Riley Petz alone was more than the entire Warrior offensive output, rushing for a game-high 131 yards and two touchdowns.

It was Cardinal quarterback Micah Grover who was the real menace, though, accounting for 237 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns as part a 433 total yard onslaught.

With the wide halftime margin, the running clock came into effect in the second half when Grover put the finishing touch on the win with a 2-yard touchdown run.

Despite Saturday’s miseries, Marion’s final mark of 8-3 lived up to Thierolf’s expectations.

“We were really pleased with the season,” he said. “We had an experienced group of seniors that we knew could play and they certainly did live up to what we expected of them. It was a fun year altogether.

“It was a tough way to end the year, but only one team is left standing at the end of the year. That’s the way it goes.”

The accomplishments of 2017 are quite impressive with the Warriors featuring a pair of 1000-yard rushers for the first time with the senior duo of Jack Schneider and Corbin Wheeler.

Even though Cheney limited quarterback Chase Stringer to 33 yards, the junior still managed over 900 for the year.

Fresh off a career night on Halloween for 255 yards, junior Evan Heidebrecht was held to a team-high 43 yards, but it was enough to put him over 700 on the year.

Along with Schneider and Wheeler, the Warriors also bid farewell to Tyler Palic, Riley Hake, Austin Neufeld, Zach Stuchlik, Kolton Brewer, Garrett Hoffner, Jarrett McLinden, Jacob Vondenkamp, Antone Vinduska, and Caleb Hett.

Last modified Nov. 8, 2017

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