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Warriors dominate Bulldogs in 50-12 win

Staff writer

Before the game kicked off, the game within the game had already begun.

Players from Chase County, an old Cottonwood Valley rival of Marion High School’s, poured onto the field and the whole team gathered at the 50 yard-line, hooping and hollering to hype themselves up. The Marion Warriors came out seconds later and had to congregate elsewhere, somewhere around the 35.

“That’s our 50!” a Marion player exclaimed. The game was on.

The next time the Bulldogs got to the 50-yard line, they were already down two touchdowns.

Marion improved to 3-2 with a 50-12 win in its first district game of the season against Chase County. It was the first time Marion and Chase County squared off in 11 years.

A glorious start to the game for the Warriors turned inglorious quickly when a kickoff return to the Chase County 27-yard line was squandered by an Adam Janzen fumble. After a Bulldogs three-and-out, however, Janzen redeemed himself emphatically with a 31-yard touchdown run on the first play of the drive. Freshman quarterback Jack Schneider ran in the 2-point conversion to push the lead to 8-0.

Another Chase County drive was stymied by the Marion defense, but an excellent punt pinned Marion at its own 7-yard line. A long, methodical drive was ended swiftly with a 41-yard touchdown run from Schneider. This time Janzen ran in the point-after try to stretch the lead to 16-0.

Chase County finally got back to the 50-yard line it had laid claim to before the game on its next drive, with senior Brendan Watts finishing the series on a 6-yard score. The 2-point try was unsuccessful for the Bulldogs, who then trailed 16-6.

What had been a great start for the Warriors was put on ice when Schneider suffered an injury to his throwing shoulder with 10 minutes, 18 seconds left in the first half. Schneider would not return to the game. Head coach Grant Thierolf would not comment on the specifics of the injury.

Senior Jacob Baldwin took the reins at quarterback and led the Warriors to two more scores before half, a 26-yard touchdown pass to Mason Pedersen and a Janzen run from 4 yards out.

“It’s such comfort when you have a senior as the backup, and a guy who really can come in and run the offense very well,” Thierolf said. “We changed a little bit, it’s a little more power-type stuff, we lose a tight end, but Jacob does a nice job of running the offense and keeping everything going.”

Baldwin, who gets reps at quarterback in practice, had no problem adjusting to the role, which he credited to his teammates.

“I had no problem at any point in the game,” he said. “My front line was amazing, and who could complain about Adam Janzen being behind you? I mean, he is a man.”

Janzen opened the second half with a 65-yard touchdown run to bring the game to a 38-6 advantage.

Janzen later added a 26-yard touchdown score and Seth Snelling tacked on Marion’s final touchdown of the night with a 19-yard run. After going ahead 50-6, Thierolf put in mostly reserve and junior varsity players to finish the game; the Bulldogs scored one more time to finish the game at 50-12.

“We wanted our first district win, but we also wanted to rekindle that rivalry a little bit, and I think we did in a big way,” Baldwin said.

Janzen finished what was arguably his best game of the season with 253 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries. While the stats go exclusively to Janzen, the credit is shared with the offensive line.

“Adam Janzen ran obviously very well, but the offensive line pretty well dominated the game,” Thierolf said.

As the game got out of hand, the game within the game got more intense, with the two teams jawing back and forth.

“It’s gonna happen when your kids play a team that you’ve played for over a hundred years,” Thierolf said. “I think they did pretty well for the most part.”

Marion will travel to Allen on Friday to face a 2-3 Northern Heights team.

Last modified Oct. 9, 2014

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