Warriors falter against Inman

Staff writer

The Marion High School Warriors found out Friday they can’t give up almost 400 yards rushing and expect to win. Inman’s Josh Miller had 281 yards on 35 carries to lift the Teutons past the visiting Warriors.

It was a tight contest at halftime, with the Warriors ahead 14-13, but the Teutons took advantage of Marion miscues to open up a lead they never relinquished.

“The longer you let teams hang in there and believe they can play well, the harder it gets,” Marion head coach Grant Thierolf said. “This was exactly what happened. We let a team stay in there I thought we could beat.”

Thierolf had reason to believe that when the Warriors scored on their opening drive, after the defense snuffed out Inman’s first series.

The key play in Marion’s drive came on fourth-and-1 from the Inman 35, when Brody Carroll broke through the middle of the line and was tackled 1 yard away from the end zone. Carroll scored on the next play, and a Grif Case extra point gave Marion the early 7-0 lead.

Inman responded with an 81-yard scoring drive, converting on two fourth-down plays. Miller took a pitch around left end for a 1-yard scoring run, and then he kicked the conversion to tie the score at 7.

Marion stalled at its own 45 on the next series, but Lance Knolla gave the Warriors new life when he recovered a muffed catch by the Inman punt returner.

The Warriors faced fourth-and-7 from the Inman 20 when quarterback Taylor Heidebrecht hit Jacob Harper with a pass on a crossing pattern at the 8, and Harper slipped past the Inman secondary into the end zone. Case’s PAT gave Marion a 14-7 lead.

Miller scored again on a 9-yard run on the next Teuton possession, but a 2-point conversion pass was incomplete. Marion still led, 14-13.

Inman started the second half by jarring the ball loose from Heidebrecht and recovering at the Marion 41. Miller scampered for 32 yards before Justin Friesen scored on a 1-yard plunge, putting Inman on top 19-14.

Marion’s next drive ended when Cody Seiler intercepted a Heidebrecht pass at the Inman 25.

Marion faced fourth-and-5 at the Inman 42 to open the fourth quarter. The Warriors tried a fake punt, but Heidebrecht was stopped short of the first down.

It took Inman only two plays to score, with Miller sweeping right for a 38-yard touchdown jaunt, increasing Inman’s lead to 27-14.

Kyle Palic picked up the ensuing kickoff and gave Marion good field position at its own 46. Marion pulled back to within 6 points on a 7-yard Heidebrecht touchdown and Case kick, 27-21, with 10:27 remaining in the game.

Inman struck back quickly, with Miller scoring again on a 25-yard run to extend the lead to 33-21.

The teams exchanged punts, with Marion taking over on its own 19 with 2:42 remaining.

Heidebrecht primarily worked the sidelines with passes to Harper and Case as the Warriors moved down the field against soft Teuton coverage. On second-and-15 at the Inman 29, Heidebrecht found Harper for their second touchdown connection of the game. Inman’s lead was down to 5 points, 33-28, with 1:19 left.

The Teutons recovered Marion’s onside kick attempt, and the Warriors stacked the line, hoping to cause a fumble, but Miller took a handoff and raced 68 yards for his fifth touchdown of the game, making the final score 39-28.

The loss spoiled a good game for Heidebrecht, who picked up 106 yards on the ground and passed for 146 yards. Carroll carried the ball 15 times for 90 yards. Harper hauled down 8 passes for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The Warriors celebrate homecoming Friday against Sunrise Academy at Warrirors Stadium. Thierolf expects Sunrise to air the ball out 65 to 70 times.

 

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