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Warriors gear up for season opener

Staff writer

As the Warriors players filed into the stands to greet friends and family after Friday’s scrimmage, Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” echoed through the stadium via the loudspeaker.

If the Marion High School football team truly is “halfway there,” the half that arrived during Friday’s scrimmage would be the offense. Many players made breakout plays Friday. Most of them came on offense.

Senior Adam Janzen may have bruised up some of his teammates at running back and sophomore Peyton Heidebrecht busted free for two long touchdown runs.

If the Warriors are “Livin’ on a Prayer,” the prayer will be that freshman quarterback Jackson Schneider can hold his own. Schneider will be the first freshman to start at quarterback in head coach Grant Thierolf’s 27 years with the program. It will be just the second time Thierolf has started a freshman at any position in his tenure.

“You never know exactly what to expect in the first game,” he said. “Especially with young kids and all the new players we have. But any coach likes a team that practices hard, and they’re doing that.”

Schneider won’t be the only freshman starter either; Thierolf said Corbin Wheeler will start as well. The speedy Wheeler had a couple breakout runs, and could play behind Janzen at running back. Thierolf indicated that Wheeler could start on defense.

Thierolf’s chief concern at the scrimmage was the health of his team, and he was happy that the team came away “for the most part healthy.”

Freshman Caleb Hett limped off the field with an apparent ankle injury; it was the only injury of the night.

Thierolf said that while his team has plenty to work on, he is very pleased with the effort they’ve put in thus far.

“We have to be aggressive in everything we do,” he said. “When you make mistakes due to aggression, that’s easy to coach. When you make mistakes due to lack of effort, that’s when you have problems.”

Thierolf said his players are looking forward to facing someone other than each other. They get the opportunity Friday when they head to Moundridge to start their season.

Thierolf is starting freshmen in crucial roles for the first time, but he’s confident that it’s the right move for his team. His young players are fast, and he wants to use that to his advantage.

“We’ll take our chances,” he said. “We’re gonna be as ready as we can be.”

Last modified Sept. 4, 2014

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