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Warriors lose physical test against Black Bears

Marion has first loss of the season on homecoming

Staff writer

The Marion Warriors were down by eight points with eight minutes left in the football game Friday, and Sterling was in scoring position. Marion linebacker Garrett Hoffner intercepted the ball at the 19-yard line, and the Warriors offense picked up two quick first downs.

But the Warriors threw an interception on a running back pass. The Black Bears picked up three first downs before facing fourth and five at the edge of Marion’s red zone. The Warrior defense held.

Still down eight, Marion now only had 1:32 on the clock with no timeouts to go 82 yards.

The Warriors only picked up 10.

With poor protection, quarterback Chase Stringer was sacked and fumbled. Sterling knelt twice, and the game ended 14-6.

“They were more aggressive, they were more physical than we were,” coach Grant Thierolf said. “They were tougher. That was really the story of the game.”

On homecoming night, the offense went three-and-out several times and turned the ball over three times, once just outside the red zone. The offense never broke a long run.

Defensively, Marion only gave up two scores and forced two turnovers, but the Warriors struggled stopping Sterling the entire game.

“They didn’t show us anything that we hadn’t worked on,” Thierolf said. “They just physically whipped us. Sometimes you have to get punched in the mouth to get things figured out. We got punched in the mouth tonight, and it was a good, solid shot.”

Marion started strong, holding the line on fourth and one after forcing a three-and-out on Sterling’s opening possession.

The Warriors then went 49 yards in nine plays, capped by a touchdown by running back Corbin Wheeler.

With an early 6-0 lead, it was the last time the Warrior offense stepped over the goal line.

The Black Bears responded with their own nine-play drive, this one for 66 yards and a 15-yard floating pass to the back corner of the end zone for a touchdown to take a 7-6 lead.

Marion’s offense stalled, but senior defensive lineman Kolton Brewer downed a punt at the Sterling 1-yard line. The Black Bears threw an interception to defensive back Jack Schneider on the next play.

Sterling fared better on their next drive after forcing another Marion punt, going 80 yards in 13 plays. The score of 14-6 with 3:19 to go in the second quarter stood for the rest of the game.

“We did not do anything physically with any toughness all night long,” Thierolf said. “It is really simple.”

He said it will be up to the juniors and seniors to respond to the loss as competitors.

“If they respond proper, like I think they will, we’ll come out next week ready to play,” Thierolf said. “Life gives you these lessons all the time, you got to respond to it.”

Marion (4-1) plays at Trinity Catholic at 7 p.m. Friday in Hutchinson.

Last modified Oct. 4, 2017

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