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Warriors lose to Ell-Saline

Staff writer

As losses go, this one will be easier than most for Marion to put behind it.

“We’re starting a new season now,” head coach Grant Thierolf said after his Warriors lost 22-12 to the Ell-Saline Cardinals.

Marion traveled 80 miles for its final warmup before district play, and gave Ell-Saline a challenge before coming up short.

The Warriors struck first with a second quarter touchdown pass from Jack Schneider to Mason Pedersen, which gave them a 6-0 lead. Ell-Saline finished the half strong, however, using a spread offense and a jet sweep — in which a receiver goes in motion just prior to the snap, passing by the quarterback and accepting the ball with a lateral running start — to get the Warriors defense off-balance and leaving it susceptible to big strikes.

The first was a 27-yard run from Cody Walters, the second a 73-yard sprint from quarterback LuizAntonio Arceo, whom the Warriors had trouble tracking down all night. Arceo finished the game with 169 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.

Ell-Saline managed three 100-yard rushers between Walters, Arceo, and Garrett Jacobson, who added 110 yards on 11 carries and a reception of 34 yards.

“It just gave us problems, their speed,” Thierolf said. “They do a great job of blocking on the perimeter with their wide receivers. But that’s something that we can learn from and we’ll get better at.”

The Warriors offense was unable to get in a rhythm on the ground. Coming off a dominant performance against Remington, senior Adam Janzen only managed 39 yards on 16 carries. That was in large part thanks to defensive tackle Evan Morrical.

“We haven’t blocked Evan Morrical for three years,” Thierolf said of the senior Ell-Saline standout. “Guy’s been a great football player, and that’s why he’s an all-state kid.”

Overall, Thierolf saw the loss as a good learning experience for his team.

“I was pleased that we got a score in the second half,” he said. “We just made way too many errors tonight — mental errors — at times, but young teams will do that.”

The turnover bug stopped biting the Warriors, who only surrendered one to Ell-Saline on an interception.

Schneider completed five of 12 passes for 35 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Schneider may be a freshman quarterback, but four games in, he’s no longer ‘young’ according to his coach.

“We’re done with the excuse of young teams,” Thierolf said. “We’ve got four games under our belt, so the ‘young’ goes away.”

Marion will turn its attention to district play, which starts Friday with a home contest vs. Chase County. Thierolf is confident his team is prepared, given the challenges it faced in the nondistrict games.

“We’ve played some good football teams,” he said. “Trinity and Ell-Saline are good football teams, and the physical aspect of those games has prepared us well.”

Last modified Oct. 2, 2014

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