Marion claimed Hutchinson Trinity for its own Friday, as the Warriors spoiled the Celtics’ homecoming with a 28-8 win to improve to 2-0.
Coach Grant Thierolf saw a lot of development from his team in a game in which he said his players grew up.
“Our kids played with more enthusiasm tonight, played a little faster,” he said. “We were just better. We executed better and used the whole offense.”
The Warriors took the lead early and never looked back when sophomore quarterback Jack Schneider outran the Celtics defense on a 14-yard sprint midway through the first quarter to put the Warriors up 6-0 after a failed two-point conversion.
After stopping the Celtics on a fourth-down play, the Warriors took the ball and used a long, sustained drive to get in striking distance. The offense stalled inside the 10-yard line, leaving the Warriors with a fourth-and-1 at the 2-yard line. Fullback Aaron Riggs got the call and dived past the first-down marker into the end zone. Schneider carried the conversion attempt on an option run.
Thierolf said Schneider is getting more comfortable in his option offense.
“To do something while you’re running at full speed, and they’re running at you full-speed, it’s a terribly difficult thing to do, and he’s getting better at it every week,” he said.
Down two touchdowns, Hutchinson quickly moved the ball into the red zone. Marion was able to stiffen up in the shadow of its end zone, but a fourth-down reception by Angel Martinez went for a touchdown. The two-point conversion was successful, bringing Hutchinson within 6 with three minutes, 25 seconds remaining in the half.
Facing a third down and short near midfield, Schneider again took the reins for the Warriors, rushing to the outside for 20 yards, padded by a 15-yard penalty for a “horse-collar” tackle. To cap the drive, Schneider pitched to fellow sophomore Corbin Wheeler, who scored from 4 yards out with 16.7 seconds left in the half.
“The one scoring drive they had, we shouldn’t have given that up,” Thierolf said. “I thought the key thing was to come out and score after they scored. With 20 seconds left, that response was big time.”
A failed conversion left the Warriors ahead 20-8 at half.
The second half was largely played between the thirties, with both teams trading possessions.
Finally, it was Schneider who broke through with a 40-yard run to daylight. Wheeler added the two-point conversion.
“I know we’re gonna be good,” Thierolf said. “It’s just a matter of how much are our kids willing to sacrifice to be as good as they can be?”
Marion will head to Remington Friday with its chance to play homecoming spoiler for the second consecutive game.