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Warriors win close game over Cardinals

Staff writer

A second quarter Marion rally sparked by a Sedgwick turnover set up an early offensive shootout and late defensive stalemate Friday in a 38-35 Warriors victory.

The Cardinals opened the scoring with a six-play drive, scoring on a quarterback rollout and 41-yard floater carried by the wind.

The Warriors fumbled on their first run, were then stuffed, then the wind carried a pitch behind a running back, and the Cardinals recovered the fumble at the Marion 24-yard line.

One play later, Sedgwick scored on a screen pass.

Down 14-0 three minutes into the game, Marion ground out a 10-play drive that stalled with a tackle for loss, delay of game penalty, and a fumbled snap on third-and-20. Sedgwick set up in bad field position after a Garrett Hoffner punt went out at the 8-yard line.

Sedgwick got two quick first downs on long runs, but Marion cornerback Zach Stuchlik jumped a screen for the interception.

With good field position, Marion picked up a first down before a block in the back penalty gave the Warriors first and 20 on the 45-yard line. Three plays later and 15 seconds into the second quarter, running back Corbin Wheeler crossed the goal line on a 30-yard sprint. He also converted for two points.

Down 14-8, Marrion now had the wind at its back for the second quarter.

Driving against the wind, Sedgwick did much of its damage on the ground with scrambles by quarterback Hooper Schroeder before running back Colton Smith’s 26-yard touchdown gallop.

Sedgwick’s squibbed kickoff into the wind and a good return set Marion up with good field position. Running back Jack Schneider took advantage one play later on a 49-yard touchdown run to the outside.

Marion kicker Austin Neufeld had his third of four touchbacks on the night, setting Sedgwick up for a long field. But four runs and four passes later, Schroeder found an open receiver for a 13-yard touchdown pass and 28-14 Sedgwick lead.

After another short kick and four runs, Marion quarterback Chase Stringer stepped back to pass with the wind at his back and threw a 37-yard touchdown strike to Stuchlik — Stringer’s first touchdown pass of the year. Wheeler converted for two points, cutting Sedgwick’s lead to 28-22 with three minutes left in the first half.

Sedgwick moved the ball, but opted to run out the clock. The Cardinals scored on four of their six first-half possessions.

Marion started the second half working against the wind and ran the ball 10 times for the touchdown, with Schneider scoring on a pitch. Stringer added two points, and the Marion stands erupted in cheers with the Warriors’ 30-28 lead.

Sedgwick responded with a quick first down, but a fourth-down conversion was called back on a holding penalty, and the ensuing pass was incomplete.

Three plays later, Schneider scored from eight yards out and added another two points for a 10-point Marion lead, 38-28.

Schroeder led Sedgwick to the last score of the game, crossing the goal line on a quarterback keeper to make it 38-35 with 2 minutes left in the third quarter.

The remainder of the game was a defensive slugfest, with each team snuffing out drives of the other.

Sedgwick had one last chance with 3:30 remaining in the game, but linebacker Jarred Rahe picked off a Schroeder pass over the middle to seal the 38-35 win for the Warriors.

Marion held Sedgwick to one second-half score after getting beat on outside passes and quarterback scrambles in the first half, so what was the halftime adjustment?

“Play better,” coach Grant Thierolf said. “We’re not smart enough to change anything. We’re going to do what we do and ask our kids to make plays.”

He said the defensive scheme was not changed, but linebackers did make a different read.

Schneider ended the game with 137 yards on 20 carries and Stringer with 103 yard on 19 carries.

Last modified Sept. 21, 2017

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