Thursday, August 18, 2005

Patriots tune up in jamboree
 • Season opener Friday night at home vs. Rossville

By BARRY BURLESON
Editor

Wade Griffin got a preview of his Marshall Academy football team Thursday. This week the Patriots tee it up for real.

MA lost to North Delta 16-8 and beat Kirk 8-0 in the District I-AA Jamboree in Grenada on August 11. Games were 20 minutes each with a running clock.

“I feel good about this group,” the head coach said. “We just have to keep working. This isn’t a finished product.”

Griffin said his young squad turned some heads at the jamboree.

“I think we created some concerns,” he said. “They know we will compete. I believe that.”

The Patriots scored first against North Delta.

Two big runs by Tyler Sanders and a pass from Justin Gray to Will Forester pushed the ball to the Green Wave 1-yard line. Gray scored the six points on a keeper. He then threw to Forester for the two-point conversion.

North Delta tied it on a 65-yard touchdown run with 5:19 left and the two-point conversion.

The Green Wave won the game on a 50-yard pass and catch with 33 seconds to go. The two-point play was also successful.

“North Delta is an established program,” Griffin said. “They’re held in awe, and rightfully so.

“I was pleased with what I saw against North Delta, but I knew we had more. We came back against Kirk, and I saw more attitude at the line of scrimmage. It really pleased me.”

Defense dominated the Marshall versus Kirk matchup until late. With eight seconds to go, Tyler Sanders scored on a 17-yard run. Gray kept the ball and spun into the end zone for the two-point conversion.

“I think this group enjoyed the jamboree, and we all felt good about a lot of things,” Griffin said. “We’d been working consistently and deserved that little tingle. You reap what you sow.”

The Patriots planned to go “over the things they did well” and “some they didn’t do so well” at practice after the jamboree.

Plus, they’re getting ready for the season opener this Friday, Aug. 19, at home against Rossville, Tenn. Kickoff time is 7:30 p.m.

“We’re prepping,” Griffin said. “We saw some stunt packages and blitzes at the jamboree. We stayed with the straight base.

“We only showed two offensive formations, but we have more than that. Of course, more is not always good. We’ve got to start polishing what we’ve got before Rossville comes to town. “

The Rebels spoiled Griffin’s debut as MA’s head coach in last year’s first game, 7-6.

Marshall dressed just 15 players for the jamboree, the bulk of those sophomores. Several players stood on the sideline in street clothes with minor injuries. They’re expected to be ready for action this week.


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