Thursday, September 8, 2005

Patriots come up short at Bayou
• Marshall hosts Kirk Friday night


Marshall Academy saw a 14-0 second-half lead vanish Friday night in the Delta.

“We’ve got to learn to finish,” head coach Wade Griffin said.”We have to regroup and use this to get better.”

Bayou Academy rallied for an 18-14 win, having to hold MA out of the end zone to end the game. It was the first district game of the season for both schools. Marshall is 1-2 overall, and Bayou 2-1.

The first half was scoreless. The Patriots’ biggest threat came on the game’s first possession. MA drove to the Bayou 6-yard line, much of the yardage coming on Justin Gray pass completions to Thomas Rodgers and Jarvis Holloway. But the drive stalled.

The Patriots had 37 total yards in the first half to 66 for the Colts.

The second half began with Blake Work and Jake Paylor throwing Bayou quarterback Caleb Reed for back-to-back losses. The two teams then swapped turnovers. Marshall’s Wesley Harris picked off a Bayou pass at the MA 2-yard line.

The Patriot offense quickly produced points. Work ran for 13 yards, and then Gray tossed a strike to Tyler Sanders, who raced down the right side for an 85-yard score. Will Forester added the extra point. It was 7-0 at the 6:47 mark of the third period.

A Bayou player fielded the ensuing kickoff on a knee at his own 7-yard line.

On first down, Work tackled Reed in the backfield and caused a fumble, which Work recovered at the Bayou 4.

Sanders scored the touchdown from there on first down, and Forester’s kicked upped the advantage to 14-0 with 6:35 to go in the third.

Bayou bounced back with a fast, 62-yard drive. Paul Mangialardi got an option toss and darted 25 yards for the touchdown. The extra point kick was no good.

The next MA drive began with two Gray to Rodgers completions, but a flag for an illegal block forced the Patriots to punt.

On first down, Reed kept the ball on the option and traveled 74 yards for six points. A try-for-two was unsuccessful, and Marshall still had the lead, 14-12, with 1:09 left in the third quarter.

A Patriot fumble in the fourth gave the home team additional life. Bayou recovered at the MA 48-yard line.

On second down this time, Mangialardi took the option toss and raced 33 yards to the end zone. The Patriots stopped the try-for-two, but they trailed for the first time, 18-14, with 8:56 left.

But MA had some fight left itself. Quarterback Gray was carried off the field twice in the fourth due to injury, the last sidelining him for the rest of the game.

“You couldn’t keep him out on the sideline,” Griffin said. “The second time he went out, I said ‘you’re through.’ I admire that competitive level he displayed.”

MA, trying to come back, lost a fumble late, and then Rodgers recovered a Bayou blunder at the Colt 37-yard line with 1:31 to go in the game.

Forester, who replaced Gray as signal-caller, threw to Rodgers, and then Bayou was called for interference on a deep pass intended for Tyler Sanders.

The Patriots had a first and 10 at the Bayou 15 but couldn’t produce points with the clock ticking and no timeouts. A desperation pass on the last play of the game was picked off by the Colts.

“I saw some fight the second half,” Coach Griffin said. “I think some of our young kids grew up. We had some individuals who did well.

“We’re trying to build a program. I’m not angry; I’m too old to throw chairs. I love each and everyone of these guys.”

Gray was the leading Patriot rusher with 25 yards. Sanders had 94 yards receiving and Rodgers 84. MA was 15 of 27 through the air. Top tacklers were Rodgers, Paylor, Work and Gray.

The MA coaching staff expected the Colts to throw the ball more than they did, but the Patriots “were schooled on the option,” Griffin said.

“We laid the ball on the ground some, and they had success with the option,” he said. “We covered that all week, but we let them back in the ball game. My people knew where they were supposed to be.

“We’re not dropping our heads. We’ll reload.”

The Patriots host district foe Kirk Academy this Friday night. The Raiders are 0-3, coming off a 41-0 loss to Indianola.

“I will give these guys the best I’ve got this week, and we’ll prepare,” he said. “We’ve got to develop an attitude at the line of scrimmage and we’ve got to finish.”

The Patriots were scheduled to return to the practice field on Monday (Labor Day) at 8 a.m.

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