Thursday, September 15, 2005

• District 1-AA matchup
Kirk takes advantage of Patriots’ mistakes


Marshall Academy tried to work itself out of a 17-6 halftime hole Friday night but three fourth-quarter turnovers proved costly.

Kirk cashed in the last two blunders for points and secured a 31-6 District 1-AA victory over the Patriots in Holly Springs.

“We had opportunities Friday to win the ball game,” said head coach Wade Griffin. “We’re still shooting ourselves in the foot. We can’t let that happen.”

MA dropped to 1-3 overall and 0-2 in the district. It was Kirk’s first victory of the season.

The Raiders scored first, at the 6:52 mark of the opening quarter, on an 11-yard run by Brian Bowman. He also kicked the extra point.

Coach Griffin said on Kirk’s first 10 snaps, the Patriots had defensive players misaligned – “not where they’re supposed to be.”

“It’s a progression – individual work, teamwork and taking it under the lights,” he said. “We’re batting 100 percent during the week. The coaches have been watching film today (Sunday), and it’s nothing that can’t be fixed, but it has to be fixed. We’re predominantly young – a lot of sophomores playing.”

Marshall’s only points came later in the first quarter. Blake Work blocked a Kirk punt and teammate Jarvis Holloway recovered it for the touchdown. The extra point kick failed.

In the second quarter, the Raiders upped their advantage by means of a 22-yard field goal from Bowman and a swing pass from Harley Matthews to Jack Willis that accounted for 47 yards and a score. Bowman kicked the extra point after the touchdown, and the Raiders led 17-6.

At the half, MA had just 38 yards rushing and eight passing. Tyler Sanders had punted the ball four times, averaging over 30 yards per kick.

Kirk threatened to open the third quarter, but Thomas Rodgers’ fumble recovery halted the drive at the Marshall 17.

The Patriots earned two first downs, one on a Sanders run and another on a strike from Justin Gray to Rodgers, before having to punt the ball away.

The Raiders were unsuccessful on a 40-yard field goal attempt at the 8:48 mark of the fourth period.

Kirk picked off an MA pass at the 5:33 mark of the fourth quarter, and on the next play, Bowman darted 58 yards for a touchdown. His point-after kick made the scoreboard read 24-6.

With 4:21 to go in the game, Marshall fumbled, and Kirk’s Stan Woods picked up the football and ran 55 yards for another score. Bowman added the extra point kick for the 31-6 final.

“We have to work our way out of the hole,” Coach Griffin said. “It’s repairable.

“I had some individuals that didn’t step up Friday, and I’m very disappointed in that.”

The Patriots had 161 yards total offense to 314 for the Raiders.

Gray was six of 16 passing for 52 yards. Sanders ran the ball 15 times for 40 yards. Rogers had six catches for 38 yards, plus 86 return yards.

Blake Work led the defense and did “an outstanding job,” according to Griffin. He had 13 tackles, a sack and the blocked punt. Jarvis Holloway and Gray followed with 12 tackles each. Wesley Harris had 10, and Rodgers and Rick Looney had nine each. Jake Paylor had eight.

“We’re going back to work this week,” Griffin said. “I’ve done this for a long time, and we’re not going to roll over. It was not a good weekend; I didn’t sleep much.”

The Patriots travel to Marvell, Ark., this Friday night. The Class A Eagles are 2-2 after a 31-0 loss this past week to DeSoto, Ark.

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