Thursday, October 26, 2005
Miscues costly in MA loss
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall Academy was its own worst enemy Friday night in Clarksdale.
Three first-half turnovers led to easy 4-, 9- and 17-yard scoring drives for Lee Academy, and the gritty Patriots couldn’t recover. They lost 28-14 with a state playoff spot on the line.
“The first half was frustrating,” coach Wade Griffin said. “I was pleased with what we were getting done on offense. It should have been 14-0, and then you blink twice and it was 7-7.
“We’re not good enough yet to spot them (Lee) those type scoring opportunities.”
MA outgained the Colts in the first half - 108 total yards to 61 - but trailed 21-7 at the break.
Tyler Childers, a ninth grader stepping up from the junior high team, provided the quick spark for the Patriots. He returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. Colby Curtis added the extra point. It was 7-7 just 13 seconds into the game.
Marshall had another early shot at points when Taylor Dempsey forced a Lee fumble, which teammate Wesley Harris recovered. But the offense couldn’t capitalize.
Patriot defender Spenser Autry threw the Lee quarterback, Patrick Clark, for 3- and 7-yard losses, forcing punts on the home team’s next two possessions.
Then disaster started striking for the Patriots.
The Colts recovered a fumble at the MA 4-yard line. Devyn Shing scored on the first play from there, and Tony Antici kicked the first of his four extra points on the night, this one with 3:51 to go in the first quarter.
The teams then swapped punts before Marshall put together a 77-yard march that reached the Lee 5. Big plays were 9- and 35-yard completions from Brent Adams to Harris, and a 15-yard run by Tyler Sanders on a reverse. But an incomplete pass on fourth and goal from the five ended the try for points.
Another quarterback sack, this one by Childers and Autry, forced another Lee punt midway through the second period.
“Defensively, Coach (Keith) Wicker had a very good package,” Griffin said, “and I was pleased with the way we hit. It’s the first time since I’ve been here that I felt like we hit with them.”
Two more Marshall miscues late in the second quarter led to Colt scores. The first came on a punt snap, which Lee recovered at the MA 9. Devyn Shing carried twice, for 8 yards and then for the 1-yard touchdown. Then on first down after the ensuing kickoff, the Colts’ Bo Crumpton picked off a pass at the Marshall 17. Facing third and goal from the 1, Shing tallied his third touchdown of the game, this one, too, on a 1-yard run.
The Colts opened the second half with a 79-yard scoring march. It culminated with a 30-yard touchdown toss over the middle from Clark to Warren Huggins.
MA trailed 28-7 with 6:54 to go in the third period.
The Patriot defense forced a Lee turnover later in the quarter. Clark was sacked again, fumbled and Autry picked it up and returned it 5 yards to the Colt 2. Dempsey scored the touchdown from there, and Curtis added the extra point. The scoring was wrapped up, 28-14, with 4:03 left in the third.
The Patriots went to the “no huddle offense” with 8:42 to go in the game. They drove 57 yards to the Lee 16, but failed to convert on a fourth and nine.
“Marshall has been a doormat for them (Lee) for several years,” Griffin said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve beaten them. The opportunities were there Friday night. It was playoff situation for us for the first time in a long time. The guys were disappointed, but we’ll regroup.
“I believe this program is getting better. I want these guys to experience the best. These are my guys.”
MA finished with 171 yards total offense. Adams led the ground game with 34 yards. He was six of 15 passing. Harris had four catches for 62 yards.
Autry spearheaded the defense with nine tackles, three sacks and a fumble recovery. Adams had eight tackles and Hunter Bolden seven. Childers had six tackles and two sacks.
Lee finished with 203 yards total offense.
The Patriots close out the season with two non-district, road contests - Rossville, Tenn., this Friday night and West Memphis the next week, Nov. 3.
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