Thursday, November 2, 2006
Patriots lose 38-14 to Rebels
By BARRY BURLESON
It was a rough night for the Patriots Friday night in Rossville, Tenn. Penalties and turnovers in the rain, wind and cold helped saddle Marshall Academy with a 38-14 loss.
“I think last week and the week before (disappointing 28-14 and 13-6 losses to Lee and Kirk) ripped them up,” said coach Wade Griffin said.
“We just shot ourselves in the foot this week. I know it was disappointing.”
MA was flagged seven times in the first half, several of those personal fouls. A couple of other 15-yarders, one for a personal foul and another for a block below the waist, followed in the second half.
“We certainly do not encourage personal fouls – talking on the field,” Griffin said. “It was frustrating, but at the same time this team is majority 10th graders, and they’re learning. Some of the calls I did not agree with.”
The Patriots couldn’t capitalize on a couple of early Rebel turnovers.
Tyler Sanders picked off a pass and returned it to the Rossville 35. MA had to punt, and the ball rolled dead at the Rebel 1.
Rossville moved out to its own 33. On a third-down play, Wesley Harris picked off a pass.
Later in that possession MA fumbled the ball with the Rebels recovering. The home team reached the end zone on a 9-yard toss from Boomer Mize to Will Farley. Sanders blocked the extra point attempt with 8:55 to go in the second quarter.
Disaster struck again for the Patriots on the kickoff return. Rossville pounced on a fumble at the MA 32.
The Rebels scored quickly. Mize threw to Blake Bennett for the 32-yard scoring strike. The try-for-two was unsuccessful. It was 12-0 with 8:37 left until halftime.
MA went three and out on its next possession, and the Rebels put together a successful 70-yard drive. Greg Sheehan scored the six points on a 3-yard run with 2:45 to go in the second period. Again, the try-for-two failed.
With 51 seconds to go, the Marshall offense went for the first on fourth and short. The Patriots were stopped.
Rossville took over, and on a third and long, Mize kept for a big gain and then Marshall was flagged for a late hit, pushing the ball to the MA 17. Another flag on MA moved the ball even closer, and with just four ticks left until intermission, Rossville’s Bubba Mize scored on a 1-yard plunge. Bennett’s extra-point kick gave the home team a commanding 25-0 advantage.
“I fussed at them some at halftime, and I didn’t see them (the Patriots) walk out of the dressing room at half with their heads down,” Griffin said.
An onside kick by the Patriots to open the second half was unsuccessful. Then on a fourth and three for Rossville, Spenser Autry came up with a big play. He batted away a pass attempt.
MA was later forced to punt, and Rossville put a dagger in the heart of the Patriots. Bennett returned the punt 65 yards for a touchdown with 7:17to go in the third. Bennett added the extra point. The lead was 32-0.
“A punt runback against you is a poor sign,” Griffin said, “and we had people in position to make plays.”
Just 17 seconds later, Hunter Sheehan intercepted an MA pass and returned it 40 yards for six more points. Sanders blocked his second extra-point try of the night.
Sanders followed that with a 25-yard kickoff return to the Rossville 48. Quarterback Brent Adams ran for a first down and then threw to Sanders for another. A Rebel interception at the 15 ended the drive.
The MA defense stiffened and forced a Rossville punt.
Then the MA offense finally reached the end zone. Adams had a big 15-yard run to the Rossville 25, and a face mask flag on the Rebels moved it to the 13. Adams connected with Sanders for the 13-yard score. He threw to Hunter Bolden for the two-point conversion with 11:34 left in the game.
Another onside kick attempt failed, and then the two teams swapped turnovers.
MA drove 31 yards for its only other touchdown of the evening. Adams threw to Sanders for a first down, and he kept the ball for another. A scrambling Adams then tossed to a leaping Tyler Childers in the back of the end zone for the score from 18 yards out. A try-for-two failed. The 38-14 final was on the board with 2:19 to go.
Adams was the team’s leading rusher with 11 carries for 51 yards. He was seven of 16 passing for 60 yards.
Sanders led the defense with five tackles, an interception and two blocked punts.
The Patriots (4-6) wrap up the season this Friday night with a road trip to West Memphis. Rossville (5-4) advances to the Tennessee state playoffs.
“We have to step and make better decisions,” Griffin said. “We will stay united. This is a tremendous group that has been together for a lot of long hours on hot days. We will see how they respond.”
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