Thursday, September 6, 2007
MA celebrates huge win
By BARRY BURLESON
It’s a play coach Keith Wicker had called before with success. But it never traveled this far.
Backed up late in the first half, Marshall Academy quarterback Brent Adams stepped back in one end zone, threw over the middle to Tyler Childers, who caught the ball and outraced two Kirk Raiders to the other end zone.
“They had us pinned deep and I knew we had to get out,” said Wicker, in his first year as head coach of the Patriots. “I knew we were not going to get out running.
“I’ve used that play in the past with the same result, but not quite 99 yards.”
The touchdown, plus Adams’ kick afterwards, put Marshall ahead 7-0 and proved to provide all the points it would need in a huge 7-6 district win dominated by defense.
“We caught their safeties looking for the run,” said Wicker, continuing to talk about the play. “The best time to complete a pass is when they’re not looking for it.”
The Patriots improved to 2-0 on the season, both being district victories. The Raiders, who finished as state runners-up last season, dropped to 1-1, 0-1 in the district.
“I knew they (Kirk) had a very good defense,” Wicker said, “but I also knew our boys were going to step up. I felt the score would be close.
“The whole student body gave us great support all week, and the boys were not going to lose it.”
The MA defense rose to the occasion time and time again Friday night at Grenada. The final time came with less than two minutes left, holding the Raiders on four tries from the MA 40. The Patriots’ offense then simply ran out the clock and ignited a post-game celebration.
“What a game,” Wicker said. “That was something.”
The Marshall defense held Kirk to 174 yards of offense, 92 passing and 82 on the ground. The Kirk defense held Marshall to 232 yards of offense, almost half of that coming on the one big play. MA had 97 yards rushing, 47 of that from Taylor Dempsey, and 135 yards passing. The biggest run of the night, 24 yards, came from Justin Gray and got MA out of a hole midway through the fourth.
Hunter Bolden led the strong defensive effort. He had 13 tackles and one sack. Dempsey followed with nine tackles and next was Landen Fennell with eight tackles and a sack. Tyler Sanders and Gray had seven tackles each.
Sanders also had a big sack in the closing seconds of the first half. The Raiders had reached the MA 18-yard line. The sack pushed them back nine yards and forced a 44-yard field goal try which failed.
“Defensively, we used a lot of different looks,” Wicker said. “We stopped their sweep in the first half, and I was a bit disappointed when we didn’t stop it as well in the second half.”
Kirk’s only points of the night came on Brian Bowman’s 19-yard sweep with 5:20 to go in the game. The extra point kick failed.
Marshall hosts Class AAA Magnolia Heights Friday night. The big school Chiefs are 1-1, with a 10-7 loss to Kirk in week one and a 34-14 win over Madison Ridgeland Academy last week.
Wicker called last week’s win a “big-time confidence builder” but added more big games are ahead.
After non-district foe Magnolia Heights, MA goes to Indianola Academy for another key district contest.
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