Thursday, September 13, 2007
stun AAA Chiefs
By BARRY BURLESON
Just before kickoff Friday night a group of Marshall Academy students burned a teepee on the hill beside Patriot Field.
In the game to follow, the MA football team scorched big school rival Magnolia Heights 10-6 and improved to 3-0 on the season. It was Marshall’s first win over the Chiefs since a 22-8 homecoming victory in 1997.
“The kids were ready to play,” said Keith Wicker, in his second season at MA and first as head coach. “We hadn’t beaten them in so long, but we realized we could play with them in the first six minutes, and we battled.
“I was very proud of the way our defense stood up. We bent at times but we never broke.”
Hunter Bolden spearheaded that defensive effort. He had 12 tackles and two fumble recoveries. Other top Patriots on defense were Justin Gray with nine tackles and Tyler Childers with seven tackles and one fumble recovery. Tyler Sanders preserved the win with an interception in the last 30 seconds of the game.
On offense for the Class AA Patriots, it was quarterback Brent Adams who burned the Class AAA Chiefs. He scored all of the team’s points.
First, he booted a 29-yard field goal with 6:20 to go in the second quarter to put MA on top 3-0.
Then his 50-yard touchdown run from the shotgun formation was the game-winner. It came with 10:15 to go in the fourth quarter. He also kicked the extra point.
“Brent (Adams) picked his hole, popped through and broke it,” Wicker said about the decisive play.
Adams had 129 yards rushing in the game on 20 carries. Ninety-five of those yards came in the second half. He was four of seven passing for 58 yards.
Magnolia Heights’ lone points came on its first possession of the second half. The Chiefs went 69 yards in just four plays. Cameron Lawrence hooked up with Tyler Graves on a 60-yard pass play to the MA 5. Colby Mason scored the touchdown from there. The extra-point try failed.
Marshall’s successful night was highlighted by several more big plays on both offense and defense.
The biggest came with under four minutes left in the game. Marshall faced a fourth and one from its own 37-yard line. First, the Patriots lined up and tried to draw the Chiefs offsides. That didn’t work, so Coach Wicker called a timeout.
“The players told me, ‘Coach, if we’re going to win it, we’ve got to go for it,’ ” he said. “We ran the same play Brent (Adams) broke for the touchdown. Brent is hard to tackle. We figured we could get 1 yard. It was an easy decision, but one you want to be sure about.”
Instead of just 1 yard, Adams gained 21 to the Magnolia Heights 42.
There were other highlights, too.
From the MA 22, the Chiefs went for a first down on a fourth and 11 with 6:47 to go in the first quarter. Quarterback Cameron Lawrence was stopped short by Bolden.
A gutsy Coach Wicker called for a fake punt on the first play of the second quarter, with MA facing a third and four from its own 32. Sanders, the punter, gained 20 yards and a first down and got the Patriots out of a hole.
The Chiefs fumbled a punt and Bolden recovered at the Magnolia Heights’ 25. That led to Marshall’s field goal.
Adams hooked up with Childers for a 32-yard pass play late in the second half. But Adams’ 25-yard field goal try with less than a minute left missed the mark.
Sanders had a booming 52-yard punt in the third quarter that pinned the Chiefs at their own 18.
The visitors’ kicker, William Morgan, missed a 28-yard field goal with 14 seconds to go in the third.
Will Thomas and Gray teammed up to cause a fumble early in the fourth quarter which teammate Bolden recovered.
Mason broke a big run for Magnolia Heights midway through the fourth. Childers stripped the ball from him and then recovered the fumble at the Marshall 16.
“That was a big, big key to our win,” Coach Wicker said about the defensive play.
Magnolia Heights recovered an MA fumble with 1:27 to go in the game and reached Patriot territory. Then Sanders ignited a huge celebration with his interception.
And one other huge stat for the game – the Patriots were penalized just once for five yards.
“That might be a record for Marshall,” Wicker said. “We had our heads straight.”
Next up for the Patriots is a crucial district game at Indianola Academy this Friday at 7:30 p.m.. Marshall is 2-0 in the district; the Colonels are 0-1 after a 22-21 loss last week to Lee (Clarksdale). Indianola has non-district wins over Delta and Oak Hill.
“They run a lot of different offensive formations,” Wicker said. “We have to be able to adjust defensively. It’s a huge game. Indianola is tough. We have to get back down to earth (after last week’s win) and get focused.”
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