Thursday, Oct. 4, 2007
Marshall rolls past Heritage by 21
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall Academy satisfied an overflow homecoming crowd Friday night with a 21-point second half and some dominating defense.
The result was a 28-7 win for the Class AA Patriots over Class AAA Heritage and an overall season mark of 5-1. The other Patriots, from Columbus, dropped to 0-6.
The game was knotted at 7 at intermission.
“We just talked (at halftime) about them not being better than us and we could not let them beat us,” coach Keith Wicker said. “We stood up to the challenge. We have eight seniors, and their leadership was a key.”
Wicker, in his first season as head coach of Marshall, sees improvement in his team.
Friday night quarterback Brent Adams rushed for 168 yards on 22 carries. He threw touchdown passes of 37 and 28 yards, both caught be Wesley Harris.
“We can do a lot of things offensively now we couldn’t do earlier in the season,” he said. “From the shotgun, we’re adding more every week. We need that element of surprise.
“Defensively, we’ve been pretty steady.”
MA held Heritage to just 75 total yards.
“Defensively, we played well Friday night, except for a few plays when we let them outside,” he said.
That improvement will need to continue in week seven of the season. Lee (Clarksdale) comes calling Friday night with the district lead at stake. The winner is in the driver’s seat for the district crown and a first round playoff game at home.
“If that isn’t incentive, I don’t know what is,” Wicker said.
The Patriots blew a chance to put points on the board in its first drive Friday night. They reached the Heritage 3 but couldn’t punch it in. Once in the second half, the Patriots fumbled the ball away on the Heritage 3.
“We can’t do that,” Wicker said. “We must get better in that situation. We can’t pass up opportunities.”
MA’s first points came on the Adams to Harris connection of 37 yards with 3:00 to go in the first. Adams added the first of his four extra point kicks on the night.
Heritage tied the game with 6:24 to go in the second quarter. Quarterback Drew Vaughn was successful on the sneak from 1 yard out. Patrick Witty added the extra point.
The Patriots bounced back with a time-consuming, nine-play drive that bogged down at the Heritage 15. A fake field goal try on fourth down failed.
The MA defense held Heritage to three downs and out to start the second half.
Wesley Harris returned the punt 20 yards to the Heritage 42. Then Tyler Childers carried for 20 more yards on first down. Three plays later Adams scored the touchdown on a 2-yard carry at the 9:49 mark of the third quarter.
Adams also ignited MA on its next possession when he ran for 50 yards on first down. Then on the next play he found Harris again, this time for 28 yards and the score with 6:50 to go in the third quarter.
The two teams swapped some punts until the host Patriots put the homecoming victory on ice with 9:45 left in the fourth. That’s when Tyler Sanders picked off a Heritage pass and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown.
Defense dominated the rest of the way. Leading the MA defensive effort was Justin Gray with eight tackles. Harris, Jake Howell and Jake Paylor had five each. Sanders and Adams had interceptions and Hunter Irons a fumble recovery.
Coach Wicker hopes for more strong fan support Friday night when his Patriots host the Colts in one of the biggest games in years for Marshall football.
“Lee will spread us out and throw it from the shotgun,” Wicker said. “Their quarterback is a good athlete. They’re a good football team - well-coached.
“I think our kids are playing with confidence. I’m proud of them.”
Lee beat the other Lee (Marianna, Ark.) 48-0 last Friday night. They’re 3-2 overall and 3-0 in the district. Marshall is 2-1 in district play.
Kirk knocked off Indianola 10-7 last Friday in a key district contest.
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