Thursday, September 4, 2008
MA Patriots drop district game to Kirk
By BARRY BURLESON
It was simple for coach Keith Wicker to sum up Marshall Academy’s 20-0 loss to rival Kirk Friday night.
“They just physically whipped us up front, offensively and defensively,” Wicker said.
The Raiders avenged two losses to the Patriots last year, once in the regular season and again the playoffs. They did it by rolling up 317 yards total offense, while holding MA to just 105.
“We couldn’t block them,” Wicker said. “They just physically dominated us. We couldn’t even roll out and throw a roll-out pass.
“Defensively, we couldn’t stop them consistently on the ground. They pushed us around.”
Kirk improved to 2-0 overall, 1-0 in district, while Marshall fell to 1-1 overall and in district.
“They’re a good football team, and maybe we’re not as good as I thought,” Wicker said. “We have to go to work and get better - maybe move some people around.”
The Patriots punted seven times, three of those in the first quarter, and had two possessions end on fumbles.
The early going was also plagued by penalties, on both teams.
MA reached the Kirk 31-yard line midway through the first period but traveled backwards from there.
The Raiders successfully faked a punt in their next series but that try-for-points ended when Marshall’s Tyler Childers stripped the ball away from Houston Harper and teammate Hank Owens recovered.
Kirk puts its first points on the board in the second quarter. The Raiders got a big 16-yard run from Garrison Toole and then concluded the 36-yard drive on Rob Dambrino’s 3-yard touchdown carry. Harper kicked the extra point.
Josh Vanderburg returned the ensuing kickoff 39 yards to the Kirk 39-yard line. Two plays later, Hunter Bolden’s 19-yard run pushed the ball to the 13. But on third and 11 from the 14, MA fumbled and Kirk recovered at its own 8. That was the closest the Patriots’ would ever get to scoring.
The Raiders almost upped their lead prior to intermission. They used 11 running plays to drive from their 8 to the Patriots’ 19. But from there, they went in the wrong direction, starting with a 15-yard penalty that involved a Raider being ejected. Bolden’s sack of Channing Martin handed Kirk a 10-yard loss and ended the drive.
Marshall received the second half kick but only moved the ball 7 yards in three plays.
Kirk then drove 58 yards in 11 plays to pad its advantage. All the work was again on the ground, with Dambrino doing the bulk of the damage, including a 1-yard scoring plunge with 6:12 to go in the third quarter. Harper’s kick made it 14-0.
Owens, the Patriots’ quarterback, tried to pass on second and 18 during the team’s next possession but instead tucked the ball and ran for 20 yards. However, the drive stalled near midfield.
MA had one other big play in the second half but couldn’t break the scoreless drought. Owens threw a deep pass over the middle, where Childers made a diving/stretching catch over his shoulder for 32 yards to the Kirk 38.
Later, Chase Carpenter’s 35-yard punt pinned the Raiders at their own 3.
The teams swapped possession before Kirk iced the big district win with 2:07 left in the game. Martin kept for 31 yards, and Brandon Hubbard scored on a 3-yard run. The extra-point try was no good.
The Raiders recovered an MA fumble with 40 seconds to go and ran out the clock.
Top tacklers for Marshall in the loss were Bolden with nine, Childers with eight, Harris Gholson with six, and John Tomlinson and Michael Nooner with five each.
MA was penalized for 30 yards and Kirk for 45.
This week the Patriots step out of conference to face Class AAA Magnolia Heights. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday in Senatobia. The Chiefs are 1-1, losing to Kirk 15-12 in week one and then beating Madison Ridgeland Academy 22-7 last Friday. They are led by quarterback Cameron Lawrence, a member of The Clarion-Ledger’s preseason “Dandy Dozen” who has committed to Mississippi State.
MA returns to district play the following week, September 12, hosting Indianola.
“Our goal still is to get to the playoffs,” said Wicker. “We lost a conference game last year, too (and made it to the state title game). We need to buckle up and get after everybody we play.”
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