THursday, September 11, 2008
Patriots lose 36-6 at Magnolia Heights
By BARRY BURLESON
Magnolia Heights had its way the first half, building a 29-0 lead en route to a 36-6 win over Marshall Academy.
But coach Keith Wicker saw some grit in his Patriots the second half.
“In the first half, they just overpowered us,” he said, “and ran it anywhere they wanted. It seemed like we couldn’t get off our 20-yard line, and they kept pounding it. They took it to us.”
But Wicker made some adjustments at the half, particularly defensively, moving Taylor Dempsey to linebacker and John Tomlinson and Colby Curtis to defensive ends.
“And we played better,” he said. “We can build on our performance in the second half.”
The Class AA Patriots, whose record dropped to 1-2, played without two injured starters - Hunter Bolden and Josh Vanderburg. Both are expected back this week when MA returns to district action, hosting Indianola Academy. However, Tyler Childers apparently cracked a bone in his arm versus the Class AAA Chiefs Friday and his status was unknown at press-time.
The Patriots are 1-1 in the district, and Indianola 0-1 after a 7-0 loss to Lee (Clarksdale) last week.
“Indianola had every opportunity to win the ball game versus Lee,” Wicker said. “They’re big, and they’re a good football team.”
Marshall will be seeking revenge for its only regular season loss a year ago - 30-12 to the Colonels.
“It’s a huge game as far as the playoffs go,” Wicker said. “We need to get it (the win) and start putting everything together.”
Last Friday, the Chiefs went in front 15-0 after one quarter. David Hinkle scored on an 8-yard run, and Mac McDonald threw to Derrick Johnson for the two-point conversion. Cameron Lawrence scored on a 14-yard run, and Rickey Lawrence kicked the extra point.
Magnolia Heights added two more scores in the second quarter - one on McDonald’s 3-yard run and another on Josh Faught’s 4-yard carry. Lawrence was successful on the two extra-point kicks.
The MA defense forced the Chiefs to punt to start the second half. Then the offense used nine plays to reach the Magnolia Heights 33. But a fourth and four completion from Hank Owens to Childers was stopped just short of the first down.
Later in the second half, Tomlinson earned a couple of quarterback sacks, the latter forcing another Magnolia Heights punt.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Curtis came up with the big hit - stopping the Chiefs on a fourth and six try.
Then later in the fourth, he recovered a fumble with the Chiefs driving at the Patriots’ 17.
Magnolia Heights intercepted three passes in the second half, the final one giving them a first and goal at the MA 8. It took two plays to score with Hinkle getting the six points on a 4-yard run. Lawrence’s kick made it 36-0 with just 1:27 remaining.
The Patriots didn’t quit. Joey Brock returned the ensuing kickoff 45 yards to the Magnolia Heights 32. On first down Owens threw to Harris Gholson, who stretched for the catch and reached the 1-yard line. Owens then kept for the touchdown on the next play with 59 seconds to go. The extra-point try was no good.
Magnolia Heights, which avenged a 10-6 loss to the Patriots last season, had 245 yards total offense - 219 rushing and 26 passing. Marshall had 98 yards total offense - 25 rushing and 73 passing.
Childers had three catches for 27 yards. He also returned four kickoffs for 58 yards.
Leading the defense were Childers, Tomlinson and Owens with 12, 10 and eight tackles, respectively.
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