Thursday, September 18, 2008
Patriots pound rival Indianola
By BARRY BURLESON
It wasn’t do or die. But Marshall Academy’s huge district win over Indianola provided plenty of life.
“That was a big plus Friday night,” coach Keith Wicker said. “It sure would have been uphill if we would have lost it.”
The Patriots improved to 2-2 overall and 2-1 in district with the 27-7 victory. They were 2-1 in district at this point in the season last year, too, and went on to win the district, the north and finish second in the state.
“I don’t care how we get to the playoffs; I just want to get there,” Wicker said.
An October 3 trip to Lee (Clarksdale) looms large. But first up are non-district contests versus North Delta and Heritage. And all games count as far as power point rankings in the Mississippi Private School Association playoff system.
“They’re all big,” Wicker said.
His Patriots really came up big versus Indianola and avenged a 30-12 loss a year ago.
“The hustle was there, and we were determined not to lose,” Wicker said. “We played very well - offensively and defensively. I was very pleased. We dominated up front - as big as Indianola was. Hopefully this will kick-start the rest of our season.”
Marshall took control on its opening possession - marching 71 yards 12 plays to take a lead it never relinquished. Tyler Childers had two runs for first downs, then some razzle dazzle had running back Hunter Bolden throwing to quarterback Hank Owens for 17 yards and a first at the Indianola 20. Owens later got the touchdown on a quarterback sneak from the 1-yard line. Chase Carpenter’s kick gave MA a 7-0 lead with 6:41 to go in the first quarter.
Indianola answered with a drive that reached the Marshall 30. But the defense rose to the occasion. Hunter Bolden, Spenser Autry, Landen Fennell, Rodney Robinson and Michael Nooner were in on tackles for loss. Suddenly the Colonels faced a fourth and 24 and had to punt.
After an interception early in the second quarter, Indianola moved to the MA 28. But Autry and Nooner forced losses of 2 and 3 yards.
And the Marshall offense cashed in the momentum. Owens threw to John Tomlinson, who made an over-the-shoulder snag, broke a tackle and completed the 67-yard touchdown. Carpenter’s kick increased the lead to 14-0.
Indianola got on the scoreboard before intermission. The big play in the 61-yard drive was a 42-yard connection from Robert Wright to Caleb Dodson. Dodson later got the score on a 1-yard plunge. Zach Whitfield added the extra point.
The district rivals swapped punts to open the second half, with Indianola fumbling Marshall’s kick and Will Patton recovering at the Colonels’ 23-yard line. It took just for plays for the Patriots to pad their lead. Childers ran three times for 22 yards and then Owens scored on a QB sneak. With 3:09 remaining in the third, Carpenter’s extra point made it 21-7 in favor of the home team.
Another fumble recovery by Patton ended Indianola’s next possession. But the Colonels picked off a pass and were back in business at the MA 45. The drive reached the 13 before back-to-back passes fell incomplete.
Marshall then drove the nail in the coffin with an 87-yard, six-play scoring drive. Childers had a 16-yard run and Owens carried for 14. Then Childers took a handoff, changed directions and dashed 44 yards for the touchdown with 9:51 to go in the game. The extra-point try was not successful.
Bolden and Joey Brock had interceptions for the Patriots down the stretch to preserve the 20-point win.
MA rolled up 273 yards in total offense - 179 rushing and 94 passing. Childers had 117 yards on 16 carries.
Fennell and Bolden had seven tackles each. Autry, who Wicker said had an outstanding game on in the defensive and offensive lines, dislocated his shoulder but will be back.
Carpenter punted five times for 193 yard, an average of 38.6 yards per punt.
“That game definitely gave our kids some confidence,” Wicker said. “It was big.”
MA hosts North Delta Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The Marshall defense limited Indianola to 58 yards rushing. The Colonels were eight of 20 passing for 107 yards.
The Pats had 80 yards in penalties to Indianola’s 35.
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