Thursday, October 16, 2008
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall Academy scored with ease in the first half Friday night, and that was more than enough to make it a happy homecoming.
The Patriots surged ahead 33-0 at the intermission, and everyone played in the second half, including some ninth graders moving up from the unbeaten junior high squad. MA recorded the 33-20 non-district victory over West Memphis Christian.
“We played well early, and put it away,” coach Keith Wicker said.
“What else can you say? We got the win, and we have to get these last two (in the regular season).”
Marshall (4-4 overall and 2-2 in district) will not qualify for the playoffs as either the district champion or runner-up. Those spots belong to Kirk and Clarksdale Lee. But the Patriots have a shot at a wildcard spot. If they can beat non-district foe Delta and district competitor Carroll to wrap up the regular season, Wicker likes their chances.
“We just want in the playoffs,” he said. “Then it’s a whole new season.”
The Patriots took it to the Black Knights quickly last Friday. Less than a minute into the game, Tyler Childers found an opening provided by the offensive line and dashed 79 yards for the score. Chase Carpenter kicked the extra point.
West Memphis got one first down before MA forced a punt. The punter couldn’t get the kick off, as Hunter Bolden and John Tomlinson made the hit and gave the Patriots possession at the Black Knights’ 28-yard line.
Quarterback Hank Owens easily reached the end zone from 7 yards out with 6:51 to go in the first quarter. The extra-point try missed the mark.
Then a minute and a half later, it was Childers’ turn to shine again. He reeled in a West Memphis punt and returned it 54 yards for a touchdown. Carpenter’s kick made the lead 20-0.
The Black Knights didn’t quit. They drove 60 yards to the MA 20, where they faced a fourth and two. Bolden and Childers hit Keenen Sykes for a 2-yard loss.
Two plays later, Taylor Dempsey padded the Patriots’ advantage. He found a hole over the right side and raced 74 yards for six points. Carpenter’s kick made the scoreboard read 27-0 with 10:39 left in the first half.
The MA defense again bent some but didn’t break. West Memphis move to the Patriots’ 27-yard line and faced a fourth and five. This time Anderson Sawyer, Childers, Michael Nooner and Harris Gholson gang-tackled James Chong for a 3-yard loss.
The Patriots scored their final points of the night with 1:41 to go before the break. Bolden threw to Childers for the 32-yard touchdown. The extra-point kick failed.
Due to Marshall’s huge lead, the clock ran non-stop in the second half.
West Memphis’ touchdowns came on Jacob Chong’s 20-yard run, Preston Pugh’s 82-yard carry and a 5-yard pass from Jacob Chong to Braden Henderson. Tucker Bankston kicked two extra points.
The Patriots had 312 yards total offense, 280 of that coming on the ground. Dempsey carried five times for 99 yards.
The Black Knights had 221 yards total offense, 213 of that rushing.
Childers’ was MA’s top tackler with four.
Marshall hosts Delta Academy Friday night at 7:30 p.m. It’s “Senior Night,” the last regular season home game of the year.
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