Thursday, September 3, 2009
Marshall no match for Chiefs
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall Academy, plagued by penalties and leg cramps, proved to be no match for big school Magnolia Heights Friday night.
The visiting Class AAA Chiefs from Senatobia pretty much had their way in a 34-7 win, spoiling the Class AA Patriots’ home opener. MA fell to 1-1, while Magnolia Heights upped its early season mark to 2-0.
“They’re good; they’re powerful; we couldn’t stop them,” said Keith Wicker, head coach of the Patriots.
And they got plenty of help from Marshall, which was flagged for 16 penalties.
“I was disappointed with all the penalties, lots of them jumping offsides,” he said. “We have to go back to work this week.”
As for the leg cramps, the Pats routed Rossville, Tenn., in week one and Wicker substituted freely in that one.
“Our kids couldn’t handle a full game yet,” he said. “The best way to get in shape is to play a game, and we hadn’t played a complete one. And maybe we weren’t ready for that type of team (Magnolia Heights), too.”
The Chiefs started their dominance early by controlling the football and the scoreboard in the first quarter. They scored on a 2-yard run by Josh Faught and a 14-yard pass from Mac McDonald to Adam Webb. Will Morgan added the two extra points for a 14-0 lead.
The Patriots showed some grit midway through the second quarter as they mounted an 84-yard, 15-play scoring drive. Quarterback Hank Owens provided a big first down run on third and long. He tightroped the sideline and moved MA into the Chiefs’ territory at the 39. Then he threw to Elgin Lafever for another third down conversion and to John Tomlinson, who bulled his way for another first down to the 10. Tyler Childers scored on a 5-yard run. Chase Carpenter’s kick cut the deficit to 14-7 with just over five minutes left in the first half.
The Chiefs responded. They went 80 yards in 10 plays to squelch any hopes of MA gaining momentum. McDonald and Faught did most of the work, including a 10-yard pass connection for the touchdown with 1:07 to go in the second quarter. Morgan booted the extra point.
Tomlinson returned the ensuing kickoff 27 yards. Then on first and 10, Childers broke loose for his biggest run of the night. He gained 44 yards to the Magnolia Heights 23. With the clock running near 10 seconds, the Patriots took a shot at the end zone but the pass fell incomplete. That forced a field-goal try from 39 yards out, and Carpenter’s kick barely missed the uprights.
“We almost got the score on the pass play,” Coach Wicker said. “If we could have scored again before half, it could have been a plus.”
Marshall got the ball first to start the second half. Tomlinson had another good kickoff return, this one for 33 yards. The Pats then earned one first down on a toss from Owens to Tomlinson before the drive stalled at the Chiefs’ 48.
Childers halted Magnolia Heights’ next possession on a leaping interception near midfield. Four plays later MA tried a fake punt and Childers came up just short of the first down.
“After that, we fizzled out,” Coach Wicker said.
Magnolia Heights scored two more times, once late in the third quarter and again in the fourth, to secure the win.
The Chiefs’ next march, which covered 63 yards, was aided by two offsides penalties and an unsportsmanlike conduct flag on the Patriots. McDonald reached the end zone from 14 yards away, and Morgan kicked the extra point. It was 28-7 with 1:23 to go in the third quarter.
The visitors’ final points came with 8:10 left in the game. Ben Billingsley scored on an 8-yard run. The extra point try failed. Marshall was flagged four times on that drive for 30 yards.
The Chiefs rushed for 192 yards and passed for 80 in the win. They had 23 first downs.
The Patriots ran for 70 yards and passed for 90. They had eight first downs. Childers had 16 carries for 60 yards. Owens was six of 16 passing. Carpenter punted five times for 221 yards, an average of 44.2.
Marshall travels to public school Falkner Friday. The Eagles are 0-1 after a week one loss to Alcorn Central. They did not play last week due to an outbreak of the flu.
“They’re big in the line, and they mix it up on offense,” Wicker said. “We had better be ready to play.”
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