Thursday, September 10, 2009
Junior high Patriots coast to easy victory
“Total team effort” were the words used by coach Keith Owens after his Marshall Academy junior high football team whipped West Memphis Christian Thursday night 40-12.
Six Patriots put points on the scoreboard. Owens attributes that to the fact the offensive line has vastly improved, allowing for better distribution of the ball. Hunter Vanderburg, Vince Hoyt, Josh Mask, Wood Morris and Colt Lindsey each did exceptional jobs up front, he said, creating holes and time for the backs and receivers to get free. Lindsey, a seventh grader, has stepped into a starter’s role after freshman Brody Martin suffered a broken arm in the previous game against Magnolia Heights.
“I told our team all week that this was a team game,” Owens said. “There is not a player who will win a game by themselves.”
Marshall jumped to a 32-0 halftime lead. The Patriots’ first possession started at midfield and took five plays to reach the end zone. A 24-yard pass from Zack Pritchett to John Wesley Ray placed the ball on the Knights’ 13-yard line. From there, Aaron McAlexander scored the first of his two first half touchdowns. Pritchett connected with Dakota Dailey for the two-point conversion.
On the Knights’ ensuing possession, McAlexander picked off an errant pass and returned it 27 yards to the 5-yard line.
On the Pats’ first play from scrimmage, Dustin Allen scored. Pritchett this time passed to Stephen Pannell for the point-after and MA led 16-0 with 1:45 to go in the first quarter.
The next possession saw Marshall score on a 79-yard pass play from Pritchett to Ray. Pritchett’s two-point conversion padded the lead to 24-0 early in the second quarter.
The final score of the first half came when McAlexander returned a Knight punt 45 yards for the score. Pritchett again tacked on the point-after and the score stood 32-0.
In the third, West Memphis was able to get on the scoreboard and cut the deficit to 32-6.
Marshall responded by scoring on its second play from scrimmage as Pritchett connected on a 20-yard pass play to Pannell. It was Pannell’s first ever touchdown. Dailey’s reception on the two-point conversion made the score 40-6.
West Memphis added another score midway through the fourth quarter for the final points of the game.
Defensively, Chase Smith was the top Marshall tackler as he registered seven solos, plus a pass deflection. Seventh grader Brian Novarese brought down five Knight ball-carriers and also had a fumble recovery. McAlexander found himself around the ball all night with four tackles, a fumble recovery, a pass deflection and a pass interception.
Offensively, Pritchett connected on all three of his pass attempts for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Ray was the leading receiver with 103 yards on a pair of receptions.
Six Patriots combined to rush for 95 yards on 11 carries – Smith 20 yards on three carries, McAlexander 19 on two, Allen 16 on three, while Ray, Pritchett and Dailey had one carry each for 15, 13 and 12 yards, respectively.
Marshall (2-0) looks towards its home opener this Thursday at 7 p.m. versus Tunica Academy.
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