Thursday, October 1, 2009
Junior Pats still perfect
Playing their second game in four days, the Marshall Academy junior high football team traveled to North Delta Thursday and came away with a 28-6 victory.
The Patriots had beaten Kirk on Monday of last week after thunderstorms forced postponement.
“It was hard on the players and coaches,” said head coach Keith Owens. “Our kids responded real well. I felt like we gave a much better effort against North Delta.”
It didn’t come easy, though. The Green Wave received the opening kickoff and nearly returned it for a touchdown. Taylor Morris carried the ball deep inside Patriot territory to the 21-yard line. Three plays later North Delta took a 6-0 lead as Morris cashed in from 1 yard out. The point-after try failed.
Marshall responded. The possession started at its own 34. A 10-play drive was capped by Aaron McAlexander’s run from the 9-yard line to knot the score. Zack Pritchett would add the two-point conversion and MA would lead 8-6 with 1:19 to go in the first quarter.
The Patriots would force a punt and quickly got on the scoreboard again.
McAlexander again found the end zone, this time as a result of a pass from Pritchett. The play covered 71 yards. Dustin Allen tacked on the point-after try to build the Patriots’ lead to 16-6.
As the game moved into the second half, Marshall looked to add to its lead. Five Patriots handled the ball as they went on an eight-play, 65-yard drive. Chase Smith opened the drive with an 8-yard gain. Dakota Dailey followed with an 11-yard run. After a holding penalty negated a touchdown, Pritchett passed to John Wesley Ray and McAlexander for receptions of 10 and 17, respectively. From there, Pritchett rushed for 6 yards and Dailey had runs of 9 and 14 yards, the second for a score. The point-after attempt failed, but the Patriots had built a 22-6 advantage.
The final score came courtesy of a blocked punt. Smith got through the Green Wave line and reached the punter. Brian Novarese scooped up the ball and returned it 36 yards to the 4-yard line. The first play from scrimmage saw Pritchett score. The point-after attempt again failed, but the damage was done.
“I felt like we wore them down in the second half,” Owens said. “Our hard work running sprints paid off.”
MA improved to 5-0.
As a team, the Pats rushed for 174 yards on 30 carries. Pritchett was the leading ground gainer with 60 yards on 11 carries. Smith followed with 58 yards on nine carries.
“The field conditions were bad,” Owens said. “We knew we had to be able to run the ball and our linemen did a great job of opening some big holes to run through. Brody Martin, Josh Mask, Vince Hoyt, Wood Morris and Hunter Vanderburg all did good jobs up front for us to be able to have success on the ground.”
McAlexander had three receptions for 113 yards.
Defensively, Dustin Allen had eight solo tackles and assisted on three others. Pritchett also had eight solos and one assists. Ray had four solos. Dailey and Smith each had a pass interception.
Thursday, the Patriots go to West Point to face Oak Hill. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m.
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