Thursday, October 15, 2009
MA hangs on at Kirk
By BARRY BURLESON
Two touchdowns proved to be just enough in the mud Friday night at Grenada.
Marshall Academy put together two scoring drives, one in each half, and used a stout defensive effort to beat rival Kirk 14-11 in a crucial District 1-AA matchup.
“The sloppy field limited us offensively, and we didn’t execute well,” said head coach Keith Wicker. “But luckily we got those two scores. We told them at halftime defense was going to win it, and we made a big goal-line stand in the second half.”
MA improved to 6-1 overall and 2-0 in the district, setting up an opportunity to claim the district crown this Friday night at Indianola. Kirk dropped to 3-5 overall and 1-2 in the district.
“Anytime you go to Kirk and get a win it’s big-time,” Wicker said.
The Patriots coughed up the football on their second possession, giving the Raiders excellent field position at the Marshall 47. But a holding flag and two tackles for loss by Josh Vanderburg sent Kirk in the wrong direction and forced a punt.
MA took over at its own 38 and used 12 plays, including Vanderburg’s 9-yard carry on a fake punt, to take the lead. John Tomlinson ran 11 yards for a first down and Hank Owens threw to Tyler Childers for 12 yards and another first. The touchdown came on another Owens to Childers connection, this one for 11 yards. Chase Carpenter kicked the extra point, and the visitors led 7-0 with 11:54 to go in the second quarter.
The two teams then swapped punts before Tomlinson recovered a Kirk fumble at the Raider 41. MA tried to get more points before half but couldn’t convert on a fourth and five from the 36.
The home team got the ball first to start the second half but again went backwards, with Drew Rappa, Tomlinson and Vanderburg crushing the runner for a 6-yard loss on third down.
The Marshall offense responded with a 60-yard, seven-play drive, which proved to provide the winning points.
The biggest play was what Coach Wicker called a “spectacular catch” by Jake Delashmit. The pass from Owens to Delashmit, who caught it as he was falling, gained 29 yards to the Kirk 17. Childers scored the touchdown on a 9-yard run, leaping a Raider near the 5 and plowing over another into the end zone. Carpenter’s kick made the scoreboard read 14-0 with 6:11 to go in the third quarter.
Next came the Patriots’ goal-line stand.
Kirk used its first pass of the night to move the ball 57 yards to the MA 9. A face mask flag on the Patriots pushed the ball to the 5, giving the Raiders a first and goal. Trey Lindsey and Delashmit hit the ball carrier for a 1-yard loss on first down. Kirk tried a quarterback keeper from the shotgun on fourth and goal from the 5, but the play was stopped short by a host of Pats at the 2.
Marshall took over and on its first play, the Raider defense surged through and downed Childers in the end zone for a safety. The score was 14-2 with 1:51 left in the third.
“That safety was my fault,” Wicker said. “I called the play to go the wrong way.”
With 9:31 to go in the fourth quarter, MA pinned Kirk deep in its own territory, thanks to Carpenter’s 46-yard punt. But the Raiders got out of the hole, mixing the pass with the run and driving for their only touchdown of the night. The touchdown came on a 20-yard pass play, and the extra-point kick cut the deficit to 14-9 with 3:38 remaining.
On the kickoff the Patriots got two penalties - one for blocking below the waist and another for unsportsmanlike conduct - forcing them to start the possession from their own 12. A holding call later pushed the ball back to the 7. On fourth and 8 from the 10, Wicker instructed punter Carpenter to run out of the back of the end zone and take the intentional safety with 1:57 left. MA led 14-11.
“We kind of went crazy toward the end, didn’t execute and it almost go us beat,” said Wicker, referring to the penalties.
Carpenter, from the Patriots’ 20, nailed the ensuing kickoff. Kirk tried a reverse on the other end but MA foiled it at the Raiders’ 24-yard line.
“That was better than punting out of our end zone and giving them a short field,” he said. “Everything worked out for us there.”
The MA defense rose to the occasion one more time, again pushing the Raiders backwards. A fourth and 12 pass try was incomplete to end the game.
Leading the stat sheet, were Childers, who ran for 57 yards and had 41 more receiving, and Owens, who was five of eight passing for 80 yards. MA had 209 total yards to Kirk’s 192.
The Patriots visit Indianola Friday for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
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