Thursday, November 5, 2009
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall Academy started sluggishly in heavy rainfall Friday night but scored four touchdowns in the second quarter to drown West Memphis Christian.
Head coach Keith Wicker substituted freely in the second half as the home team, on “Senior Night,” easily beat the Black Knights 31-12.
MA, 9-1 and District 1-AA champion, will host Leake Academy Friday night in round one of the state playoffs.
“We were just trying to get that one (West Memphis) over with and focus on the playoffs,” Wicker said.
“We knew all week long we were the better team, and then we looked up and had a 3-0 lead after the first quarter. Wet conditions can level the playing field.
“But we got a defensive stand, got a fumble and blocked a punt and were able to get the score where it was supposed to be.”
The Patriots’ first points came on Chase Carpenter’s 30-yard field goal. MA had started the possession at its own 15 and traveled as far as the West Memphis 3 but went backwards due to flags. The big play in the march was a 65-yard run by Josh Vanderburg.
The Knights, behind the running of Peyton Pugh, then put together a drive that reached the Patriot 35. MA’s Trey Lindsey, Will Patton and Drew Rappa came up with big hits. Later, on fourth and 7, Marshall’s Chase Ferrell stopped Jacob Chong 5 yards short of a first down.
The Patriots scored in four plays, all runs by Tyler Childers. Childers broke loose for 61 yards to the West Memphis 6. He scored from 3 yards out. Carpenter’s kick put MA on top 10-0 with 7:20 left in the second quarter.
A few plays later Drew Rappa recovered a West Memphis fumble at Marshall’s 48.
The Patriots overcame two penalties and scored in five plays on this possession. Hank Owens threw to John Tomlinson for 16 yards. Childers found running room and then leaped some Black Knights for a 28-yard gain. Childers then scored on a 3-yard carry. Carpenter connected for the extra point. The lead was 17-0 with 3:33 to go in the first half.
The Black Knights fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Neil Murphy recovered.
On first down at the West Memphis 12, Owens tossed to a wide open Jake Delashmit in the end zone for the touchdown. Carpenter’s kick upped the lead to 24-0 with 3:21 left in the second quarter.
Two minutes later Tomlinson blocked the Black Knights’ punt. Teammate Murphy picked up the loose ball and carried it 13 yards for another Marshall score. Carpenter added the kick and the home team led 31-0 at halftime.
West Memphis ran eight minutes off the clock and scored on its first possession of the second half. Pugh carried 23 yards for the score. A try-for-two failed.
The Black Knights then recovered a fumble at the MA 9. They scored in two plays, with Drake Holt getting the six points on a 1-yard plunge. The two-point attempt was unsuccessful.
The Patriots’ lead was 31-12 with 2:18 left in the third quarter, and that score held the rest of the way. Tyler Cook recovered a fumble midway through the fourth to stop a West Memphis drive.
The Leake Rebels come to Holly Springs this week sporting a 7-3 overall mark. Their losses were to District 3-AA champion Simpson, district runner-up Lamar and Class AAA Copiah.
“They’ve lost to some very good football teams,” Wicker said. “They played Lamar’s britches off last Friday (in a 20-7 losing effort).”
He said the Rebels remind him of his own team.
“They run well,” he said. “They get to the football, and they will hit you hard.”
He said the Leake quarterback is a good runner and passer.
“They lost their tailback (to injury) against Kirk, but the backup tailback looks good. They run a lot of different formations.
“We will have our work cut out for us, but you know that come playoff time.”
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday at Patriot Field.
The Marshall-Leake winner will face the Lamar-Oak Hill winner in the quarterfinals Friday, Nov. 13.
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