Thursday, November 19, 2009
MA scores 41 but falls to Lamar
By BARRY BURLESON
Two teams combined for 95 points and more than 1,000 yards total offense Friday night at Patriot Field. Unfortunately, the visitors got the slight majority.
In a classic shootout between a run-oriented offense and a passing one, the air attack came out on top. Lamar School eliminated Marshall Academy from the Class AA football playoffs with the 54-41 win. There were only two punts in the game, one by each team. The Raiders (11-1) move on to face Simpson for the north state crown. MA finishes 10-2.
“That was a lot of points,” said Keith Wicker, head coach of the Patriots. “I knew they were going to score but I knew we could, too. Going in, I thought we might could win it with 40, but we needed 55.”
The thorn in Marshall’s side was quarterback Witt Haggard. The senior threw for 351 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 113 yards and three more touchdowns. The Raiders had 527 yards total offense.
“He’s the best (quarterback) I’ve ever coached against,” said Wicker, a veteran of private school football in Mississippi. “He could throw it and he could run it. We tried blitzing him, but we couldn’t get to him, and if we didn’t blitz him, we still couldn’t cover them.”
But Lamar had plenty of trouble stopping the Patriots, too. Two backs rushed for more than 100 yards. Tyler Childers carried 32 times for 236 yards and one touchdown. John Tomlinson ran the ball 21 times for 108 yards and two scores. MA had 508 yards total offense.
“They couldn’t stop us either,” Coach Wicker said. “He (Lamar coach Mac Barnes) told me, ‘Y’all are a real good offensive football team in that set (double wing).’
“Our kids really played hard.”
Marshall took a 14-0 lead, scoring on its first two possessions and evaporating the bulk of the first-quarter clock. One drive traveled 72 yards in 12 plays and the next 80 yards in 10 plays. Tomlinson got the first touchdown on a 7-yard carry. Childers recorded the next one from 10 yards out. Chase Carpenter kicked the two extra points.
The Raiders, after punting on their first possession, would score on their next eight. Their first points came with 11:08 left in the second quarter. Haggard eased across from the 1-yard line. The extra-point try failed.
Lamar tried an onside kick, which was recovered by the Pats at their own 49, and the home team would answer with its last touchdown until the fourth quarter. Tomlinson scored on a 7-yard run. The point-after kick missed the mark. MA led 20-6 with 9:24 to go in the first half.
The Raiders scored one minute later, going 64 yards in four plays after Marshall’s unsuccessful onside kick. Haggard kept for the 4-yard touchdown. Tyler Roberts was successful on the extra point.
The visitors tried the onside kick again, and this time it worked. They regained possession at the MA 44 and scored in just three plays. Haggard threw to Michael Marcello for 40 yards and then the QB scored another rushing touchdown, this one from 4 yards away. Roberts’ kick tied the game.
“That (onside kick) hurt us,” Coach Wicker said. “John (Tomlinson) came up holding the ball. I thought we had it.”
The Pats, on their next possession, moved 45 yards to the Lamar 16 but couldn’t convert on a fourth and four play.
The Raiders answered with another quick scoring drive. Haggard found an open Jamie Thompson for a 36-yard scoring play. Roberts added the extra point, and Marshall trailed 27-20 at the half.
The Raiders opened the second half the same way they closed the first - scoring. They drove 64 yards in 12 plays, including two successful fourth down conversions, the last being a 4-yard pass from Haggard to Thompson for six more points. Roberts was on target with the kick. It was 33-20.
MA responded with a 19-play, 65-yard drive. Childers ran for three first downs and quarterback Hank Owens threw to Jake Delashmit for 11 yards and another. Josh Vanderburg earned another first and pushed the ball to the 8. But the drive bogged down there as the Pats failed to score in four tries.
Lamar went 92 yards in only five plays. Haggard hit Bo Bidgood for 47 yards and then threw to Marcello for a 17-yard touchdown. Roberts’ kick upped the visitors’ lead to 40-20 with 9:43 left in the game.
Marshall had to punt from its own end zone after its next possession, and the Raiders put the victory on ice a few plays later. Haggard and Bidgood connected for the 20-yard score. Roberts’ kick made the scoreboard read 47-20.
The Patriots kept fighting. With 4:52 left in the game, halfback Childers found an all-alone Chad Mitchell for a 52-yard pass and six points. Carpenter’s kick cut the deficit to 47-27.
MA’s onside kick failed, and Lamar added more points six plays later. Marcello scored on a 6-yard carry. Roberts’ final extra point of the night put the Raiders ahead 54-27.
Marshall tallied two more touchdowns in the closing minutes. Owens threw to Parker James for a 54-yard touchdown at the 2:05 mark. Then after recovering an onside kick, the Patriots went 47 yards in six plays with Owens getting the touchdown on a 1-yard plunge. Carpenter added both kicks for the 54-41 final.
Coach Wicker said his MA players can hold their heads high after a super season.
“Going into the season, I knew we had a good group of kids,” he said. “They came through and had an excellent year. I’m very proud of them and what they accomplished. It was a fun season.”
Marshall loses seven seniors - Childers, James, Will Patton, Trey Lindsey, Kelley Autry, Duncan Baker and Josh Thompson.
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