Thursday, September 16, 2010
Patriots drop Devils
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall could not put Tunica away Friday night, but most importantly, the Patriots won.
They survived four turnovers, exhaustion and a never-say-die bunch of Blue Devils for the 30-21 victory. MA is 3-1 on the season.
The Pats fumbled early in the game, on their first offensive series, and Tunica’s Stephen Gray returned it for a touchdown.
“We started the game with a turnover, and they had seven points,” Wicker said. “That’s hard to overcome, but we did.”
The Patriots rallied with 13 first-quarter points of their own and carried that 13-7 lead to the locker room at halftime.
Kevin Fitzpatrick scored on a 9-yard run. Chase Carpenter kicked the extra point.
Later in the first, Hank Owens threw to Taylor Maurey for a 3-yard touchdown. The point-after try was blocked.
MA opened the second half with a drive to the Tunica 25 but it ended when the Devils’ Caleb McCoy intercepted a pass.
Later in the quarter, the Pats faced a fourth and 12 at the Tunica 38. Coach Wicker went to his bag of tricks, calling for a fake punt. Fitzpatrick found running room and reached the 9 for a first and goal. John Tomlinson carried the ball into the end zone from there, and Carpenter’s kick upped the margin to 20-7.
The Patriot defense stopped Tunica on a fourth and 2.
But then the MA offense coughed up the football again.
“We’re just dropping the football too much, and we have to correct those mistakes,” Wicker said.
Tunica had a touchdown pass called back on its next possession, then moved to the Marshall 43 and faced a fourth and 6. That’s when Chase Ferrell sacked quarterback Brandon Holmes for an 11-yard loss.
The Patriots got a first down on a Jake Delashmit’s 14-yard catch from Owens. They moved as far as the Tunica 10 but lost 8 yards on a sack. Carpenter kicked a 35-yard field goal to increase the lead to 23-7 with 7:36 left in the game.
The Devils answered quickly. Four plays later Holmes hooked up with Austin Hagstrom for a 27-yard pass play and six points. A try-for-two failed.
MA had an answer, too. After Chad Mitchell recovered Tunica’s onside kick at midfield, Ferrell had a big run for 26 yards. Tomlinson ended the drive with an 18-yard touchdown carry. Carpenter’s kick made it 30-13 with 5:18 left.
But Tunica didn’t quit. Less than 20 seconds later, Holmes found an open Freeman Gray over the middle, who finished off the 85-yard touchdown. Holmes threw to Gray again for the two-point conversion.
“We ran out gas,” Coach Wicker said. “In the fourth quarter, they took it to us. We had the lead, and we knew they were going to throw it. We were tired and not playing very smart either.”
The Devils, with less than a minute left, reached the Patriots’ 7. But Owens picked off a pass to secure the nine-point win.
“Tunica is a good football team,” Wicker said. “I’m glad we won, but we have to eliminate the mistakes and get in better shape.”
Tomlinson was MA’s top rusher with 87 yards. Mitchell was the leading tackler with six.
The Pats visit Lee (Clarksdale) Friday before beginning district play the following week (September 24) versus North Delta. The Lee Colts are 1-3 with a win over Kirk and losses to Indianola, North Delta and Pillow.
“Lee is a bigger school, and we need to play well and get the win,” Wicker said. “It will give us a boost as far as power points (which can perhaps figure into the playoff equation).”
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