Thursday, October 14, 2010
Patriots pull away from Kirk
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall Academy’s homecoming game turned into a rout but not until late in the third quarter.
In just over three minutes, the Patriots stopped Kirk inside the 15, converted a third and 12 deep in their own territory and scored two touchdowns.
The Patriots blistered the Raiders 48-14. They improved to 5-2 overall and kept their playoff hopes alive by going to 1-1 in the district.
MA led 20-7 at the half.
Then a gritty Kirk squad came out of the locker room looking to spoil the homecoming festivities.
The visitors put together a 12-play drive that ate up clock and yardage. But when they faced a second and five at the Patriot 10, Zack Pritchett and Jake Delashmit threw Raider quarterback Cade Moody for losses on back-to-back plays. That forced a field goal try, which was no good, at the 4:55 mark of the third.
The Pats took over at their own 20 and went backwards. They faced a third and 12 from the 18. Quarterback Hank Owens scrambled under pressure and threw to an open John Tomlinson a few yards away. After the catch, Tomlinson made a cut, found running room and raced for 53 yards to the Kirk 29.
“That was supposed to be a screen back to the other side, but I told Hank (Owens) not to throw it to one of their players,” coach Keith Wicker said. “He did a good job of finding John (Tomlinson) and John did the rest. That was the turning point – no doubt.”
Two plays later Tomlinson scored on a 20-yard carry with 3:31 left in the third period.
The Marshall defense then forced a three and out.
On the Patriots’ first play of the next possession, from the Kirk 47, Tomlinson broke three tackles and found the end zone once again with 1:20 to go in the third.
MA’s lead was suddenly 34-7.
“Sometimes homecoming can be a distraction for the players, but I thought this bunch played well,” Coach Wicker said.
Aaron McAlexander put the Pats’ in business with an interception early in the first quarter.
On its first offensive series, MA had a touchdown called back on a penalty before Kevin Fitzpatrick scored on a 10-yard run.
Chase Carpenter added the first of his five extra points for a 7-0 lead.
On the Pats’ second possession, an Owens to Tomlinson connection gained 39 yards to the Kirk 15. Marshall reached the 7 and faced fourth and 2. Carpenter drilled a 25-yard field goal to up the lead to 10-0.
An interception by Taylor Maurey started MA’s next scoring drive.
The Patriots marched 50 yards to the Kirk 12. But they were penalized twice for chop blocks and had to settle for another Carpenter field goal, this one from 32 yards away.
Marshall, plagued by penalties all season, was flagged 10 times in the game for 100 yards.
“We have to quit making the stupid penalties,” Coach Wicker said.
Midway through the second quarter the Pats put together a nine-play, 57-yard scoring drive that this time ended in six points. Owens threw to Tomlinson for 22 yards. Later Chase Ferrell had a 10-yard run for a first down. Owens scored the touchdown on a 5-yard keeper. It was 20-0.
Kirk grabbed a bit of momentum before halftime when it struck for a score on a 44-yard pass from Moody to Taylor Sultan.
But when the Raiders tried to keep that momentum to open the second half, Coach Wicker said his team “stepped it up.”
Trailing 34-7 after MA’s third-quarter outburst, Kirk tried a reverse on third and five. Chase Smith hit the ball-carrier for a 5-yard loss, which forced a fourth and 10 pass try that fell incomplete.
The Patriots then secured the win when Fitzpatrick cruised to the end zone from 39 yards out.
With new players in on offense, MA added a touchdown with 2:26 to go in the game. Smith darted 40 yards for the points.
After MA led 48-7, Kirk scored a touchdown with 1:46 to go in the game on Wade Vance’s 32-yard run.
For the game, Marshall rushed 33 times for 309 yards, led by Tomlinson’s 72 yards. Owens was 11 of 15 passing for 190 yards. Tomlinson had 120 yards receiving.
Maurey was the top tackler with six.
Kirk rushed for 164 yards and passed for 133.
“My mind is on Indianola,” Coach Wicker said Sunday afternoon following the win over Kirk. “It’s a very big game. If we win out, we will be number two in the district and guarantee ourselves a playoff spot.”
The Patriots host the Colonels (6-2 overall and 2-1 in the district) this Friday night at 7:30.
“I think the keys to the game will be cutting out penalties and our ability to run the football,” he said. “Indianola has a lot of good athletes. It’s going to be exciting – at least I hope it is for us.”
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