Thursday, November 11, 2010
Pats go out in round one
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall Academy shot itself in the foot early Friday night and never recovered.
The Patriots, already trailing 7-0, lost two fumbles inside its 25-yard line. Leake Academy cashed in both and went on to dominate and eliminate MA 30-0 in the first round of the Class AA state football playoffs.
“They just whipped us,” said Keith Wicker, head coach of the Patriots. “Friday night, they were better than us. They’re a very good football team. They’re definitely one of the top four teams in the north.”
The Pats, who finish 8-3, managed just 92 total yards (54 rushing) against a Leake defense that “played great,” Wicker said. Meanwhile, the Rebel offense generated 390 yards (327 rushing).
Marshall quarterback Hank Owens ran for 23 yards on the game’s first play. Then Chase Ferrell ran 11 yards for another first down to the Leake 41. But MA could get no farther than the 37.
“We had a good chance there to score first and it might have been different,” Wicker said. “You never know.”
Later in the quarter, the Rebels drove 54 yards in only four plays. Brad Hunter had a 35-yard run to the Patriot 1 and then Ethan Bobo scored the six points. Dylan Alford kicked the extra point with 2:44 to go in the first.
Marshall fumbled the ball back to Leake at its 24.
Rebel quarterback Grant Wilson dashed 20 yards run for the score at the 1:08 mark. Alford nailed the extra point.
MA coughed up the football again - this time on first down - and Leake recovered the Patriot 6.
The Marshall defense forced a third and goal from the 3, but Brad Hunter went into the end zone standing just eight seconds into the second quarter. The Pats blocked the point-after try. Leake led 20-0.
“We gave them two easy touchdowns, and we never got the momentum,” Coach Wicker said. “I felt we had a good week of practice, and I thought we could play with them, but I also knew we couldn’t give them easy touchdowns.”
The Patriots got a break later in the second period. Leake fumbled and Owens recovered at the Rebel 41.
MA got one first down, thanks to a Leake penalty, but could not convert a fourth and 8 from the 28.
The Rebels, on the legs of Wilson and Hunter, moved 67 yards to the Patriot 5. On third and 3, the Marshall defense hit Bobo for a 1-yard loss. Alford kicked a 23-yard field goal to up the home team’s lead to 23-0 with 1:32 left in the half.
Th Patriots got a 32-yard pass from Owens to Jake Delashmit but once again could not move for points.
In the second half, MA blocked Leake’s 31-yard field goal try at the 5:08 mark of the third quarter.
Then Hunter intercepted a Marshall pass, putting the Rebels in business at their own 47. On third and 10, Wilson threw deep to Wesley Webb for 53 yards. Tanner Winstead scored on a 5-yard run, and Alford kicked the extra point with 1:21 left in the third.
The fourth quarter was scoreless. Ferrell recovered a fumble at the Leake 19 but the Patriots’ best chance for points in the game came up short when Kevin Fitzpatrick was stopped inside the 1 on a fourth and goal from the 4.
“I told our kids at halftime that they’d better not lay down on me and they didn’t,” Coach Wicker said. “Our kids never quit.”
The Pats played without one of their senior leaders, John Tomlinson. He was not able to come back from a leg injury which he suffered on October 15 versus Indianola.
Leake (9-2), with a roster than includes 17 seniors, advances to face Winston Academy in round two. Winston beat Indianola 32-7 last Friday.
The Patriots lose nine seniors - Delashmit, Owens, Chad Mitchell, Chase Carpenter, Taylor Maurey, Tomlinson, Kasey Shaw, Drew Rappa and Joey Brock.
“Our kids, naturally, were disappointed after the game Friday night, but I told them we had a great year and they had no reason to hang their heads,” Wicker said. “We’re losing a good group of seniors. They will be missed.”
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