Thursday, August 25, 2011
Patriots roll past Chiefs
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall Academy wins over Magnolia Heights on the football field are rare. They’re even more difficult on the Senatobia campus.
The Patriots won a road game over the Chiefs for the first time in 21 years Friday night. The final was 36-13.
“That was the most exhausting three-touchdown win I’ve ever been involved in,” first-year MA head coach Barrett Donahoe told his players after the game. “It was fun. Enjoy it.”
Marshall has beaten Magnolia Heights just three other times since 1990 – all coming at home in 1991, 1997 and 2007.
“Magnolia Heights is one of the most respected football programs in our association,” Donahoe said. “We had athletes making plays and making things happen.”
The Class AA Pats moved the ball pretty much at will versus the Class AAA Chiefs on a hot Friday evening. They amassed 469 yards total offense – 273 rushing and 196 passing.
But at the same time, MA had 10 plays for minus 45 yards and 10 penalties for 50 yards. Six of the flags were for either offsides or illegal motion.
“We made a lot of mistakes,” he said. “We have to get better each week – that’s our goal. The kids know we have to do a better job of executing.”
MA cashed in the game’s opening possession when Kevin Fitzpatrick threw to Elgin Lafever for a 16-yard score. Fitzpatrick also tallied the two-point conversions. Big plays in the long drive, that started with a 12-yard loss, were a 32-yard pass to Chase Ferrell and a 31-yard toss to Aaron McAlexander.
The Chiefs answered. Their workhorse, Jamell Newson, scored on an 8-yard run with 2:18 to go in the first quarter. The extra-point try was blocked.
Marshall increased its lead to 22-6 at the half.
The Pats went 70 yards in just seven plays on their second possession. Fitzpatrick had 13- and 22-yard passes to McAlexander and a 22-yard completion to Lafever. Ferrell scored on a 1-yard plunge. Andy Burleson kicked the extra point. It was 15-6.
The Chiefs fumbled the ball away at the MA 33, and the Patriots again marched to the end zone. Ferrell, who rushed for 122 yards on the night, broke loose for a huge 47-yard run. Then four plays later Ferrell took a handoff and galloped 26 yards for a score. Burleson’s kick put the Pats up by 16.
The teams swapped fumbles in the final minutes of the first half. The Pats reached the Magnolia Heights 17-yard line but ran out of time.
Another Magnolia Heights fumble, this one near midfield, led to more MA points in the third quarter. Fitzpatrick and Ferrell had first-down runs before Ferrell got the six points on a 1-yard carry, his third score of the game. Burleson booted the extra point.
Later in the quarter, with 53 seconds left, Magnolia Heights’ Newson caught a line-drive punt at the 10 and returned it 90 yards for a touchdown. A successful point-after kick cut the deficit to 29-13.
In the fourth, with the Chiefs driving near midfield, Ferrell leaped high to pick off a pass.
The Patriots then secured the victory with a 57-yard, three-play scoring drive. Fifty-two of those yards came on Fitzpatrick’s dash to the end zone. Burleson’s fourth extra-point kick put the 36-13 final on the board with 7:22 left.
Fitzpatrick was nine of 16 passing for 196 yards and he ran for 89 yards on five carries. Lafever had three catches for 86 yards and McAlexander four for 68.
The MA defense limited the Chiefs to 159 yards total offense. Matt Rappa led the “D” with 10 tackles and a fumble recovery. Evan Hickman had nine tackles. Ferrell had eight tackles, plus he caused two fumbles and had an interception. Tyler Cook and Neil Murphy had seven and five tackles, respectively. Also getting fumble recoveries were Kirby Jones, Lafever and Fitzpatrick.
“Defensively, we got a whole lot better after Magnolia Heights’ first two possessions,” Coach Donahoe said.
MA hosts Tunica Academy this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Patriot Field. The Blue Devils beat Greenville Christian 55-25 last week.
“It will be a tough game,” he said. “We have a lot to prepare for.”
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