Thursday, September 29, 2011
Patriots improve to 6-0
By BARRY BURLESON
Most everyone left Patriot Field Friday night sleepy and a bit unsure about what they had just witnessed.
“It was a weird night,” said Barrett Donahoe, head coach at Marshall Academy. “The whole night, there was no flow.”
Marshall Academy survived the strange game, beating District 1-AA rival Indianola Academy 20-12.
It lasted more than three hours – ending about 10:35 p.m.
Indianola’s Trey Roberson was injured late in the first quarter and the game was delayed almost an hour while he received attention. He was transported to Baptist Memorial Hospital North Mississippi in Oxford by ambulance.
“Both teams were taken out of the game emotionally early with the injury,” Donahoe said.
It was learned later in the game and announced via the public address system that Roberson was OK and walking around at the hospital.
There were nearly 20 penalties in the contest, the bulk coming in the second half. One play late in the game featured five flags – all different infractions – with some offsetting the others.
“Too much bad stuff happened,” Donahoe said.
MA scored all its points in the first half and held on for the eight-point victory. The Pats go to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in district play.
“Neither team left the field Friday night feeling very successful, but it is what is is – a win for us,” Donahoe said. “We’re still undefeated, which is good, and we have a good shot at the playoffs. So ultimately, we’re happy.”
Marshall went up 6-0 in the first quarter thanks to a dazzling, 65-yard touchdown run by quarterback Kevin Fitzpatrick. The extra-point try was no good.
Roberson was injured on the ensuing kickoff.
When play resumed, the Colonels fumbled on first down, and MA’s Chase Ferrell recovered.
On the Pats’ first and 10 from the Indianola 22-yard line, Ferrell took the handoff and raced the distance for the score. The point-after try failed. It was 12-0 still in the first quarter.
Midway through the second period, an Indianola punt pinned Marshall at its own 10. The Patriots were then forced to punt from their own end zone. The snap and punt on a dew-covered field went astray, and the Colonels’ Michael Sykes fielded the ball and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown. The extra-point kick missed the mark.
“We were in bad territory with a wet football, and they got a special-teams touchdown,” Donahoe said. “It was another crazy thing that happened.”
The Patriot offense responded with a 67-yard, eight-play drive. Fitzpatrick threw to Aaron McAlexander for 13 yards to start the possession, and completed a 4-yard touchdown toss to him to end it. The two also connected for the two-point conversion.
MA was up 20-6 at the half.
The flags started flying more often in the third quarter. There were six in the first two possessions of the second half.
MA fumbled the ball away at the Indianola 16.
The Colonels, aided by a pair of flags on the Pats, marched the distance to slice the deficit to eight late in the third quarter. Quarterback Taylor Marlow scored from 3 yards out on a fourth-and-goal call. The point-after try failed.
MA’s fake-punt try was stopped short of a first with 8:22 to go in the fourth period. But the MA defense stepped up with the big play being Zack Pritchett’s 8-yard sack of Marlow to force the visitors to punt.
The Patriot offense then took over and ran 10 plays, amidst a sea of flags, to run out the clock for the win.
“Our defensive unit was solid the entire football game,” Donahoe said. “It was our worst offensive performance of the season, hands-down. Again, there was just a lack of flow.”
Indianola had just 155 yards total offense. Top tacklers were Tyler Cook with 12, Matt Rappa with 11, Ferrell with 8 and Josh Petree with six.
Marshall had 276 yards total offense, 237 of that rushing. Fitzpatrick carried 13 times for 114 yards.
A huge game awaits the Patriots Friday night when they go to Batesville to face North Delta. The Green Wave is 5-1 overall and 1-0 in the district. Their only loss was to Class AAA Washington School.
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