Patriots crush Vikings
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall Academy put it all together on homecoming night.
“Our offense and defense complemented one another and because of that we were highly successful,” said head coach Barrett Donahoe. “It was a great job – a great effort.”
The end result was a 38-6 win over previously unbeaten Fayette Academy (Tenn.)
“At this point, we just have to keep pushing forward – no steps back,” he said. “This week we have to focus on West Memphis (the next opponent) and get better.”
The game was tied at 6 midway through the second quarter Friday. That’s when Canaan Pearson, who had 178 yards rushing in the game on 14 carries, provided the spark. He took a handoff, broke a couple of tackles, found some open field and traveled 63 yards to the end zone. Justin McDoniel added the extra point for a 13-6 lead.
That stood until halftime, and then on the first play from scrimmage of the second half, Pearson got loose again. Behind the blocking of his teammates, he went up the middle, cut to the sideline and raced 66 yards for six more points. The extra-point try was no good.
It was 19-6 Marshall with 11:43 to go in the third, and the momentum kept building.
“Canaan made a couple of huge plays to really get us going,” Donahoe said.
But the MA defense got tough, too, after giving up chunks of rushing yards in the first half to Fayette’s option offense.
“Defensively, once we got a better understanding of what they were doing on offense, we were all over them,” Donahoe said. “It was a solid defensive effort.”
The Vikings put together a long drive to start the game but got no points. Everett Hickman had a big tackle for loss on a third and five play, and Fayette’s 39-yard field goal try fell just short of the goal-post.
However, the Vikings took a 6-0 lead early in the second quarter on Spencer Hayden’s 32-yard run. The extra-point attempt was blocked by C. Pearson.
The Pats bounced back to tie, driving 68 yards in nine plays. Eli Pearson picked up a first down on a 15-yard run to start the drive. He also threw to Ryan McAlexander for 14 yards and first. McAlexander then scored the touchdown on an 11-yard run with 8:31 to go in the second quarter. The point-after try failed.
After C. Pearson’s first touchdown run put the Patriots ahead, the MA defense came up with a couple of huge plays late in the first half.
Wesley Bolden hit the quarterback as he was making a throw, and the pass was picked off by Ryan Brock.
On Fayette’s next possession, Wil Summerlin sacked the quarterback for an 11-yard loss on a fourth-and-8 attempt.
In the second half, Marshall scored four times, the first on C. Pearson’s second touchdown carry of the evening.
On the Pats’ second possession of the third quarter, they successfully faked a punt to keep the momentum on their side. Boyce McKinney lofted a pass over the middle to Drayton Potts, who caught it for a 27-yard gain to the Fayette 26. Five plays later, E. Pearson scored on a 2-yard keeper. A try-for-two was not successful. It was 25-6.
After the defense forced another three and out, the Vikings could not get off the punt with Tanner Taylor and Ryan Brock making the tackle for loss.
A few plays later C. Pearson scored again, this time on a 1-yard plunge. The try-for-two failed.
The Patriots wrapped up the outburst with a touchdown early in the fourth period. McAlexander completed the successful homecoming with a 73-yard punt return for six points. McDoniel kicked the extra point for the 32-point final margin.
“See what we can do and what we can be if we are focused on the job ahead of us,” Donahoe told his team huddled around him at midfield after the game.
MA had 371 yards total offense – 264 rushing, the bulk of that coming from C. Pearson, and 107 passing.
E. Pearson was 10 of 17 through the air for 80 yards. Five different Patriots caught passes.
Leading the defense was Summerlin with nine tackles, one for a 5-yard loss, and two sacks for losses. Everett Jones and Brock had six tackles each.
The Patriots (4-2) travel to Arkansas this Friday to face District 1-AA foe West Memphis. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. The Black Knights are 1-5 on the season, losing 21-7 to district opponent Lee Academy (Ark.) last week.