Photo by Theresa Bolden Devore
A Winona player grabs MA’s Drayton Potts (32) around the ankle.
Photos by Theresa Bolden Devore
Ben Shaw (7) gets blocking from teammates Jordan Bowen (71), Leonard Fields (66) and Zach Sorrell (52) as he goes for a good gain.
Everette Jones (22) and Reagan White (10) tackle a ball-carrier.
Patriots earn big road win
Marshall Academy came up with the big plays at the right time Friday night.
None were bigger than a touchdown to end the first half that tied the District 1-AA match-up at 14.
“That score before half changed the whole game,” said Barrett Donahoe, head coach of the Patriots.
The Patriots carried the momentum into the second half and escaped with a 21-14 win at Winona Christian School. It was their fifth straight victory.
“We did a lot of good things together to win a game like this, and that’s impressive,” he told his team at midfield after the final buzzer. “Everybody played a role. Winning a big game like this, on the road, is not easy. I’m proud of the effort and determination. It was a great win.”
Ben Shaw got the call at quarterback for the Patriots as starter Eli Pearson was sidelined with an injury. Shaw carried 23 times for 194 yards.
“It doesn’t get any better than that – for him to step in like that and do the job he did,” Donahoe said.
Reagan White’s interception and 10-yard return to the Winona 40 set up the Patriots’ first touchdown.
Shaw kept for 15 yards on first down and ran for 19 more on the third play of the drive. Javion Smith got the points on a 5-yard burst up the middle. The extra-point try was blocked with 4:05 left in the first quarter.
About two minutes into the second quarter, the Stars cashed in an MA turnover. They went 23 yards in just three plays, the touchdown coming on a 14-yard run. The point-after was blocked by the Pats. It was 6-6 with 9:34 left in the first half.
Winona then stunned Marshall with an onside kick, which the home team recovered at the MA 45.
The Stars drove inside the 10 and had four chances to score but the Patriot defense stood strong. There was no gain on third and goal from the 3 and then on fourth down the quarterback was tackled for a 10-yard loss.
Winona did cash in its next possession to take the lead. The Stars went 58 yards in only five plays, all on the ground. The six points came on a 2-yard run, and the Stars also tacked on the two-point conversion to go up 14-6 with just 30 seconds left in the first half.
That’s when the MA offense quickly went to work, starting at its own 45. Shaw had runs of 12 and 24 yards, moving the ball to the Winona 19. Next, on a pass into the end zone, the Stars were flagged for interference. On the final play of the first half, Drayton Potts caught a 9-yard pass from Shaw for the score. Shaw carried for the two-point conversion to knot the score at 14.
“That was huge,” Donahoe said about the drive to finish the first half.
The Stars marched to the Patriot 25 to start the third quarter but couldn’t convert a fourth and 12. Everette Jones had the receiver blanketed on the pass try.
The Marshall offense responded by traveling 75 yards in 10 plays for what would prove to be the winning points. Shaw threw to Jones for 13 yards and a first. Then he kept the ball for 31 yards to the Winona 29. The quarterback picked up two more first downs on the ground before handing off to Potts, who scored from 3 yards out. Justin McDoniel kicked the extra point. It was 21-14 with 5:17 to go in the third.
The MA defense continued to bend but not break. Winona used nine plays to reach the Marshall 20. Then came two straight losses, with Will Hanggi, Tanner Taylor, Davarius Harris and Jordan Bowen combining to make stops.
The Stars had a couple of more chances to score.
On a fourth and eight from the MA 34 with 5:15 to go in the game, Cade Crouch knocked the ball away from a Winona player trying to make the catch.
With 2:15 left, Hanggi had a sack and a minute later Tyler Bolden sealed the win with an interception.
“Defensively, we didn’t play great overall, but we made the big plays at the right times,” Donahoe said.
The Patriots (5-2 overall and 2-0 in the district) will play their homecoming game this Friday as Class AAAA Magnolia Heights comes to town. The Chiefs are 2-4 after a 31-18 loss last week to Heritage.
“We have to work hard every minute we are on the practice field and continue to get better,” Donahoe said.