Photo by Theresa Bolden Devore
Marshall’s Rod Moore (4) avoids a couple of Kirk Academy players during a home victory last Friday night.
Photo by Theresa Bolden Devore
Phillip Parks (5) gets loose for a big gain. Parks had 233 yards rushing in the win over Kirk.

Patriots defeat 3A Kirk

Coach Barrett Donahoe saw crispness at times and some sloppiness, too.

But thankfully, he said, he watched a win.

His Marshall Academy football team knocked off Kirk Academy 34-14 Friday night at home. The Class AA Patriots’ win over a Class AAA foe is the final tune-up before district play starts Friday night at Central Holmes.

“The good is looking really good,” Donahoe told the players after the game, “but the bad is still hanging around. We have to find ways to cut that bad stuff loose. We have to eliminate the turnovers.”

He said the real season begins this week.

“Our conference is pretty salty and that starts with a very good Central Holmes team,” Donahoe said. “We have to get better in all phases of the game.”

The MA offense was led last week by Phillip Parks, who carried 20 times for 233 yards, and Wyle McMillen, who made his first varsity start at quarterback and was six of eight passing for 97 yards.

McMillen connected with Everette Jones for a 24-yard gain on the Patriots’ opening possession of the game. Three plays later Anthony Mayfield scored on a 12-yard run. Jason McDoniel’s kick made it 7-0 with 9:57 to go in the first quarter.

The Marshall defense later halted the Raiders on a fourth-and-five attempt.

The Patriots then drove 85 yards in eight plays for more points. Parks broke free for a 35-yard gain and Mayfield ran for 18. The big play came on fourth and eight. McMillen threw to Parks over the middle for 13 yards and a first and goal at the 7. Sam Greer scored from there on an end-around play. With McDoniel’s kick, it was 14-0.

Midway through the second quarter, it looked as if MA would take full control. But a long drive ended at the Kirk 12-yard line due to a fumble.

The turnover bug then bit both teams. Kirk fumbled with Marshall’s Zach Sorrell recovering. Then on the very next play the Patriots fumbled it right back to the Raiders.

Kirk cashed in the turnover this time. Quarter­back Alex McDurmon followed up a 21-yard run with a 6-yard carry and then a 1-yard keeper into the end zone. The point-after try was no good.

But just when it looked like the Raiders had gained the momentum prior to halftime, Parks found running room and darted 54 yards for six points with 17 seconds left. McDoniel added the kick for a 21-6 Patriot lead at intermission.

Kirk’s Evan Blancett returned the second-half kickoff 53 yards to the MA 17.

Quintin Ballard carried four straight times, the last one for 2 yards and a touchdown. McDurmon cashed in the conversion. The visitors’ last score cut it to 21-14.

MA went up by 14 late in the third. McMillen threw short to Jones, who cut across the middle for a 23-yard score, and McDoniel split the uprights with the kick. It capped an 86-yard, seven-play drive with Parks having big runs of 17, 14 and 27 yards.

Will Hanggi’s interception with 9:11 to go in the game put the home team in good field position at the Kirk 35.

The Patriots (3-1) converted on a fourth-and-three when McMillen scrambled and found Greer for a 20-yard gain to the 8. Parks scored on a 4-yard carry to wrap up MA’s scoring. The point-after try was no good.

“I could see a difference tonight – offensively and defensively,” Donahoe said. “We are so much better than we were four weeks ago. We were more physical, and we are starting to find our identity.”

Devarius Harris led the MA defense with eight and a half tackles. Hanggi followed with six.

Holly Springs South Reporter

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