County football teams ace road tests
Marion, Hillsboro, Peabody, and Goessel win away games; Centre has week off
Marion county football aced late-season road tests with four teams grabbing double-digit victories on their opponent’s turf this weekend.
Marion High pulled together Friday as they grieved the news that Jenny Craft, wife of head coach Shaun, had died of COVID-19.
The Warriors rallied to beat Sterling 34-14.
Hillsboro beat Lyons 54-7 and Goessel trounced Pretty Prairie 68-22 in games that ended early on the 45-point mercy rule.
Peabody Burns defeated South Haven 64-34.
After a break, Centre will play Hartford Friday on the road.
The Warriors surprised assistant coach Jordan Metro with the grit and heart they poured into a 34-14 win they dedicated to head coach Shaun Craft after the loss of his wife, Jenny, who died of COVID-19.
“Jenny was such a special person and member of this team,” Metro said. “She was involved with all aspects of Marion football, keeping stats, cooking meals and watching practices. She is going to be greatly missed by everyone.”
Metro wondered if the Warriors would be in the right frame of mind to play and was inspired by their fight.
“They rallied around her and Coach Craft and played the game for them,” he said. “I’ve been so impressed with how they’ve handled this as high-school-aged kids.”
The Warriors came out swinging in the first half.
Marion defense held the Black Bears to less than 150 yards rushing and pressured them into three turnovers.
Jonathan Frese and Jack Lanning both ran in touchdowns.
“We pretty much controlled the game from the start,” Metro said. “We didn’t let them get going.”
The Warriors struggled with penalties and focus in the second half, he said.
“With a young team, we just have to learn how to play with a big lead and put the game away — which will come with this group as they get older,” he said.
Warrior underclassmen did well under pressure against Sterling.
Frese had his best-ever performance on offense Friday, rushing more than 100 yards.
“He hit the hole hard and used his speed,” Metro said. “We’ve been waiting for him to have a game like this.”
Metro said Frese was “a great complement” to running backs Trevor Schafers and Jack Lanning.
Chance Shultz was a standout for Marion offense as a wide receiver, Metro said.
Metro is proud of the Warriors and grateful to fellow coaches who reached out to pray with the team.
“It’s a testament to how much coach Craft is respected among his coaching peers,” Metro said.
Marion will face Lyons at home Friday.
Hillsboro coach Demetrius Cox is worried his team’s success might stunt their stamina.
Hillsboro’s 54-7 rout of Lyons Friday was its third blowout cut short by the 45 point mercy rule after defeating Haven, 62-0, and Marion 56-8.
“The last couple of weeks have been very productive,” Cox said. “Now I am worried about what we will do if we have to play a four-quarter football game.”
Cox expects Hillsboro to go the distance against Trinity Catholic High School during its last home game of the season Friday in preparation for the postseason.
Trojans offense got off to a fast start last Friday, scoring a touchdown on its first drive on a 63-yard pass hurled by Matthew Potucek.
The Hillsboro quarterback followed up with a 21-yard touchdown run on a punt return.
Jamari Harris ran in a touchdown on 33 yards early in the second quarter bringing the score 29-0. Harris and Potucek led the Trojans offense rushing 89 and 62 yards respectively.
Duncan Duell had one of his better games this season on offense, Cox said.
“He caught the ball well, blocked well, and scored two touchdowns,” Cox said.
Hillsboro’s Tristan Rathbone and Garrett Helmer, and Jacob Thiessen were standouts on defense, with Rathbone making 13 tackles.
Rathbone and Thiessen are two of the best linebackers playing right now in the league, Cox said.
Cox has high hopes for Hillsboro’s postseason.
“Right now I think they can go very deep into playoffs,” he said.
Peabody-Burns triumphed over South Haven 64-34 despite a lack of players.
“I am very proud of the effort the guys gave,” coach Kody Tegtmeier said. “We only had 11 suited up, so there wasn’t much time for breaks. We played hard all night long.”
Philip Young and Noal Reynolds led the Warriors offense rushing more than 100 yards.
Young hurled two touchdown passes a total of 64 yards for Peabody-Burns. Thomas Smith ran in five touchdowns for the Warriors.
The team’s defensive line, struggled to block the Cardinals resourceful scoring drives.
“We had to find a way to stop their offense,” Tegtmeier said. “One of their running backs was moved to quarterback for the night (due to injury) and he is a very good football player, very tough to stop. They scored the first three times they had the ball.”
Tegtmeier made adjustments to the Warrior’s defensive line “which made a big difference.”
“We started making plays on that side of the ball,” he said.
Peabody-Burns will play Norwich Friday at home.
Goessel traveled to Pretty Prairie Friday and soared over the Bulldogs with a 68-22 win.
The Bluebirds are the top 8-man team in the Heart of the Plains district after the 46-point victory.
Grant Bryant ran in Goessel’s first touchdown on 15 yards with Jake Wiens carrying in the two extra points.
Pretty Prairie’s Gage Bowers answered by hurling 48 and 65-yard scoring passes.
Bluebirds Bryant and Weins rallied with touchdowns on 41 and 38 yards late in the first quarter, giving Goessel a 24-14 lead.
Kacen Smith ran in a 61-yard punt return for a touchdown early in the third quarter widening Goessel’s lead by six points. Wiens made three touchdown runs of 45- 23-, and 17-yards to seal Goessel’s 68-22 win.
Goessel will play Medicine Lodge Friday at home.
Delbert Peters and Rowena Plett contributed to this report
Last modified Oct. 20, 2021