Winning seasons guaranteed
Marion County football teams are enjoying winning seasons.
All three teams that played won their final home games Friday with Marion beating Lyons 36-13, Goessel besting Medicine Lodge 38-22, and Hillsboro routing Trinity Catholic 48-8.
The Warriors’ victory over the Lions gave the team its first winning season in four years with a record of 5-3.
Goessel, Peabody-Burns, and Hillsboro also had winning seasons with the Bluebirds ending the year 6-2, Peabody 4-3, and Hillsboro 7-1.
Peabody-Burns and Centre did not play Friday because of COVID-19 concerns and lack of players.
Marion eked out a 36-13 win over Lyons Friday, but a surprise appearance by coach Shaun Craft had the team screaming with joy as fans teared up in the bleachers.
The Warriors swarmed the sidelines to envelop Craft, who lost his wife, Jenny, to COVID, in a bear hug.
The win over Lyons gives Marion its first winning season in four years.
Assistant coach Jordan Metro, who has been filling in for Craft, is happy the Warriors seniors end their career on a high note after years of struggle.
Team captain Miles Olson is the lone senior who stuck with Warrior football all four years of high school.
“He’s worked extremely hard,” Metro said. “He was a unanimous vote for team captain, which is extremely hard to have every single kid, and coach, vote for you as a captain.”
Ayden Brammer moved to Marion last year and also has been an asset to the team.
“He’s a kid who really demands an offensive line’s attention every single game,” Metro said.
Trevor Schaffer led the Warriors in rushing against Lyons Friday with 182 yards and three touchdowns.
Jack Lanning also was a top performer for Marion, hurling 112 passing yards and rushing 110.
Chance Shults led the Warrior defensive line.
“He made some great plays defending the pass for us,” Metro said.
Marion struggled with bad snaps and fumbles early in the game.
“We kept digging ourselves into a hole with mistakes in that first half,” Metro said. “We would drive down the field and get within 30 yards of scoring, but would draw a flag, or fumble, or have a bad snap that would drop us back.”
The Warriors kept their composure and recovered after half time, but the team will need to demonstrate more consistency to advance in postseason, he said.
“We just have to be able to play more than one good half per game,” Metro said. “I would love to see what happens when we put together a full game with this group.”
Marion will play Chaparral at Thursday on the road.
Hillsboro head coach Demetrius Cox predicted the Trojans would “go the distance” in a four quarters against Trinity Catholic Friday, but the team grabbed a district championship with a 48-8 rout.
The win over the Celtics was Hillsboro’s fourth running blowout by more than 45 points ended early on the mercy rule.
Cox worries the Trojans’ hot streak may turn into a run of bad luck in the postseason.
“Our biggest challenge is that we did not get to play a full game these last couple of weeks,” Cox said.
Matthew Potucek, Jamari Harris, Duncan Duell, and Frank Wichert were top performers on offense against Trinity.
Potucek hurled 158 passing yards and rushed 106. The Trojan quarterback completed two touchdown passes of 19 and 52 yards and scored on 52 yard run.
Harris rushed more than 100 yards and scored twice for Hillsboro.
Duell and Wichert led Hillsboro in receiving yards with Duell making three catches on 74 yards and Wichert grabbing a 19 yard pass from Potucek for a touchdown.
Tristan Rathbone and Nick Smith were offensive powerhouses for Hillsboro.
Rathbone make 15 tackles against Trinity for more than 100 this season.
Nick Smith ran in a touchdown on 70 yards after grabbing an interception, for the star play of the game.
Hillsboro is “playing good football right now” but there always is room for improvement, Cox said.
“We are just continuing to get 1% better at everything we are doing,” Cox said. “No matter if it is life, school, or football, we just want to keep playing as long as we can.”
Hillsboro will play Douglass High at home Friday.
The Bluebirds came from behind against Medicine Lodge Friday but prevailed 38-22.
Jake Wiens ran in the first touchdown for Goessel from four yards and Grant Bryant carried the extra point to tie the game at 8-8.
Medicine Lodge scored twice in the second quarter, bringing the score 22-16.
Goessel’s Kacen Smith, Chance Winter, and Wiens all put touchdowns on the board to keep the Bluebirds in the lead.
Smith scored on 49 yards for Goessel, Winter on 6 yards and Wiens scored on a one-yard run.
With less than a minute to play in the second quarter, Bluebird Caleb Burkholder intercepted a pass intended for Indian Chance Winter.
Superb blocking by Kyle Valdois, Logan Sterk, Skyler Wuest, and Burkholder, allowed Wiens, Smith, and Bryant to gain significant yards on the ground.
Bryant plowed into the end zone with seven seconds to play in the half, giving the Bluebirds a 32-22 lead at the break.
Kacen Smith opened the third quarter with a 35-yard sprint through the left side of the line, Goessel led 38-22.
Again the defense came up big, stopping Medicine Lodge on the two yard line.
The Bluebirds looked to take a commanding lead early in the fourth quarter, but a fumble into the end zone was recovered by the Indians.
Goessel’s defense prevented any scoring in the fourth quarter.
The Bluebirds accumulated 318 yards rushing. Leading the defense in tackles were Burkholder, Caiden Duerksen, and Dylan Riley.
The Bluebirds will face Pratt Skyline at home on Thursday in the first round of playoffs.
Delbert Peters contributed to this report