penalties, which seemed to come at the most adverse moments and took three touchdowns away.
By Dean Eversole
MARIA STEIN – Friday night the Marion Local Flyers downed Miami East 37-0 in the
opening round of the Division V, Region 20 playoffs, but the hosts
never really found a comfort zone the entire game.
The biggest culprit
in keeping the state's top-ranked team a bit off track was nine
penalties, which seemed to come at the most adverse moments and took
three touchdowns away.
“I thought we played hard tonight and fairly well,” noted Marion Local coach Tim Goodwin. “We just could never get any rhythm going tonight. Once we get a defense on their heels we like to get the plays out and just hit, but we were never able to do that tonight.”
Despite some struggles, there were parts that were working just fine for the Flyers.
Quarterback Chris Stucke was one of the parts. The veteran signal caller tossed three touchdowns on the night to three different receivers.
The other part was Ben Schaefer. The bruising tailback spent the night running downhill and over Miami East defenders. He also spent most of the second half watching and resting for week 12.
If the offense was uncomfortable, the defense was right at home. Goodwin’s crew stacked the line of scrimmage and dared East to throw the football. The end result was a shutout. In the first half the Vikings managed only one first down and that was on a penalty.
On Miami East’s first possession the Flyers forced them out on three and out, an omen of things to come.
“Marion was just as good as advertised,” commented Miami East coach Max Current. “We were not able to get anything going offensively against them.”
That was the first of five three and outs, but perhaps the biggest moment of the game was just a single play.
After forcing a Marion punt, the Vikings got pinned inside their own ten yard line. Unable to punch the ball out, Miami East punted and Marion set up shop at the Vikings 39-yard line.
That set up a 23-yard pass from Stucke to Marcus Moeller and the extra point made it 7-0. It was the next series where a minor deficit transformed into a major problem. Again starting deep in their territory East attempted a pass that Stucke jumped in front of, pulled from the night sky and sprinted 18-yards for six more Flyer points. The extra point made it 14-0. The Flyers and the game were spiraling away from the Vikings.
After the Stucke interception the Flyers started drawing a lot of yellow flags that kept them off balance and Miami East in the game. Marion had a long punt return called back and two more touchdowns cancelled because of penalties. Instead they got a field goal and finally six points as the half ticked away.
“Field position really put our defense in a predicament,” noted Current. “It really hurt us when they scored right before the half.”
The six points erased some of the Flyers frustration and put the run oriented Vikings in a big hole down 24-0.
“When you only complete 17 passes the entire year it is no secret what you have do (to stop them),” noted Goodwin about his defensive strategy coming into the game.
That approach did not change in the second half as the Flyers continued flooding the line of scrimmage with bodies. As they had in the first half Marion controlled the Vikings running game and thus controlled the entire game.
Marion took complete control of the game when Ben Smith darted across the goal line for six more points, the extra point made it 31-0 Marion. That was the last needed blow, but the Flyers added one more touchdown, making the final 37-0 and notching another playoff victory.