Friday’s marquee Midwest Athletic Conference match up between
defending state champions Marion Local (Division V) and host Coldwater
(D-IV) lived up to expectations. Thanks to a bevy of big plays, the standing room only crowd that
emptied $8,239 into the 50/50 raffle was treated to a game worthy of
the hype as Coldwater turned a close game into a rout in the second
half en route to a 33-14 win.
COLDWATER – Friday’s marquee Midwest Athletic Conference match up between defending state champions Marion Local (Division V) and host Coldwater (D-IV) lived up to expectations. Then the second quarter started.
Thanks to a bevy of big plays, the standing room only crowd that emptied $8,239 into the 50/50 raffle was treated to a game worthy of the hype as Coldwater turned a close game into a rout in the second half en route to a 33-14 win.
The Cavaliers survived five interceptions by quarterback Corey Klenke to beat the Flyers by 19 points. That’s how crazy – and entertaining – it was.
Coldwater, ranked No. 1 in the ONN/Ohio High D-IV Power Poll improved to 4-0, while Marion, ranked No. 5 in the D-V poll, dropped to 3-1.
“There were several big plays that you think about and wonder what would have happened if they would have gone different,” Marion Local head coach Tim Goodwin said. “But the bottom line is we couldn’t move the ball. Our defense hung in there just like I thought they would. The key was what could our offense do.”
For Flyer faithful – who saw a 30-game win streak snapped – the painful answer was “not much.”
After taking the opening kickoff and driving to the Coldwater 5-yardline before turning it over on downs, Marion generated little offense. The output was a far cry from last year’s 35-14 Marion victory on the same field that ended Coldwater’s 33-game win streak.
The Flyers ended the game with 144 total yards.
The second half was exceptionally painful.
Trailing just 17-14 at halftime, Marion never seriously threatened in the final 24 minutes. The Flyers four second half possessions generated 51 yards on 20 plays (including 48 on one run from quarterback Troy Prenger) and ended in an interception, punt, safety and fumble.
“The defense was just unbelievable,” Coldwater head coach John Reed said. “They didn’t give up any points.”
The same can’t be said for Klenke.
Coming off an injury that kept him out of last week’s game against Versailles, Klenke looked rusty early. He threw back-to-back interceptions on the Cavs first two possessions that were returned 42 and 33 yards, respectively, by Prenger and Marcus Moeller for touchdowns. Less than seven minutes in it was 14-0 Marion. The Flyers added another first quarter interception of Klenke inside their own 5-yardline.
“I told coach this week that the only way I saw them scoring on our defense was if there was a blown assignment or they get lucky on a trick play or I throw a pick and its returned to the house,” Klenke said. “The defense did their part. I just didn’t do mine.
“(Five interceptions) has never happened to me before. I’ve thrown three in a game and I thought that was bad. I knew I’d eventually make some plays if I kept getting after it.”
Klenke’s 40-yard touchdown pass to Zach Siefring with 2:02 left in the second quarter gave Coldwater the lead for good at 17-14. In the third quarter Klenke caught a 29-yard touchdown pass on a trick play from back-up quarterback Keith Wenning. The score came on fourth and nine. Wenning also completed a 23-yard pass on a fake punt to set up Coldwater’s final score.
Klenke capped the night 10-of-23 for 77 yards and finished off the scoring with a 10-yard touchdown to Zach Kaup with 7:18 to play.
“Lets blame Coach Reed for (those five picks),” Reed said. “Coach Reed made some bad calls tonight. Corey’s a tough kid but he was a little down on himself and we kept reminding him that ‘Hey, this is how life is sometimes. Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you.’ You got to keep playing though. I mean he’s the guy.”
Said teammate Tony Harlamert: “I told Corey that if we were going to come back and win it was on his shoulders. We needed him to make plays, learn from his mistakes and push on because he’s the guy who leads us.”
Harlamert, who had a team-high 73 yards on 13 carries, did his share too.
After Marion took its 14-0 lead, Harlamert returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. On Marion’s next possession, he recorded the first of two interceptions, this one leading to a Mario de la Rosa field goal. Harlamert had 191 all-purpose yards, but his kickoff return was the key.
“When you get down 14-0 early you think well maybe this isn’t the night,” Reed said. “The kickoff return was a tremendous, tremendous turning point for us.”
“That’s one of those plays,” Goodwin conceited. “You wonder what would have happened if we cover that kick.”