Marion Drops Playoff Game at Snowy Hillman

November 12, 2019

Gavin Romantz takes down the Hillman ball carrier. Photo by Jonny Zawacki.
Marion’s Brandon Stewart looks for room to run during Friday’s snowy playoff loss in Hillman. Photo by Jonny Zawacki.

by Ben Murphy
Sports Writer

Marion’s upset bid in the opening round of the division two 8-man football playoffs came up short on Friday night. The Eagles, playing on Hillman’s snow-filled field gave up two scores in each half, leading to a 28-6 season-ending loss.

“We made a lot of mistakes and they are a good solid team with a lot of speed and even with the weather they were able to utilize their speed against us,” head coach Chad Grundy said. “I thought we played really hard there were just times that we had mental lapses and it cost us against a good team like that.”

Curiously, Hillman elected to not clear its field from the prior night’s snow storm, leaving around six inches of snow on the ground. Hillman did plow off the yardage lines.

“I don’t know if they’ve played in snow before or what, but we just didn’t seem to have the same footing we did,” Grundy said. “Everyone was cold and miserable but they seemed to be able to cut a little better and that kind of hurt us. We just weren’t able to get any edge plays going.”

The Tigers were able to build a two-score lead after the first quarter to take control early on. Hillman was able to score on a pair of fourth down plays, first getting a 55-yard touchdown throw and next getting a 53-yard touchdown run.

Marion was down 14-0 at the half, but still felt like it was in the game. The Eagles however fumbled the ball back over to Hillman on their first possession of the third quarter. The Tigers used yet another fourth down conversion, this time getting a 25-yard touchdown pass to make it 20-0.

“Down 14-0 at the half and we had been able to move the ball a few times, so we felt if we would go out there and score right away, since we had the ball first it would be huge,” Grundy said. “Instead, we ended up turning it over. It was just one of those things that they are a good team and when you make mistakes they make you pay.”
Hillman added an interception returned for a touchdown late in the third to pull away to a 28-0 lead. Marion’s lone score came in the fourth, with Alex Sutton running in from 11 yards out, bringing the final to 28-6.

Brandon Stewart led the offense with 87 yards on 26 attempts, Alex Sutton added 61 yards and one touchdown on 13 carries and Riley Moggo ran 10 times for 28 yards.

The defense had Thomas Jenema earn 11 tackles, Stewart had 8.5 tackles and James Alberts took down five.

“I thought the offensive line did a pretty nice job and our quarterback Sutton probably had his best running game of his career,” Grundy said. “He was a bright spot and Brandon had a good game too. They keyed him all night long but he was till able to get 86 yards rushing. He just showed that he was our leader and we are certainly going to miss the skill set that he brought to us.”

Marion finishes the season 6-4 and made the playoffs for the third straight season. The Eagles were able to overcome a 2-3 start to the year and a mid-season coaching change to keep their playoff streak in-tact.

“We had great seniors and a lot of young guys got a lot of playing time,” Grundy said. “We are excited for the future and hopefully we will have a good off season and get back into the playoffs and win a game.”

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