November 8, 2007

Football Season Finales Determine District Champs

Marceline took care of its work at hand and then listened as the Tigersí ticket to the post season was punched by a last minute rally by Putnam County. The Midgets knocked off Milan, handing the district title to Marceline via a complicated points tie-breaker between the three 2-1 teams.

Scotland County was the lone squad not figuring into the playoff hunt, as the Tigers concluded an 0-10 season, albeit with several bright spots courtesy of some young players that will be looked upon to fill key roles in 2008.

Marceline set the tone early as freshman quarterback Austin Bruner connected with Jake Tarpening for a 36-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the score at 6-0 with 10:14 on the first period clock.

After Scotland County went three and out on offense, Marceline went back to work. Sophomore Matthew Bell capped off a long drive with a 12-yard touchdown run with 7:16 remaining in the opening quarter. The two-point play failed making it 12-0.

Jeff Kice moved the chains for the Scotland County offense, but the momentum was short lived as a penalty followed by a quarterback sack backed the Tigers up and forced a punt.

Marceline made it 19-0 when Bruner found Tarpening again, this time on a 36-yard TD pass. The PAT kick made it 19-0 with 2:39 still left in the first quarter.

The Tigers went three and out on offense to close out the first quarter.

Bell hit the 1,000 yard mark for the season early in the second period, courtesy of a 55-yard touchdown run with 10:00 on the clock. The PAT failed leaving the score at 25-0.

SCR-I made its second first down of the opening half when Shelley scrambled on third and long and picked up the necessary yardage. But the Marceline defense held there and a fake punt by the Tigers failed, turning the ball over on downs as Brandon Garnett was stopped short of the first down marker.

Marceline added to the lead when Bruner hit sophomore Jordan Tibbs on a 38-yard touchdown pass with 4:42 left in the second period. Bell made the PAT to push the lead to 32-0.

After SCR-I went three and out, Marceline looked poised to add more points but Craig Wittstock picked off a Bruner pass and returned it to near midfield where SCR-I ran out the clock on the first half.

Scotland County opened the second half with the ball but went three and out on offense.

Marceline marched down the field and looked poised for another score before freshman Sabe Sears came up with a big interception at the 12-yard line with 9:20 on the clock.

The Tigers did not take advantage of the break, going three and out and giving Marceline the ball right back.

This time the home team took advantage of the short field. Junior Josh Weaver broke through the SCR-I defense for a 37-yard TD run. Bells PAT kick made it 39-0 with 7:14 to go in the third quarter.

The Scotland County offense came to life on the next possession. Shelley hit Eric Glass for a 15-yard gain. He followed it up with an 18-yard completion to Jeff Kice. The sophomore signal caller kept the drive alive with his feet, scrambling for a key first down. That set up a perfect 22-yard touchdown pass to junior Caleb Kittle who made a sensational catch with a Marceline defender draped all over him. The score cut the deficit to 39-6 with 11:51 to go in the game.

Marceline wasted little time regaining the momentum, driving the length of the field as Lance Gooch scored on a 17-yard run with 8:16 to play. Garnett blocked the PAT kick to keep the score at 45-6.

That proved to be the final score as the running clock expedited the conclusion of the contest. That allowed the Marceline fans to listen as Putnam County rallied from three scores down to beat Milan 26-25 and allow Marceline to capture the district title and advance into the state playoffs.

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