Saturday, October 18th, 2008
Flyers use balanced offense to post victory
By Randy Bruns
Marion Local's Luke Bertke, 42, and Adam Schulze, 1, bring down Fort Recovery's. . .
MARIA STEIN - Senior Night couldn't have gone much better for the Marion Local Flyers, who kept themselves in the thick of the playoff race with a resounding 55-7 win over the visiting Fort Recovery Indians.
The win moves Marion's overall record to 8-1 and its conference mark to 6-1, while Fort Recovery falls to 3-6 on the year and 1-6 in league play.
The Flyers stuck to their tried and true formula in this one: a steady dose of the ground game mixed with an efficient passing attack to keep the opponent off-balance. The recipe proved to be just right, as the hosts racked up 314 yards on the ground and 117 yards through the air while turning the ball over just once and punting only one time.
The Indians, on the other hand, relied almost solely on the aerial assault headed up by standout quarterback Greg Kahlig. The junior heaved 37 passes and completed 15 of them for 196 yards, but many drives were short-circuited by negative yardage plays or turnovers, and the visitors hit paydirt just once.
The Flyers broke out a new wrinkle on their first drive, as the no-huddle offense made its debut to much success. The possession was bookended by completions from Troy Prenger to Jason Wolters, as the first went for 17 yards and a first down and the second was good for a four-yard touchdown.
The Marion offensive machine gained momentum in the second quarter, as Prenger took a keeper and stretched in for a 10-yard score on the first play of the period. The hosts' next drive got a head start after a short punt, and it took just three rushes to put more points on the board, with Dillon Kremer going the final four yards to make the score 21-0.
After holding the Indians on downs, the Flyers went on their longest scoring drive of the night. Starting on their own 30-yard line, the hosts stuck to the ground early on with seven carries going for 54 yards. Prenger then found Tyler Thobe open for a 12-yard gain, and Marcus Moeller picked up the touchdown one play later on a four-yard counter.
The Indians then got their offense in gear to put up their first points of the night. A 21-yard completion from Kahlig to Frank Thien brought the ball near midfield, and Craig Tobe followed with a 17-yard gainer on a reverse. A 29-yard strike to Tobe later moved the ball into the red zone, and Kahlig got the remaining yards on three rushes, with the capper coming on a fourth-and-goal from the one.
The Flyers broke things open midway through the third when Prenger hooked up with Moeller on a 34-yard scoring strike, and the junior varsity tacked on the rest of the scores. Alex Post grounded out a pair of short touchdown runs and Niles Keller notched one of his own on a 24-yard scamper.
"We went into the game thinking our offense should be able to move the ball," said Marion coach Tim Goodwin. "For the most part we did, though we had a few mistakes here and there. I thought our defense played well, because they've got some nice athletes and the Kahlig kid's got a gun. We were a little disappointed because we gave them a couple things, but they do some real nice things on offense."
Fort Recovery coach Brent Niekamp saw his team stay with the Flyers early on but falter as the game went on.
"We kind of feel like we got worn down during the game," commented Niekamp. "That made a difference because we had some guys in there that weren't as experienced and used to playing at that level. (Marion) just plays really hard and really well at every position. I give them a lot of credit, because they've got a really good football team."
Goodwin made special mention of his 17 seniors after their last home regular season contest.
"I've really enjoyed this class," complimented Goodwin. "They're very athletic, and it's always fun to coach good athletes, but even without that they just have good personalities and they love sports of all kinds. It's fun to coach them because they know what's going on and they'll tell you what they see out there."
Marion will head east next week for a pivotal contest against the 8-1 Anna Rockets. With both teams residing in Division V's region 20, the game is ripe with playoff implications, and a win could give the Flyers a decent shot at hosting a first-round playoff game. A loss, on the other hand, would make the playoff picture much murkier.
Fort Recovery returns home next week to finish the season against Delphos St. John's.