By RANDY BRUNS
MARIA STEIN — The Marion Local Flyers secured their fifth
straight playoff appearance Friday night with a hard-fought
21-7 win over the New Bremen Cardinals.
New Bremen finishes its season at 3-7 overall and 2-6 in the
Midwest Athletic Conference, while Marion improves to 7-3 overall
and 5-3 in the league. The Flyers will travel for a first-round
playoff game next Saturday, likely to Covington to face the
The hosts managed to put together the victory despite being
outgained 267-to-206 by the visitors and gaining six fewer first
downs. The difference was in the turnover department, as the
Flyers gave the ball up just once while the Cardinals handed
it over three times. Each of the three Cardinal miscues came
at important times and either thwarted their drives or set up
Flyer scoring marches.
“I think the teams were evenly matched tonight,”
said Marion coach Tim Goodwin. “This is the type of game
that we’ve got to play. We’ve got to find a way
to make a play here or there offensively and play good defense.
Obviously we wish we were a little better than we are, but we’re
not. I think it’s a heck of an accomplishment for our
team to go 7-3.”
Despite the loss, New Bremen coach Howard Overman was proud
of how his team battled.
“We out-played them,” said Overman. “You have
to give Marion credit because they took advantage of some things.
Other than that, we took it at them. If you followed us this
year, you know our kids could have cashed it in. We had some
tough times, but these last three weeks these kids stuck it
out and they got better.”
After holding New Bremen on its first possession, Marion got
on the board quickly. On third down and ten, Cory Luebke hit
Brian Wellman on a screen pass and the senior wideout sprinted
46 yards for the opening score. Doug Giere knocked the point-after
through the uprights to give the hosts a 7-0 lead.
Both defenses took over for awhile, until the Flyers got their
first break. A soaring 43-yard punt by Matt Prenger was muffed
by the Cardinals’ deep man, and the Flyers recovered at
the 22 yard line. After three running plays, Luebke again found
Wellman, this time on an eight-yard slant for another score.
Marion dodged a bullet late in the half when Wellman stepped
in front of an Alex Leugers pass and picked it off at the Marion
one yard line.
The Cardinals came out running in the second half with tailback
Troy Lammers. On the visitors’ first drive of the half
the junior knocked off 29 yards on two runs and later bolted
over left tackle for a 19-yard score.
The defenses again took control until midway through the fourth
quarter. After a double handoff, Lammers busted untouched through
the Flyer defense and was barely caught from behind by Tyler
Speelman after a 38-yard gain to the Flyers’ 39. The Cardinals
looked to be in good shape, but on the next play the Flyer defense
got good penetration and forced Lammers to cough up the football,
which was recovered by the hosts near midfield.
Marion then chewed up some clock with its running game, notching
two first downs to get into New Bremen territory. Later, (Continued
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on a fourth-and-six play, Luebke lofted a pass that Russell
Moeller ran under and took into the endzone to give the hosts
some breathing room.
As it turned out, they would almost need the cushion, as Leugers
directed a long drive that nearly hit paydirt. As it was, though,
it was too little, too late for the Cardinals.
Goodwin now must prepare his team for the playoffs, where the
Flyers have had an easy time of it in the first couple rounds
over the last four years. The Flyer pilot doesn’t expect
the same thing this year.
“Every playoff game that we play is going to be like (tonight’s
game),” said Goodwin. “We just have to find a way
to score when we have a shot and play good defense. If we’re
going to win it’s going to be ugly. I would take a win
like tonight’s for five more weeks.”