By Mark Ruschau
MARIA STEIN -- The first three weeks were very tough for Marion Local coach Tim Goodwin and his Flyer players. Three tough losses culminating in a nasty loss last Friday night to St. Henry.
Friday evening the Flyers took out three weeks of frustration out on Parkway as the Flyers lined-up and punched the Panthers right in the mouth controlling both sides of the line of scrimmage in posting a 28-6 Midwest Athletic Conference win at Booster Field.
The win is the first for the Flyers in four games overall and in three games in league play. Parkway falls to 1-3 and 1-2.
The Flyers rolled up 20 first downs to just six for Parkway. Marion ran 74 plays for 326 yards to just 31 plays and 104 for the Panthers. Marion outgained Parkway on the ground 235-37 and the Flyers had the ball for 31:16 to just 16:44 for Parkway. Marion did not punt the ball all game long.
Curtis Moeller led a balanced rushing attack with 99 yards on 25 carries. Quarterback Ryan Stucke added 71 yards on 14 totes and Jeff Otte chipped in 54 yards. "I am very proud of the way responded after a tough loss last week," said Goodwin. "We really showed some resolve tonight. Hopefully we can use the second half in particular and this game to go a long way the rest of the season."
The Flyers resolve was tested early as they drove to a first down at the Parkway 13, but could not score as a holding penalty stalled the drive and it ended with a fourth down incomplete pass.
Parkway came back and moved the ball into Marion territory to a first down at the 34. On first down, they lost a yard. After an incomplete pass and a three-yard run, the drive ended on an incomplete pass.
The Flyers quickly gave Parkway the ball back as on the first play from scrimmage as they fumbled the ball and the Panthers recovered at the Marion 27.
After two running plays lost three yards, Parkway quarterback David Bell hooked up with Mark Snyder for 20 yards to the 10-yard line. After a holding penalty moved the ball back to the 21, Bell connected with Cameron Roehm for the score and the 6-0 lead after the kick was blocked.
"Our team was there for a half," said Parkway coach Jason Henline. "We had eight kids going both ways and they just wore us down. After the first couple of series, things just didn't go our way the rest of the night."
Marion came right back and went 66 yards in 11 plays with Jeff Otte busting in from the one to tie the score. Dan Fortkamp added the point after and the Flyers led 7-6 at the half. On the drive, Flyers quarterback Ryan Stucke was 2-for-2 for 37 yards.
"We were a little disappointed that we give up that touchdown but the offense put the defense in a bad situation," said Goodwin. "Overall, I thought the defense played well."
After stopping Parkway on three plays to start the second half, Marion went 60 yards on 14 straight running plays covering 7:10 to take a 14-6 lead on a two-yard run by Otte.
Again after stopping Parkway on three plays, the Marion offense took over at its own 48. The Flyers went the distance on 15 running plays with Otte scoring his third score of the night to go up 21-6.
" I thought we have run the ball fairly proficiently this season," said Goodwin. "The key tonight was that we did not put ourselves in bad spots by playing sound offensive football."
Marion made it three scores in three second half trips as it went 55 yards on six plays with Stucke hooking up with Tyler Speelman on a 23-yard score.
"I really thought we made strides, especially in the second half," said Goodwin. 'Hopefully we can use the second half as a something to build on for the rest of the season."
Marion hits the road for a trip to Minster on Friday while Parkway returns home to take on New Bremen.