By Randy Bruns
MARIA STEIN -- With a playoff berth still within their reach, the Marion Local Flyers came into Friday's game against the Lehman Cavaliers with an eye toward racking up some needed computer points.
It didn't take long for the Flyers to make sure they got those much-needed computer points.
Marion scored on the game's first offensive play to set the tone and poured it on the rest of the way en route to a 62-7 thrashing of Lehman.
The Flyers improved to 6-3 on the year while the Cavaliers fell to 3-6.
Though Marion Local had beaten Lehman five straight times before this meeting, the Cavaliers had made it extremely close the last three years. After just one quarter of play, this one was no longer close.
Curtis Moeller got things started for the Flyers when he took a pitch on the first play from scrimmage and scampered 55 yards to paydirt just 20 seconds into the game.
An interception short-circuited Marion Local's next drive, but the Flyers wasted no time scoring on its next four tries.
Damon Bertke caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from Chris Stucke and Marc Otte swept into the end zone from 40 yards out to put the Flyers up 19-0 before the first quarter ended. All three first-quarter touchdowns came on the first and only play of each drive.
Otte capped a three-play drive with a 20-yard scoring jaunt early in the second quarter, and Stucke hooked up with Bertke and Mitch Thobe on two more touchdown passes before the half, which ended with Marion Local on top 39-7.
"In the years past we have let (Lehman) get confidence as the game wore on," said Marion coach Tim Goodwin. "We told our players that this is a team that can be dangerous if you let them hang around. We did exactly what we wanted to do, and I give our kids a lot of credit."
Marion Local quickly tacked on some insurance scores early in the second half.
Moeller scored on a nine-yard run, and Dan Fortkamp atoned for three missed extra-points in the first half with a personal-best 40-yard field goal. Ryan Stucke later picked off a Lehman pass and took it back 36 yards for another touchdown, and Greg Gehret put the final points on the board with a 46-yard burst up the middle in the fourth quarter.
"I think we stayed back in Sidney tonight," said Lehman coach Paul Neves. "We had high hopes coming in because if we had won this one we would've had a shot at the playoffs, but we never got anything going. We threw four interceptions and had three fumbles, and if you do that against anybody you're going to get beat. This is the worst we've played all year and it showed."
The Flyers entered the game in seventh place in Division VI's region 24, and the win will keep them in that spot. Barring any big upsets, a win next week should give the Flyers a shot at postseason play after missing out last year for the first time in Goodwin's tenure.
"We've talked about (the playoffs)," said Goodwin. "The league race is out the window, so it gives you something else to look forward to. We're mostly trying to focus on ourselves and trying to just get better."
Marion Local will stay at home on Friday for the regular-season finale against winless New Bremen.