The Marceline Tigers found themselves painted as dogs on Friday night in front of the home crowd at Chester Ray Stadium...underdogs that is. Marceline welcomed Westran to the friendly confines, and showed their state-ranked opponent some Black Rage hospitality.
The Tigers received the opening kickoff, and would earn a first down on a pair of runs by Blake Belzer to their own 48. Two runs from Dakota Lewis, and one from Belzer, would earn the Tigers another first down at the Westran 41. But after a sack and a stuffed run, Marceline would fumble the ball away at the Hornets 42.
Westran would take advantage of this turnover, and scored on the next play with a 52-yard touchdown run. The point-after was good.
Q1 7:42 Westran 7 Marceline 0
A pair of runs by quarterback Blake Linebaugh earned 11 yards and a Marceline first down. But, a sack negated these gains, and the Tigers would punt four plays later. Linebaugh’s punt was downed at the Hornets 40 yard line.
Weatran would earn one first down on the ensuing drive, thanks to a 33-yard run. But, four plays later, and thanks to stops for losses by Belzer, Lewis, and Chase Hilsabeck, Westran would turn the ball over on downs at the Marceline 13.
Marceline went three-and-out on the next drive, stretching into the second frame. Weatran returned the punt for a 42-yard touchdown. The extra point was no good.
Q2 11:39 Westran 13 Marceline 0
Marceline would not stay down for long, as Lewis ran the Westran kickoff all the way back to the house to put the Tigers back into the game. Lewis would go 88 yards for this score, with Levi Kelly adding the point-after.
Q2 11:23 Westran 13 Marceline 7
Westran would go three-and-out, thanks to a third down stuff by Kelly. Marceline would take over at their own 28.
Belzer started things off well with an 11-yard run for a first down. Lewis used three runs to gain another first down at the Hornets 46. Belzer and Lewis combined with one run each for another first down at the Westran 33. Runs by Linebaugh and Belzer set up a 13-yard dash by Lewis for another first down. Lewis and Belzer would pound it in from there in four plays for a Marceline score. Lewis crossed the goal line on a three-yard run. Kelly added the point-after to give the Tigers their first lead of the game.
Q2 3:07 Westran 13 Marceline 14
A pair of Westran penalties, as well as a pass deflection by Brett McGlothlin, would force another Westran three-and-out. The punt was downed at the Tigers 39.
The teams would exchange possessions to bring the first half to a close, with Anthony Steffed sacking the Hornets quarterback to end the second quarter.
Page 2 of 2 - Halftime – Westran 13 Marceline 14
Westran opened the second half by gaining one first down. But, four plays later, and thanks to a stuff by Hilsabeck, they turned the ball over on downs at the Marceline 48 yard line.
Lewis and Belzer combined to get the ball into Westran territory on three runs to the Hornets 42. But a penalty and a stuffed run would stall the drive. Linebaugh’s punt was downed at the Hornets four yard line, after taking a Tiger roll.
Austin Moudy sniffed out a screen pass, and stopped it for a three-yard loss. Lewis would return a punt to the Hornets 18 three plays later.
Marceline fumbled the ball away on their next drive at the Westran 23. The Hornets would not be able to answer, though, and went three-and-out again. The latest Westran punt was downed at the Hornets 29.
The Tigers went three-and-out on a drive that reached into the fourth quarter. Linebaugh had another great punt, with this one going down at the Westran 17.
A stop for a loss by Lewis, as well as a Westran penalty, would force another three-and-out. Kelly blocked the Hornets punt, with the visitors falling on the ball in their own end zone for the safety.
Q4 ~9:00 Westran 13 Marceline 16
Marceline went three-and-out after the penalty kick. Westran would drive a bit on their next possession, but a stuff by Moudy, and a sack by Steffes would help force a turnover on downs at the Tigers 46.
Marceline ate some clock, going three-and-out again on their final possession. Linebaugh would again pin the Hornets deep with another punt inside the red zone, this time at the 15. Two plays later, the Chester Ray faithful would storm the field to celebrate an upset win.
Final – Westran 13 Marceline 16
“Our kids played really well, and the coaches are really proud of the way they played,” said Head Coach Paul Thomas. “It was good to finish a game, especially here at home. Our crowd was huge, and they were behind us the entire football game.”