The Marceline Tigers' football team had no problem defending Chester Ray Stadium on Friday evening, dismantling the Schuyler County Rams, 55-16, in a game that was played under running-clock rules from the early third quarter onward. The Tigers advance to 5-1, while Schuyler County falls to 2-4.
Marceline struck on its first possession after one of Schuyler County's five three-and-outs. With just under 10 minutes remaining in the first quarter, Marceline quarterback Chase Billups completed a 48-yard catch-and-run to Clayton Stallo with no Ram in the general vicinity.
Stallo scored four touchdowns on Friday night on just eight touches. He led the Tigers in receiving with 113 yards and a pair of touchdowns on five snatches, and he added a pair of touchdowns on 103 yards rushing on just three carries. He also recorded an interception late in the second quarter -- one of two takeaways for which the Tigers were responsible on Friday night.
"Our big thing is to get Clayton Stallo going," Marceline coach Mark Ross said. "Two weeks in a row, he's gone over 200 yards on just eight touches both weeks. Eight touchdowns on 16 touches is pretty impressive, but we've got to keep that rolling. He's very electric, he's a ball player."
On the following drive, with a 6-0 lead following another Schuyler three-and-out, Stallo broke off a long run before Cullen Bruner shot upfield for an 18-yard carry on the next play. Shortly after, Billups scrambled 18 yards on a broken play to score one of his two rushing touchdowns.
After yet another fruitless three Schuyler plays, Marceline got the ball back and scored on a 26-yard pass to Nick Cain in the very southeast corner of the east end zone to put the Tigers up 20-0 with 4:20 remaining in the first quarter.
On the following Schuyler drive, the Rams got some momentum when the biggest threat on the Rams' diminutive, 18-man roster broke off his team's biggest play of the game. Quarterback Easton Kerby shredded the Marceline defense for a 51-yard touchdown rush to bring his side back within two scores at 20-8, but immediately following, it was back to work for the Tigers.
A 47-yard sweep to Stallo resulted in a touchdown, as did another 27-yard rush by number 11 two drives later with 8:08 remaining in the second quarter.
"We can't let a big play by the other team get in our head, and we did a good job of that," Stallo said. "We can't let something like that change how we're going to play. We knew (Kerby) was going to be one of their best players, and he played a pretty good game today, but we did a good job of stopping him most of the night. It feels good to be back at home, and it's always sweet to get a win on homecoming."
Schuyler County took the next seven-plus minutes off of the clock with a drive that would eventually stall at the Marceline 31-yard line before Billups and Kerby took turns throwing ill-advised interceptions on consecutive plays.
As a result, the Tigers took that 33-8 lead into the half.
To begin the second half, the Tigers turned the game into a running clock affair before the faithful even had time to repopulate the stadium seats. Stallo took a 34-yard reception to the house less than 90 seconds into the third, the Tigers started their next possession at the Schuyler five after a Kerby interception deep in his own territory, and Marceline forced a safety on the next possession.
Marceline's final score of the game came on a 48-yard Cain touchdown rush with five minutes remaining in the third.
"We were focused in, and our boys did a great job of finding the defensive game plan," Ross said. "We handled some adjustments well. Offensively, that's a great team win as far as putting points on the board. Our offensive line was great tonight, our rushing attack was phenomenal. Schuyler made some great adjustments in the second quarter, but we gave ourselves some momentum going into the half."
Schuyler's second score was with two minutes remaining in the game. Before the ensuing kickoff, the running clock expired to end the game. The Tigers got ample time in the last quarter-and-a-half to play some kids who would not otherwise appear in a game on Friday night.
Although Billups threw a pair of interceptions, Marceline's only punt came in the waning minutes with substitutes in the game.
Marceline finished with 466 yards of offense to just 204 for Schuyler. Bruner led the Tigers in net rushing with 111 yards on nine carries, and Billups finished 10-of-16 passing for 138 yards and three touchdowns. The Tigers held Schuyler County to zero third-down conversions on 10 opportunities.
"It was hard to get up to game speed against those guys," Schuyler County head coach Nick Wooldrik said. "The first quarters, we always come out slow, but we keep working. I thought we played well in that second quarter. We got our passing game going at times with hitch routes and flat routes, and we tried to get out in space. We didn't come out very well after halftime."
Marceline travels to Salisbury in week seven.