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Home romp leaves Marceline gridders 5-1

Staff Writer
Linn County Leader
Having eluded one would-be Brookfield tackler in space, Marceline High football Tigers junior wide receiver Jace Bixenman looks for a way to try to outfox more oncoming Bulldogs during the teams' Sept. 4 "Bell Game" at Marceline's Chester Ray Stadium. At that venue last Friday, Bixenman caught a touchdown pass, ran for another score, and returned a punt for six points, as well, in the Tigers' 58-14 romp over St. Joseph Christian/KC: Northland Christian.

MARCELINE — That the Marceline High School football Tigers would manhandle the St. Joseph Christian/Kansas City: Northland Christian co-op team which is in its first year of 11-man-style competition was largely a given heading into last Friday’s clash at Chester Ray Stadium.

The actual competition lived up to every bit of the anticipated mismatch.

Marceline scored four first-quarter touchdowns, including one by its defense, then tacked on four more TDs – one on Jace Bixenman’s 41-yards return of a free-kick punt following Nathan Cupp’s second-quarter safety – as the Tigers posted a 58-14 non-conference triumph.

That blowout and chance to get additional depth players into extensive action should have MHS primed for the final third of the 2020 regular season – the stretch run of its pursuit of another Lewis and Clark Conference championship.

The final three weeks of the regular campaign will see a trip to badly-struggling Salisbury (0-6) this Friday before the likely L&C title showdown at home against Westran at the end of next week.

The week eight contest with the Huntsville-based Hornets (6-0, 5-0 conf.) also should determine whether they or the Tigers (5-1, 4-0 conf.) earn the top seeding, first-round bye, and full-length home-field advantage in the Class 1 District 6 playoffs.

The MHS win over the Lions from the two Christian schools from the west border of the state saw Bixenman find paydirt once on a run, once on a 22-yards pass reception from Jacob Stallo, and once on his kick return that made it 52-zip.

Hunter Nelson had scoring jaunts of 20 and 37 yards, the second of those an untouched romp around left end, with a 30-yards fumble-recovery return for six points sandwiched between. Sam Gillman’s second extra-point kick of the game after Nelson’s defensive TD made it 30-0, Marceline, after one period.

Joining in on the scoring fun was Cupp, who helped string out an attempted keeper around right end by the Lions quarterback, then raced all the way across the end zone from one side to the other to chase the quarterback down after he reversed course.

Freshman Caleb Stallo tacked on an unfettered 33-yards run to the Lions’ end zone in the second stanza and caught a 9-yards scoring pass from Rafe Bohonsky to close out MHS’ score-fest.

Statistically, the wealth was spread around.

Nelson ran for 82 yards on only six carries and Stallo for 65 more on four attempts. J. Stallo threw only five times with the lone completion being the touchdown toss to Bixenman.

On defense, Bixenman had the most tackles – seven – with five unassisted. Brendan Catron added a half-dozen stops, also including five solos.