Stallo, Marceline shoot down Falcons, seize L&C control
Senior throws for 220 yards, three TDs, runs for another in 37-0 win
MARCELINE — With control of the 2021 Lewis and Clark Conference football championship race the evening’s spoils, the defending champion Marceline High School Tigers obviously felt right at home at Chester Ray Stadium last Friday.
Facing a Fayette Falcons squad which came in undefeated, while they had been spanked sharply by Quincy, Ill.: Notre Dame the prior week, the Tigers received a stellar performance from senior quarterback Jacob Stallo and a return to form from their “Black Rage” defense to secure a 37-0 shellacking of FHS.
With both teams already having squeaked past Scotland County, the week four meeting projected to be a highly-determinative, although not yet definitive, moment in the L&C race. With Harrisburg still ahead for both teams, the winner would not be a near-shoo-in, but would wear the favorite’s mantle into the regular season’s second half.
That distinction now rests squarely on the senior-dominated Tigers’ shoulders.
With Stallo connecting on about two of every three throws on average and the defense not only throttling Fayette’s attack, but taking the ball away five times (three interceptions, two fumble recoveries), Marceline (3-1, 2-0 conf.) took the upper hand relatively early and never surrendered control.
Stallo ended the night having completed 16 of 23 throws for 220 yards. He hit Jace Bixenman eight times for 112 yards and one touchdown and also had TD strikes to Wyatt Molloy and tight end Will Heller. Heller and Molloy each snagged three Stallo passes on the evening, Heller’s for 43 yards and Molloy’s for 30. Three other MHS receivers had one reception apiece.
While Marceline was prospering when it put the ball up, Fayette too often was left frowning as, when not pulling down passes intended for him from Stallo, Bixenman was busy pilfering pigskins flung by Fayette. He had two interceptions and fellow senior Jaxon Schmidt one.
Schmidt not only had a pickoff, he also latched onto a Fayette fumble and ran it into the end zone.
Also on defense, in addition to the handful of takeaways – Molloy had the other fumble recovery, MHS statistics reported by head coach Mark Ross disclosed the Tigers made seven tackles behind the line of scrimmage – five of them quarterback sacks. Notching a sack apiece were seniors Hunter Passig, Brendon Catron, Mason Barnett, Hunter Nelson and Schmitt.
Nelson was Marceline’s busiest tackler, credited with eight unassisted stops, including one for loss, and one assist. Catron was part of seven tackles, two for losses.
While Stallo had the hot hand throwing the ball, he also used one of his three carries to find paydirt as part of the MHS ground game that gained 138 yards on 23 carries.
Rounding out the dominant Marceline performance, senior David Stufflebean hit on four of five extra-point kicks and nailed a field goal, as well.
Next on Marceline’s docket is the second of four home outings in a row, this Friday’s conference clash with Paris (1-3).