By Jeff Banks
BERRY - Marion County High School Red Raiders spoiled Berry’s homecoming game on Friday, Sept. 17.
A last-minute touchdown by the Red Raiders in regulation would send the game to overtime and Marion County would clinch the win 20-14.
Berry won the toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff. They returned the kick to the Wildcats’ 37-yard line to begin play. On the Wildcats’ first offensive play of the game, the Berry quarterback threw a pass that was tipped by the Marion County defense but pulled by a Wildcats receiver, who raced to the end zone for a 63-yard touchdown. The PAT was blocked by Red Raider Brooks Junkin, and the Wildcats took the early 6-0 lead with 11:37 remaining in the first quarter.
Marion County returned the ensuing kickoff to the Red Raiders’ 35-yard line. The Marion County offense had the ball four plays, but the Wildcats’ defense forced a punt attempt. It was blocked by Berry and the Wildcats recovered the ball.
The Wildcats’ offense returned to the field on the Berry 19-yard line. The Wildcats held the ball four plays, but turned the ball over on downs when they could not convert on fourth and four at the Red Raiders’ 13-yard line.
The Marion County offense returned to the field on its 16-yard line. On the fourth play of the possession, Berry recovered a Marion County fumble on the Wildcats’ 27-yard line.
After the turnover, Berry took the field on its 27-yard line. On the third play of the drive, Marion County’s Xander Morrow intercepted the ball and returned it to the Red Raiders’ 42-yard line.
The Red Raiders were not able to take advantage of the turnover. On the first play of the Marion County drive, Ty Hydrick forced a fumble and recovered it for the Wildcats.
After the fumble, the Berry offense took the field on the Red Raiders’ 49-yard line. The Wildcats put together a five-play series, but elected to punt on fourth and nine from the Marion County 48-yard line.
Berry downed the punt on the Red Raiders’ 12-yard line. The Wildcats’ defense dropped Marion County’s quarterback on three-straight sacks, which allowed Berry to eventually score on a safety. With 8:17 remaining in the first half and the score 8-0 in favor of Berry, the Wildcats prepared to receive the kickoff.
Berry returned the kickoff to the Red Raiders’ 41-yard line. Three plays later, a Berry rusher took ran 30 yards to the end zone for a touchdown. The Wildcats attempted a two-point conversion, but came up short and the score was 14-0 in favor of Berry with 7:21 remaining in the first half.
The Wildcats’ kickoff went out of bounds and the Marion County offense returned to the field on the Red Raider s’ 35-yard line. On the third play of the possession, Berry forced another turnover by intercepting a Marion County pass.
The Wildcats’ offense returned to the field on the Red Raiders’ 18-yard line, but Berry was not able to capitalize on the turnover. Three plays into the drive, Marion County’s Morrow got his second interception of the game and returned the ball to the Marion County 30-yard line.
The Red Raiders put together a seven-play drive, but could not score before time expired in the first half. The teams left the field with the Wildcats enjoying a 14-point lead.
The Red Raiders returned the second-half kickoff at the Marion County 25-yard line. Facing a fourth and five at the Berry 45-yard line, the Red Raiders were unable to get the conversion and the ball went over on downs to Berry.
The Wildcats began its first offensive series of the second half on the Berry 42-yard line. The Wildcats moved the ball on an eight-play drive, but on fourth and 12 at the Berry 21-yard line, punted the ball back to Marion County.
Following the punt, the Red Raiders took the field on the Marion County 38-yard line. Nine plays later, the Red Raiders got its first score of the game on a six-yard pass from Brodie Silas to Gavin Cole. Marion County completed a two-point conversion on a pass from Tye Madison to Preston Coniff, and the score was 14-8 with 11:01 remaining in the game. The Wildcats returned the kickoff to the Berry 44-yard line. Berry ran seven plays, but fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Ryan Jaggers for the Red Raiders on the Marion County 31-yard line.
Following a 13-play drive after the turnover, Marion County scored on a one-yard touchdown run by Tye Madison. The Red Raiders could not get the two-point conversion, and the score was tied at 14 with 28 seconds remaining in the game.
The Wildcats returned to the field needing to cover 55 yards for a touchdown. The Wildcats drove the ball down the field, but could not score before time expired in regulation.
The Red Raiders won the toss and elected to go on defense first. Berry got the ball on the 10-yard line, but could not score. Marion County then got its turn on offense. On the first play, Brodie Silas scored on a 10-yard run. With the touchdown, Marion County walked away with a 20-14 victory. With the loss, the Wildcats fall to 1-3 overall and 1-2 in the region. The Marion County Red Raiders improve to 4-1 on the season and 2-1 in the region.
The Red Raiders face the Phillips Bears at home this Friday, Sept. 24, in a non-region game.
See complete story in the Journal Record.