GUIN - Marion County suffered its third loss of the season when South Lamar defeated the Red Raiders 55-31 on Friday, Oct. 12.
The loss dropped Marion County to 5-3 overall and 2-3 in Class 1A, Region 6. The Alabama Sports Writers Association’s fifth-ranked Stallions improved to 7-0 overall and 5-0 in Region 6.
Marion County received the opening kickoff and was unable to get anything going offensively and punted to South Lamar.
The Stallions drove 67 yards in six plays to get the team’s first score of the contest.
South Lamar quarterback Jackson Dowdle connected with Keidarris Griffin for a 43-yard touchdown toss. A bad snap on the extra-point attempt kept the score at 6-0, Stallions, with 6:46 left in the first quarter.
The Red Raiders’ second drive of the contest saw the team pick up a first down before being forced to punt for a second time.
South Lamar wasted little time with Dowdle tossing his second touchdown pass of the game with this one finding the hands of Jarrett Bryant for a 34-yard score. An unsuccessful 2-point attempt held the Stallion advantage at 12 points with seconds left on the clock before the start of the second quarter.
Marion County was unable to move the ball on its next possession, but made it into field goal range for Braden Pyron. Pyron booted a 43-yard field goal attempt through the uprights to trim South Lamar’s lead to 12-3 with 10:22 left in the second quarter.
South Lamar drove 32 yards in four plays for the team’s next score with running back Herachio Washington punching it in from a yard away. A good extra-point gave South Lamar a 19-3 lead with 8:51 remaining in the contest.
The Red Raiders were able to get the offense moving on the team’s third drive. After a run for no-gain on first down, quarterback Deuce Belk connected with Pyron for 14 yards and a first down.
Belk passed to Jerry King on the following play for a three-yard gain before the sophomore signal-caller picked up four yards on the ground.
Belk once again found Pyron to pick up 30 yards on the next play and push the Marion County possession down to the 9-yard-line. Tyler Thomas finished off the drive with a nine-yard run. Pyron’s point-after try was successful to trim South Lamar’s lead to 19-10 with 6:07 left in the first half.
South Lamar’s quick-strike approach continued with the Stallions using six plays to find the end zone for the fourth time. Washington raced in from 53 yards away for a touchdown with 3:27 left in the first half. Bryant ran in the 2-point attempt to give South Lamar a 27-10 advantage.
The Red Raider offense responded with a score of its own on the ensuing drive.
Marion County’s Belk picked up 51 yards on the first play of the drive before adding a run of five yards to set up a second-and-5 at the Stallion 19-yard-line.
Belk finished off the drive with a 19-yard scoring scamper. Pyron’s point-after was good to cut South Lamar’s lead to 28-17 near the end of the first half.
The Stallions had enough time to respond and drove 65 yards on eight plays before Dowdle found Hunter Oglen for a 19-yard touchdown pass. A successful extra-point made the score 34-17, South Lamar, as the two teams headed into their locker rooms for halftime.
After receiving the second-half kickoff, South Lamar needed just 1:03 to score.
The Stallions’ Griffin took a handoff on a sweep play and ran in from 66 yards out. Marion County’s Jerry King intercepted the 2-point try to hold the score with South Lamar leading 40-17.
Marion County’s following drive ended with a turnover on downs to give the ball back to the Stallions at the Red Raider 44.
After losing two yards on first down, Dowdle connected with Griffin for six yards on second down. Dowdle completed his second pass of the drive to Bryant for a 38-yard gain.
Bryant finished the drive with a two-yard scoring run. The 2-point try was good to give the Stallions a 48-17 lead with 8:21 to go in the third.
Marion County saw its next drive stall despite running 10 plays and was forced to punt.
South Lamar took over at its own 18 and saw Washington pick up 36 yards on first down. Bryant added 17 yards on the next play before Griffin finished the drive with a 29-yard scoring run. The point-after try was good to boost the Stallion lead to 55-17 with 33 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Red Raiders took over at their own 39-yard-line. Thomas picked up 10 yards on first down before Belk added a three-yard gain.
Thomas picked up three more yards on the second-and-7 play to set up Belk’s 45-yard touchdown run with 10:22 left in the game. Pyron converted the extra-point to cut the Stallion advantage to 55-24.
Marion County’s defense forced a turnover on downs on the Stallions’ next possession before the Red Raiders marched down the field for another score.
Thomas picked up four yards on first down before Belk gained seven on second down. Thomas rattled off back-to-back runs for four and two yards, respectively.
Belk rumbled ahead for a 25-yard gain on third-and-4 at the Red Raider 35. He added runs for five, four and 10 yards before finishing the drive with a 21-yard touchdown run with just under four seconds left. Lenardo Imami-Fugihara connected on the extra-point to make the final of 55-31, South Lamar.
The Red Raider offense picked up 346 total yards with 281 on the ground and 65 through the air.
Belk rushed for a team-high 215 yards on 20 touches, along with three scores. He also completed 5-of-8 pass attempts for 65 yards.
Thomas took 15 handoffs for 61 yards and a touchdown. Darese Smith had five runs for five yards.
Pyron pulled in three receptions for 67 yards while King added two catches for a loss of two yards.
The Red Raiders will be traveling to neighboring Winston County for a Friday, Oct. 19, 7 p.m. date with Meek (3-5, 1-4) in Region 6 action.
The Red Raiders have dominated the all-time series 20-8.
Marion County is in a must-win situation throughout the rest of its season to earn a spot in the Class 1A playoffs.
Looking at the region standings, South Lamar is in first at 5-0, followed by Pickens County (4-1), Hubbertville and Lynn with identical 3-2 records but the Bears own the tie-breaker because of their 35-28 victory over the Lions, Marion County and Berry with identical 2-3 worksheets, Meek at 1-4 and Brilliant in last place at 0-5.
See complete story in the Journal Record.