Red Raiders clutch opener with near shutout

Marion County Red Raider Brodie Silas (11).
[Deuce Belk Media]

By Scott Johnson
General Manager

GUIN - Apart from a last-minute scoop-and-score, Marion County High School’s Red Raiders dominated the field Friday night, Aug. 20, at home against the Waterloo Cougars.
The Red Raiders secured a season-opening win over the Cougars 35-6.
The win over Waterloo continues the Red Raiders’ 4-0 record against the Cougars. Last season, the match-up was significantly closer, but Marion County secured the win 39-27.
The Cougars won the coin toss and chose to receive the ball in the first half. They found no ground to work and opted to punt. The snap was bobbled and the Red Raiders were quickly put into scoring position.
From Waterloo’s 26 yard line, rushes by Brodie Silas and Landon Morrow pushed the ball to the 1-yard line, and Silas punched into the end zone with 8:53 left in the first quarter. The point-after attempt by Riley Smith was good and the Red Raiders lit up the board first for a 7-0 game.
Follow an interception from Morrow, Silas carried the ball seven yards with 4:50 left for his second touchdown of the night. A two-point pass attempt from Red Raider quarterback Gavin Cole was successfully pulled in by Morrow to bring the score to 15-0.
Following an exchange of possessions and penalties in the second frame, MCHS found themselves in a scoring position again. Topping off a six-play drive from the Waterloo 15, a one-yard keeper by Cole and a good PAT by Smith brought the score to 22-0 with 1:50 left in the half. Not a minute later on the game clock, following the kick return, Morrow added a pick-six to his record sheet, snagging a shallow pass away from a receiver at the Waterloo 29 and carrying the ball to the end zone with 1:16 left in the half.  The PAT was no good and the half ended with a score of 28-0.
The third quarter was scoreless for both teams. Waterloo had two turnovers on downs and the Red Raiders gave up an interception and punted twice.
A six-play drive by MCHS in the fourth ended by interception, giving the Cougars the ball at the Waterloo 35. The drive was a four-and-out with the Red Raiders sacking the QB on fourth down at the 33-yard line. Dearioh Lipsey took the ball on first down and broke free for a 33-yard rushing touchdown with 5:24 left in the game. The PAT was good by Jose Luis Arriza Alfaro, bringing the score to 35-0.
A fumble on the Red Raiders’ following possession gave Waterloo their only opportunity to score. On second and eight from the Marion County 33 yard line, a Cougar defender recovered a fumbled Red Raider ball and returned it for a 30-yard scoop-and-score with 3:12 left in the game, sparing Waterloo from a shutout. The PAT was no good and the score was set at 35-6, where it remained as time expired.
Red Raider Head Coach Kyle Williams said that the game showed him what his players were made of.
“We learned that our boys give all they have on the field. That’s something that makes my job easier,” Williams said. “We do know that we can’t turn the ball over as much as we did last night if we are going to have a successful year.”
Williams said that against Waterloo, the Red Raiders set a tone defensively and on special teams right off the bat.
“We got a 3 and out and then blocked a punt. Our offense was able to capitalize off early mistakes,” Williams said.
Looking ahead to MCHS’ non-region game next week at the Vina Red Devils on Friday, Aug. 26, Williams said, “We’ve got to focus on us. We will fix the minor problems from last night’s (Friday, Aug. 20) game and continue to get better.”

The Red Raiders lead the series against the Red Devils 12-3. They defeated Vina 35-0 last season.

See complete story in the Journal Record.
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