Battle in the trenches

Marcus travels to Pennington Field to take on the 1-2 Blue Raiders

On Friday Sept. 29, the Marauder varsity football team traveled to Pennington field to take on the L.D. Bell Blue Raiders. The Marauders, coming off a big win against Mansfield on the road, looked to establish a two game winning streak. The Blue Raiders on the other hand, who had just lost in a heartbreaker to Keller High, seeked to bounce back at home.

The weather was overcast but dry, and all the makings of an offensive shootout seemed to be in place. Bell’s running back Zion Hardy, with over 300 yards rushing on the season, was pitted in a fierce matchup with heavily recruited Marauder running back Justin Dinka.

But what looked like a battle of high-powered offenses soon morphed into a defensive stalemate in the trenches.

Throughout the first quarter, the teams exchanged punt after punt as the offenses struggled to take any ground. The cause of these punts was not only great defensive play but a plague of penalties on both teams.

During the second quarter, Marcus sent in quarterback Xavier Maxwell for starter Rasheed Noel to revive the offense. In a string of completions with multiple receivers, Maxwell brought the Marauders within striking distance. Then after an eleven yard touchdown completion to Dinka, the red and silver were finally able to put some points on the board. And in a clever play call by head coach Kevin Atkinson, Blake Covin scored a two-point conversion to put the Marauders up 8-0.

Noel later re-entered the game and brought the Marauders into field goal range. Kicker John Mayers attempted the field goal, but the ball missed wide left.

L.D. Bell wasn’t able to do much after Mayers’ miss and soon punted again. With only seconds left in the half, Mayers came back out to attempt another field goal — this time from 40 yards. But in a wild string of events, the Blue Raiders were able to get a hand on the ball and return the blocked kick for a touchdown as the game clock reached zero.

Going into halftime, Bell reclaimed some momentum and made the game 8-7. The Marauders, however, came back from the break with fire in their eyes.

After several long drives, Dinka picked up two more touchdowns in the third quarter making the score 22-7. If the Blue Raiders wanted to stay in the game, they had to reignite their spark soon.

But even with Marauder star outside linebacker Marcel Brooks exiting the game, after suffering a concussion, Bell could not gain anything on Marcus’ stout defense. The Marauders held Bell to a shutout in the second half, and safety Kevin Netters flew through the air, intercepting the Blue Raiders and added another touchdown. Final score 29-7.

The game was a statement win for the Marauders who host district rival Lewisville High School on Oct. 6. They improve to 3-1 on the season while L.D. Bell falls to 1-3.