Saturday, November 2nd, 2019

Off and running

Flyers run past Cavs for MAC share

By Colin Foster
Photo by Dan Melograna/The Daily Standard

Marion Local's Kyle Muhlenkamp (7) throws deep for Peyton Otte (4) in the first quarter against Coldwater at Booster Stadium.

MARIA STEIN - Brandon Fleck ran for 57 yards on the game's opening play Friday night.
And from there Marion Local started to run away from Coldwater.
With a Midwest Athletic Conference championship on the line, the Flyers' offensive line paved the way for Fleck's 130-yard, two-touchdown performance and their defense dominated to the tune of a 24-0 victory at Booster Stadium.
"We came in here with two goals: we wanted to be physical and we wanted to be sound," Marion Local coach Tim Goodwin said. "That's what we preached all week. That's where we thought we had the advantage. The kids came out and executed."
Entering the night, Marion Local (8-2, 7-1 MAC) and Coldwater (8-2, 6-2) were in a four-way tie for first place with Minster and Anna. The other two took care of business Friday to give the MAC a three-way title split for the first time since 1989. Marion now has won 14 conference football titles all-time, four in a row and six in seven years.
The Flyers outgained the Cavaliers 287-124, with Coldwater's longest offensive play going for just 12 years.
"They controlled the front on both sides," Coldwater coach Chip Otten said. "The first play, we dug ourselves a big hole. They're good and they beat us up front. They do what they do really well. When they get that blitz game going, they bring it. When we can't run on them at all, they bring the blitzes and it's tough when they're that physical."
The red sea parted and Fleck dashed 57 yards on the opening play. He later capped a four-play, 72-yard drive by bullying through for a 5-yard touchdown.
"It's good to get off to a fast start, and I think they were still a little bit shaky from the Anna game," Goodwin said. "So, getting off to a fast start tonight was important tonight for sure, just because of that fragility."
On Coldwater's opening series, Otten went for it on fourth-and-short from just outside their own 30 and Myles Blasingame picked it up with a 3-yard dive. Coldwater's offense, however, sputtered on its next three plays, and a 9-yard punt gave Marion the ball at the Coldwater 45.
The Flyers had a fourth-down conversion and a third-and-long conversion. On the latter play, Kyle Muhlenkamp scrambled around and before getting drilled by a Cavalier defender, he chucked the ball to Charles Huelsman, who dove to make a 26-yard catch. With 2:27 to play in the first quarter, Alex Klosterman made it 10-0 by hitting a 22-yard field goal.
Marion had one big play left in the tank before first quarter's end, too.
After forcing a Coldwater three-and-out, punt returner Peyton Otte got a couple blocks and raced down the sideline for a 38-yard gain to set up Marion at the 27. That led to Fleck's second TD run, this one from 1-yard out with 9:54 left in the half.
"We had a big punt return there," Goodwin said. "Special teams is always huge against Coldwater because they're good at it and for us to be able to hit a big special teams play against them, that gave us a huge boost."
Through two possessions, the Cavaliers had just one first down. Facing a 17-0 deficit, they started at their own nine and worked inside the Flyers' 30 as Jake Hemmelgarn, Zack McKibben and Noah Miller had the passing game in flight - albeit, it was brief. Hemmelgarn was sacked by Matt Everman and Drew Seitz as Coldwater's best series ended short of the red zone after running 16 plays.
Coldwater had three straight three-and-outs coming out of the locker room. Marion went into Coldwater territory on both of its third-quarter possessions but stalled on four downs. The score was stuck at 17-0 entering quarter four.
The Flyers went on a seven-play, 54-yard drive in the fourth, with Grant Meier's 6-yard run making it 24-0.
"It was the whole 11," Goodwin said. "Up front was one thing, but we wanted to be more physical than them at every level, offensively, defensively and special teams. For the most part I think we did that."
It was Marion's fourth shutout of the season - one that unlikely considering that Coldwater had only been limited to single digits just once in 2019.
Even Goodwin himself told the newspaper this week that his offense may need to play keep-up with Coldwater's in order to win.
"I don't always tell the media the truth," Goodwin joked, before adding. "We've been running this defense for a while. We've got some good stuff we do out of it. Kids know it. It's not what the coaches know, it's what the players know. That's teaching. Coaching is teaching. You've got to get the guys on the field to know as much as possible. I don't care if I'm a genius on the sideline - guys just know our system. They know where to go. They know the strengths and weaknesses of everything we call."
Both teams are playoff bound - Marion Local, now in Division VII, for a 15th straight year and Coldwater (Division VI) for a 21st. The OHSAA will announce official pairings on Sunday.
After a 7-0 start, Coldwater lost two of three. It's rally time now, Otten said.
"We'll see if we can regroup," the Coldwater coach said. "We'll see if we're all mentally in tune with it. You feel like you had a good season winning eight games, but in the two big games you get whooped. We'll see if we can recover mentally and feel good about ourselves. We'll see if we can rally them."
Photo by Dan Melograna/The Daily Standard

Coldwater's Tyler Schwieterman (21) attempts to cut to the outside against Marion Local in the first quarter on Friday at Booster Stadium.

Photo by Dan Melograna/The Daily Standard

Marion Local's Brandon Fleck (25) rushes for a first down against Coldwater in the first quarter on Friday at Booster Stadium.

Photo by Dan Melograna/The Daily Standard

Marion Local's Carson Griesdorn (8) and Trent Pleiman (6) tackle Coldwater's Zack McKibben (2) in the second quarter at Booster Stadium.

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