Saturday, October 9th, 2021

Answering the call

Flyers win a high-scoring MAC battle over the Cardinals

By Gary R. Rasberry

Marion Local's Peyton Otte (4) breaks the tackle of New Bremen's Carter Elking (. . .

NEW BREMEN - As the week began, the Marion Local-New Bremen game had the makings of which team could battle through the opponent's defense.
Instead, the game turned into a shootout.    
A dominant first quarter where the Flyers possessed the ball for all but four plays told the tale as two early scores allowed the Flyers to hold the lead for the 41-33 victory in Midwest Athletic Conference football play at Cardinal Stadium.
The win moves the Flyers to 8-0 on the season and 6-0 in MAC play going into next Friday's annual battle with Coldwater, which has one loss in the MAC.
With Marion near the top of the league in total defense and New Bremen having a penchant for forcing turnovers, the game had the makings of a low-scoring affair.
Instead, the teams combined for 911 yards of total offense, including 457 passing yards as the teams scored 67 of their 74 points in three quarters of play.
"We had a rough couple of weeks mentally with injuries to some good football players," said Flyers coach Tim Goodwin. "We came out and gutted out a shootout."
"Looking at the last three (games) between us, 20 points had been enough to win," said Cardinals coach Chris Schmidt. "You usually don't see that offense when we get together."
The Flyers started the game by keeping control of the ball on the opening drive of the game. After getting a 13-yard pass on the first play, Marion ran 10 straight times and finished with a Peyton Otte nine-yard scoring run in a drive that took 4:15 off the clock.
The Marion defense proceeded to hold the Cardinals to zero yards on their opening drive, forcing a punt. The Flyers kept the ball on the ground again for the majority of the 15-play drive, going 70 yards with Darren Meier punching in the final five to start the second quarter with the Flyers up 14-0. Marion held the ball for all by 97 seconds of the first quarter.
The Cardinals managed just one yard on their next drive, but the defense stepped up to force the Flyers to punt on the ensuing possession, pinning the Cardinals at the 10.
That's when New Bremen's offense woke up, in a hurry. David Homan hit Nick Alig, who found an opening and turned on the jets for a 90-yard score to cut the Marion lead to 14-7 with 7:23 remaining in the half.
The Flyers did not wait to answer, getting a solid return off the kick and moving 57 yards on six plays. Dylan Fleck punched in the final two yards to make it 21-7 with 4:47 remaining in the half.
The Cardinals followed with a sustained drive as Homan hit receivers Alig and Bergman and took most of the runs. It looked like the Cardinals would settle for a field goal, but the Flyers were called for roughing the kicker, giving the Cardinals the ball at the two-yard line. Homan went over the pile with two seconds left in the half to cut the margin to 21-13 at the half.
"It turned out to be a real big key," said Goodwin of the ball control in the first quarter. "We had them on the ropes a bit, then (New Bremen) came back with that long pass. From that point on, we really struggled to stop them."
"They came hard after us early on," said Schmidt. "It took us some time to regroup."
New Bremen punted on its first drive of the second half, but caught a break as Nathan Rindler recovered a fumble after a 14-yard reception by Owen Rindler. The Cardinals began to crank up the offense with Homan starting to find his receivers and Alig snagging a nine-yard catch for a touchdown to cut the Flyer lead to 21-19.
But Marion answered quickly, needing just three plays to cover 57 yards as Otte picked up 44 yards on a great run and Meier punched in for the one-yard score to give the Flyers a touchdown cushion with barely 4 1/2 minutes gone in the third quarter.
The Cardinals marched 77 yards on 11 plays and took over 4 1/2 minutes off the clock before Homan punched in the final yard to cut the deficit back to two.
But, as before, the Flyers answered promptly. Freshman Drew Lause took the jet sweep around and rumbled 51 yards for the score with 58 seconds remaining in the third quarter to get the Flyers back to a nine-point.
"We answered," said Goodwin. "As a coach (that's) something you preach all the time. That's mental toughness. Obviously pleased with that."
The Cardinals appeared to have struck again on their next possession, but Homan's 24-yard running score was called back for a holding call. The Flyers bowed their back and forced a turnover on downs with 10:17 remaining in regulation.
That stop turned into the final Flyer score as Otten ran in from 21 outs to make it 41-26 with 5:49 remaining in the game. Homan added another score in the final minute to get the Cardinals back to within eight.
"I'm proud of the kids," said Schmidt. "We fought to the end. We were fighting from behind all night. Proud of the effort. Credit to coach Goodwin and his staff. Their kids played hard all night long."
Otte rushed for 159 yards and two scores and was 14-of-15 for 151 yards on the night.
"Peyton did some very nice things, making some nice third-down conversions," said Goodwin, a nod to the Flyers being 7-of-12 on third downs (and 1-for-1 on fourth-down conversions). "That was the difference in the game."
Homan had a big night, rushing for 122 yards with three scores and going 17-of-29 for 306 yards.
"He made some good throws," said Schmidt of Homan. "Kids made some nice catches. Just not enough tonight."
While the Flyers are hosting Coldwater next Friday, New Bremen travels to Parkway to face the Panthers.
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Compiled by Gary R. Rasberry
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