Marion's 1-2 punch on the ground rolls past Maquoketa

Indians shut out Cardinals to move above .500

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MARION — Marion’s Owen Carstensen and Chris Mohwinkle embrace being a 1-2 punch in the Indians’ backfield.

For Maquoketa, it must have felt like the same old haymaker being delivered over and over again.

Marion pounded the Cardinals and racked up about 400 rushing yards in a 41-0 victory Friday night at Thomas Park. The Indians improved to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in Class 3A District 4.

Carstensen ran for 185 yards, while Mohwinkle added 155 and combined for three touchdowns. They have developed a strong relationship, rotating in at running back.

“We always joke around and have fun,” Carstensen said. “We know if I go out and he goes in we aren’t losing anything. If he goes out and I go in, we don’t lose anything. It’s easy to know that if you need a break we won’t lose anything.”

Mohwinkle put the Indians on the board with a dazzling run in the opening period. Mohwinkle broke through the line, hurdled a Maquoketa tackler and then dashed to the end zone for a 29-yard TD.

The duo accounted for all 80 yards of the drive, getting four runs from Carstensen and ending with two from Mohwinkle. They form a strong combination.

“It’s awesome,” Marion Coach Tim Lovell said. “The thing I love about it is the camaraderie they have. They have a great relationship. They love the thunder and lightning or whatever they call themselves, and to play with each other.”

Make that lightning and more lightning in the second half. Carstensen added a 56 TD run in the third, putting Marion up, 28-0. Mohwinkle bolted for a 65-yard score to make it 34-0 early in the fourth.

Marion won the battle up front on both sides of the ball.

“I went to the line before the game and said if you block up front, it doesn’t need to be a hole it just needs to be a crease,” Carstensen said. “A crease is what got us the extra yards we needed and holes broke the big plays for us. Little things like that made a big difference.”

Lovell challenged the team at halftime. The Indians led 14-0, but left points off the board, turning the ball over on downs twice in Maquoketa territory. He asked what type of result they wanted.

“They responded,” Lovell said. “I’m very proud of our football team tonight.”

Marion has been on the receiving end of lopsided outcomes more than on top in recent years. The victory was a big accomplishment for the team, which celebrated with students afterward on the field.

“It feels like we’re back on the map,” Carstensen said. “This is what we’ve been pushing for. We knew coming in this was a chance to get back on tract. I’m glad we took advantage of it and got the job done.”

The Indians hard-hitting defense contained the Cardinals (0-5), forcing four turnovers. Justin Snyder accounted for 154 of Maquoketa’s 203 total yards, throwing for 98.

“They have a big-play offense,” Lovell said. “Our defense did a good job keeping that in check.”

Sophomore quarterback Trevor Paulsen made his first varsity start for Marion. He finished with 116 passing yards on 8-of-13 passing. He connected with Grant Meth on a 25-yard TD in the second quarter. Blair Brooks hauled in a deflected Paulsen pass for a 10-yard score the opening drive of the second half.

Paulsen is a sign of the potential the Indians have, attempting to rebuild the program. Marion will head to Center Point-Urbana, looking for a fourth win this season.

“The future looks good, if we can just stay on task,” Lovell said. “We have a lot of work to do.”

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