CENTER POINT — It was a battle to the very last minute in Center Point Friday night. Marion (4-2) held off a resilient Center Point-Urbana (2-4) team to record a 28-26 road win in Class 3A District 4.
Marion exploded out of the gate as sophomore quarterback Trevor Paulsen found a wide-open Blair Brooks for a 40-yard TD to give the Indians an early 6-0 lead.
“We got the passing game going early,” Paulsen said. “And then once we got the running game going, that opened up the passing game even more.”
Center Point-Urbana answered as senior Jo Jo Frost dodged and juked several defenders on his way to a 72-yard TD to give the Stormin’ Pointers an 8-6 lead on CPU’s first possession.
Paulsen then found Brooks again, this time from 20 yards out to give Marion the lead back.
Junior running back Chris Mohwinkle punched it in from six yards out to extend Marion’s lead to 21-8.
CPU then hit another explosive play as Joseph Tschantz sprinted to the end zone from 58 yards out to narrow the deficit to 21-16.
But Paulsen couldn’t be stopped from the air as he found the other Mohwinkle, Clayton, for a 31-yard TD pass converting on a crucial fourth-and-six. Paulsen threw for 209 yards and three TDs.
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“Trevor allowed us to do things in the running game because he threw it so well,” Marion Coach Tim Lovell said. “We knew he was going to give us some options to move the ball vertically down the field.”
CPU’s Tristan Miller rounded out the first half scoring with a 27-yard field goal to cut Marion’s lead to 28-19.
The Stormin’ Pointers struck early in the second half as senior quarterback Zach Thurm found fellow senior Jared Metzen for a 45-yard TD connection.
Both teams made defensive adjustments. Marion’s Jacob Maloney came up with a crucial fumble recovery with 14 seconds left in the game to end CPU’s attempt to score on the final drive.