116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — Marion hung tough early, but it was diminishing returns as the game wore on.
Class 4A second-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock’s big front lines and big backs wore down the Wolves on their way to a 42-7 win Friday night at Thomas Park.
There was star power on both sidelines. Iowa commit Alex Mota left his mark on both sides of the ball for Marion (2-4, 0-2). Power Five recruit Asa Newsom did the same for Waverly-Shell Rock (6-0, 2-0), but the Go Hawks’ size was too much.
“We just kept pushing, kept going,” Newsom said. “That’s kind of the motto this year. Just continue to swing the ax. Eventually the tree is gonna fall.”
The Wolves weathered the storm early. The Go-Hawks worked the ball inside the red zone on their opening possession, but Cole Marsh was picked off by Marion’s Kaiden Griffith.
The interception was returned to the Marion 37. On the first snap following the turnover, Kaleb Diers lost the ball and the Wolves defense was back on the field. Bruising back McCrae Hagerty went to work, scoring from 13 yards out to give the Go Hawks a 7-0 lead with 3:49 left in the first quarter.
The Wolves used a little trickery to get back in the game. Diers hit Mota with a lateral and Mota heaved the ball downfield to Griffith. The defender lost his footing and Griffith took off for a 74-yard touchdown to tie the game.
It would be all Go-Hawks from that point forward.
Once the second quarter began, the Go-Hawks rushing attack and defensive front seven took over.
Newsom hauled in a 36-yard pass to get the Go-Hawks in range. Hagerty bulldozed his way in from 3 yards out as Waverly-Shell Rock seized the lead.
Following a three-and-out, Newsom found a hole on the right side and raced 53 yards into the end zone untouched.
“The (offensive) line was really young at the beginning of the year,” Newsom said. “They’re not very young now. They’ve been able to jump levels this year and they’ve done a really good job.”
On their next possession, Hagerty ripped off consecutive runs of 24 and 20 yards. Newsom followed with a 29-yard burst and Hagerty added his third touchdown of the half.
“With McCrae in the backfield teams just have to pick their poison,” Newsom said. “The balance of a line that continues to get better week after week, and to be able to balance that with other weapons, it’s just a perfect problem for teams.”
Mota picked off Marsh to keep the deficit from growing larger as Waverly-Shell Rock entered the break with a 28-7 lead.
The Go-Hawks continued to assert themselves in the second half. Marsh began to gain traction in the passing game and Hagerty added his fourth touchdown of the night.
Waverly-Shell Rock finished with 353 yards on the ground, 126 of them coming from Hagerty. Newsom piled up 163 yards of total offense on just eight touches.
Marion returns next Friday for a homecoming game against Decorah.