MARION — As is tradition, every senior player and cheerleader lined up in the back of the end zone Saturday afternoon. That’s what happens after Marion’s final home game each football season.
It was 16 players and nine cheerleaders, to be specific, in this case. The 27 kids held hands, walked in perfect step with each other to midfield and then back.
Quite a neat scene, though a weird one at the same time. Weird because this was Linn-Mar Stadium, not Thomas Park.
Marion’s home field was severely damaged by August’s derecho and unavailable. Being a great city neighbor, Linn-Mar offered up its field for the Indians to play three times this season.
This was the last of those three.
“It’s not quite the same,” said Marion’s Lucas Unsen, after his team’s 38-7 loss to North Scott. “I know it’s probably my last home game, but it’s not really a home game. It’d have been much better had we gotten to play at Thomas. We all wanted to play at Thomas, but because of circumstances, we couldn’t do that. At least we got to do this. We weren’t planning on doing this at all, so it was good to have it.”
“It’s like I’ve told them all year long, it doesn’t matter where we are, as long as we’re together,” said Marion Coach Tim Lovell. “And this is where we are. This is the place that we’ve been given to play, so we’re happy about that, fired up about that.”
North Scott (3-1) scored touchdowns on its first three offensive possession, building a 31-0 halftime lead. The Lancers hadn’t played for three weeks because of a COVID-19 outbreak at the school, but looked sharp despite the layoff.
Quarterback Carter Markham ran for a pair of TDs and threw for another.
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“We didn’t like the outcome today, but we’re a lot closer than that 38-7 score,” Lovell said. “They’re a good football team, a physcial football team, but we did some things today that hurt us. We also did some things that we feel good about going into next week.”
The things that hurt the Indians (2-3) included a pair of lost fumbles, one that was returned for a touchdown. Marion was held to just one first down in a shutout loss last week to Dubuque Wahlert but was better offensively here.
Unsen capped off a long, time-consuming drive late with an 8-yard touchdown run, momentum Marion hopes to use going into its regular-season finale next week at DeWitt Central.
“We started off slow,” said Unsen, who had 29 carries for 154 yards. “But we came out at half, it was 31-0, and only gave up seven points in the second half. We knew that we couldn’t just quit. I liked how my guys just kept on fighting.”
AT LINN-MAR STADIUM
18 First Downs 14
29-98 Rushes-Yards 42-186
168 Passing Yards 22
14-22-0 Comp.-Att.-Int. 5-11-0
266 Total Yards 208
1-48.0 Punts-Avg. 4-33.5
3-45 Penalties-Yards 6-50
0-0 Fumbles-Lost 3-2
North Scott 14 17 7 0-38
Marion 0 0 0 7- 7
NS-Carter Markham 1 run (Logan Cole kick)
NS-Darnell Butler 2 run (Cole kick)
NS-Markham 4 run (Cole kick)
NS-Cole 43 FG
NS-Parker Ruth 38 fumble return (Cole kick)
NS-Max Solis 12 pass from Markham (Cole kick)
M-Lucas Unsen 8 run (Spencer Angell kick)
RUSHING-North Scott: Carter Markham 11-42, Darnell Butler 11-28, David Nass 4-17, Marquan Quinn 1-5, Oliver Hughes 1-5, Max Solis 1-1. Marion: Lucas Unsen 29-154, Alex Mota 12-28, Jacob Wilkinson 1-4.
PASSING-North Scott: Carter Markham 13-19-0-159, Grayson Juel 1-3-0-9. Marion: Alex Mota 5-11-0-22.
RECEIVING-North Scott: Jakob Nelson 5-102, Max Solis 2-21, Oliver Hughes 2-18, Darnell Butler 2-11, Dane Treiber 1-9, Parker Ruth 1-7.
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