MARION — It wasn’t a thing of beauty and there will be a lot to look at this week on film for the Linn-Mar football team.
But, at least the Lions will be looking at a win.
One of the goals for Linn-Mar this year was to cut down on mistakes. Coach Paul James’ team had a few, but, unlike last year, they didn’t come at crucial times in Friday night’s opener at Linn-Mar Stadium against Dubuque Senior.
Senior Marcus Orr threw for 242 yards and three scores. He also rushed for another as the Lions held off the Rams in the fourth qarter to win, 27-20.
Orr and senior Will Zahradnik hooked up for a pair of scoring passes, the final one midway through the third quarter that proved to be the game winner for the home team.
Senior, which won last year’s opener, 7-6, in Dubuque, had some big plays in the first half and a fast scoring drive to open the third quarter. After that point, the Lion defense took control. Senior did drive the ball to the Linn-Mar 24 with two minutes remaining, but a fourth-down pass fell incomplete, allowing the Lions to run out the clock.
Cain McWilliams had a big game for the Rams in defeat. Unofficially, he rushed 20 times for 234 yards and a score. McWilliams also caught seven passes for 67 yards.
It was his 62-yard run that set up Senior’s first score, a 2-yard plunge from quarterback Tom Casey to put the Rams up 7-0. Orr and Zahradnik pulled Linn-Mar back to within 7-6 on a 28-yard strike down the middle of the field. McWilliams countered with a 66-yard scoring run.
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Linn-Mar grabbed the lead before halftime. Orr hit Trey Martin on a 28-yard fade pass to the corner of the end zone and followed that up with a tough 16-yard run to put the Lions up 20-13 at the break.
Casey capped a five-play drive after halftime to tie the score before Orr hit Zahradnik with what proved to be the winning touchdown.
Zahradnik had six catches for 68 yards. Bricen White ran for 81 tough yards, including a 19-yarder for a first down in the final seconds.
Linn-Mar will again be at home next Friday, hosting Cedar Rapids Kennedy.