MARION — The numbers don’t always tell the story in football.
In Saturday’s Class 3A District 6 matchup between Marion and Dubuque Wahlert, the numbers didn’t lie.
“We didn’t match their intensity,” said Marion Coach Tim Lovell after his Indians were blanked 17-0 by the Golden Eagles at Linn-Mar Stadium. “It took us a long time to try and figure it out and by then it was too late.”
Marion’s offense was never able to get going against an aggressive Wahlert defense. The Indians’ best play of the game was their first when Alex Mota connected with tight end Garret Wagner on a 45-yard pass play.
That accounted for Marion’s lone first down of the game.
“We ran a lot of plays the wrong way,” Lovell said. “We knew their defense was going to be just the way they played. A lot of credit to Coach (Jamie) Marshall and his program. We never got things going and that is on me to fix.”
Wahlert’s defense held the Indians to just 51 yards of total offense, only six coming on the ground.
Despite Wahlert’s domination on defense, the game remained close, thanks in large part to the Marion defense. Charlie Fair scored on a 1-yard run midway through the second quarter to put the Golden Eagles up 7-0.
Wahlert had two shots to extend the lead just before halftime. With just over a minute remaining, Marion stopped Wahlert on downs at the Indian 3. With the Golden Eagles out of timeouts, Marion elected to run the ball twice and fumbled on the second attempt. Wahlert recovered on the 2 with 14 seconds remaining After an incomplete pass, the Eagles had a bad shotgun snap that was recovered by Marion, keeping it 7-0 at the break.
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“I told our defense that 17 points should have been enough to win that game,” Lovell said. “Our defense did a great job of keeping up in the ballgame. We just have to figure some things out offensively.”
The Golden Eagles had an impressive drive to start the second half, capped on a 24-yard slant pass from Fair to Nick Bandy with 8:39 remaining in the quarter. Wahlert then chose to play a conservative game the rest of the way. They added a 20-yard Nathan Donovan field goal with 8:31 left and the defense did the rest.
Gabe Anstoetter led the Wahlert offense with 133 yards rushing on 26 carries. Bandy had five catches for 70 yards.
AT LINN-MAR STADIUM
First downs 18 1
Rushes-yards 41-158 26-6
Passing yards 106 45
Comp-Att-Int 10-23-0 2-10-2
Punts-Avg. 4-31.0 7-31.2
Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 5-53 4-40
Dubuque Wahlert 0 7 7 3 — 17
Marion 0 0 0 0 — 0
DW — Charlie Fair 1 run (Nathan Donovan kick)
DW — Nick Bandy 24 pass from Fair (Donovan kick)
DW — FG Donovan 20
RUSHING - Wahlert: Gabe Anstoetter 26-133, Matthew Nachtman 6-24, Charlie Fair 6-3, Carson Cummer 1-0, Nick Bandy 1-0 Team 1-(minus 7). Marion: Lucas Unsen 10-25, Alex Mota 12-(minus 5) Keenan Diers 2-(minus 14), Ryan Paulsen 1-1, Team 1-(minus 1).
PASSING - Wahlert: Charlie Fair 10-23-0-106. Marion: Alex Mota 2-10-2-45.
RECEIVING - Wahlert: Gabe Anstoetter 1-5, Nick Bandy 5-70, Seamus Crahan 3-34, Matthew Natchman 1-(minus 2). Marion: Garret Wagner 1-45, Wyatt Cannon 1-4.