MARION — The offensive firepower for the Marion boys’ soccer team is well-known.
Last season, the Indians ranked third in Class 2A with 73 goals scored. Leading scorer Jaffer Murphy — a first team all-state selection as a sophomore — is on pace to score more goals than the 25 that had him ranked ninth in the state across all classes a year ago.
What has the second-ranked Indians in a serious state-championship discussion, however, has been their defense.
“I think it comes down to a tribe mentality,” first-year Marion Coach Kory Boebel said after the Indians routed a good Independence squad, 7-0, in a Wamac Conference match Friday at Marion High School. “Just teamwork and just building a family. We have got a lot of good seniors that are really stepping into that leadership role and they are bringing everyone together.”
Marion (7-0) has routed its opponents by a combined score of 32-1 this season with six shutouts. A stout defensive backline of seniors Riece Frericks, Will Hernandez, Brandon Hamilton and junior Aaron Grimes are ensuring junior goalkeeper Carson Gorton does not see a lot of action.
“We have had a lot of speed and lot of talent and big bodies on the backline,” Frericks said. “It makes it real easy to defend people.”
Murphy scored twice and now has 13 goals this season, which ranks third in 2A. Junior Brandon Whitson also scored two goals, which were his first scores this year.
“We were just passing the ball around, moving it up top more,” Whitson said. “Picking our heads up and looking for the open guy.”
Marion sophomore Lian Ngo scored his first goal of the season, while freshman Aiden Comried and junior Jacob Deiters each tacked on late scores.
Nine different Marion players have scored at least one goal this season. As a team, the Indians average nearly five a match.
“It takes a lot of the pressure off us in the backfield,” Frericks said. “We’re not worried about what if we do this wrong and they score a goal and then we lose the entire game? We are usually up a couple of goals and then it just takes the pressure off and we can get out of our own heads and get rid of the nerves.”
Marion will visit Maquoketa on Tuesday, while Independence (5-5) visits Benton Community.
Class 2A No. 2 Marion 7, Independence 0
Goals — Jaffer Murphy 2 (13), Brandon Whitson 2 (2), Liam Ngo (1), Aiden Comried (3), Jacob Deiters (3).
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