Warriors hold off late Marlington surge

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Warriors Justin Naylor (20) and Joey Beard chase down a Marlington runner.

By Carol McIntire

Editor

Carrollton’s defense bent, but didn’t break late in a contest Friday they won 32-24 over the Marlington Dukes.

With just over two minutes left in the game, the Warriors, leading 32-24, were forced to punt. Marlington started the ensuing drive on their own 19-yard line, but quickly picked up two first downs, moving the ball to the 46-yard line with four quick passes.

With a sense of urgency and 54-yards between his team and the possibility of tying the game with a touchdown and two-point conversion, the Warriors defense withstood the test. They pressured Evanich, flushing him out of the pocket and forcing him to throw three incomplete passes. On a fourth-and-ten play, Cooper Scarlott got his hands on Evanich’s pass, but was forced out of bounds by the Warriors. Carrollton ran the clock out to secure the win.

“That was big time,” Carrollton Coach Jim Tsilimos said following the game about his team’s defensive stand. “They had us on the ropes at that time. The kids did well. The defensive coaching staff kept it together and made some great calls. We were coaching the kids as it went on.”

 Marlington scored on the opening drive of the game when Brenden Hamilton hauled in a 51-yard pass from Evanich. Macagey Laure added the extra point to put the hosts up 7-0 with 10:04 on the first quarter clock.

The Warriors responded and scored on ensuing drive when senior Talen Timberlake caught a pass from quarterback Luke Warner and scampered 29 yards into the end zone. Jarod Becknell added the extra point to tie the game with 6 minutes left in the opening quarter.

Marlington went ahead early in the second quarter after Carrollton fumbled a Dukes punt and turned the ball over on the 9-yard line. Two plays later, Scarlott caught an Evanich pass in the end zone. Laure added the extra point and the Dukes were in command 14-7.

Once again, Carrollton answered.

With just over four minutes remaining in the first half, Timberlake snagged a 36-yard Warner pass out of the air with a Duke defender hanging onto him, and reached the end zone. A pass interference call on the Dukes was assessed on the kickoff. Becknell missed the extra point and the Warriors trailed by one, 14-13 with 4 minutes left in the half.

That was the last time they would trail in the game.

Sophomore Brock Smith gave the visitors the lead when he broke loose on the left side, hauled in a Warner pass and raced 60 yards  to the end zone. Teammate Chase Oehlstrom fell short of the goal on a two-point conversion pass from Warner and the Warriors led 19-14 when the teams went to the locker room at halftime.

Oehlstrom found the end zone in the third quarter on a 33-yard run with 5:27 remaining. Becknell’s kick was no good but the Warriors were in control 25-14.

Marlington added a 35-yard field goal late in the period to cut the deficit to 25-17.

On the first play of the next Carrollton series, Oehlstrom broke free up the middle for a 73-yard touchdown run. Becknell split the uprights with the extra point kick for a 32-17 lead.

The Duked pulled back to within eight points  with a touchdown and extra point in the fourth period.

Tsilimos had praise for his team following the win, which hoisted them to 2-0 in Eastern Buckeye Conference play.

“The old philosophy is you have to make improvements from week one to week two and I thought we did that. We’ve got to fix some things. The kids came. We got down, but they never gave up. I like that in our kids. They are fighters. They keep getting better each week, we’ll see what happens,” he stated.

The Warriors travel to Salem to face the Quakers Sept. 11 in an EBC matchup. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

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