The Marceline Tigers hosted rival Salisbury Panthers at Chester Ray Stadium on Friday night in their Lewis and Clark Conference opener. The Tigers were shut-out on this occasion, but showed some spark in some new places on both sides of the ball.
Salisbury took possession first, with the opening kickoff bouncing out of bounds off of one of their players at the 20 yard line. Despite a tackle for a loss by Blake Belzer, the Panther would cover 80 yards in four plays. The score came on a 16-yard run. The extra point was good.
Q1 10:24 - Salisbury 7 Marceline 0
Marceline earned a first down on an opening run by Dakota Lewis, which was aided by a facemask penalty against Salisbury. Runs from Belzer and Blake Linebaugh would reset the down marker again. But four plays later, the drive would stall out.
For their next two drives, the teams would both go three-and-out. Salisbury would appear to be en route to another punt, when a long pass resulted in a pass interference call, reigniting the drive. But, the Black Rage defense would stiffen up, forcing a turnover on downs at the Marceline 24.
The next drive for the Tigers would get a single play off to end the opening quarter. Runs by Linebaugh and Belzer would earn a Tigers first down. Four plays later, though, the team would be forced to punt the ball.
Salisbury would score on their next drive, but not in the way they would have wanted to. The Panthers had a long drive, travelling all the way from the Marceline 49 to the 10. It would be here that a trio of incomplete passes would end their drive. A field goal, however, would extend their lead.
Q2 4:30 - Salisbury 10 Marceline 0
The teams would exchange possessions for the remainder of the opening half. The Black Rage defense would see standout plays from: Belzer, Linebaugh, Duane Avila, and Dalton Fisher.
Halftime - Salisbury 10 Marceline 0
Marceline started the second half off on the right foot, with a good return of the opening kickoff from Jared Best. A pass from Linebaugh to Belzer would advance the pigskin to the Panthers 33. A late fumble, though, would be scooped up at the Salisbury one yard line by the Panthers.
But the Tigers defense would gain the ball back, after a fumble was recovered by Fisher at the Panther 20. The ups-and-downs continued, however, with an interception on the ensuing drive being taken 85-yards on a pick six. The extra point would put the final points of the game on the scoreboard.
Page 2 of 2 - Q3 7:41 - Salisbury 17 Marceline 0
The Tigers would utilize some new faces in new places, with Isaac Smith moving from the defensive line to linebacker. Jared Best and Duane Avila would both see time in the offensive backfield. Fisher took reps at defensive back, making several stops.
With the newcomers joining consistent performances from mainstays Cade Ewigman, Trey King, Dylon Ewigman, Linebaugh, Belzer and Avila, the team showed its depth. In the end, though, Marceline would lose their first Lewis and Clark Conference game by a final score of 17-0.
Final - Salisbury 17 Marceline 0
Looking at the LCL’s stats: Marceline had more rushing yards (88-74), less passing yards (134-73), and the teams were nearly even in first downs. A key difference may lie in the number of sacks, as Salisbury had four to Marceline’s one.