Looking for a big play late in Friday’s game, Collegiate turned to its defense and special teams.
The Spartans (2-0) recovered two fumbles in the last three minutes, holding on for a 21-14 victory over Marion (0-2).
“It was when we had the turnovers,” Marion coach Grant Thierolf. “You can’t do that against a good football team.”
Collegiate’s Raymond Taylor scored on a 27-yard run to give the Spartans the lead with nine minutes remaining.
The junior came through again two drives later, recovering a Marion fumble to halt the Warriors’ comeback efforts.
“My linemen told me to trust them. I just stayed with them until I saw an opening,” Taylor said. “On defense, coach called a good play.”
A muffed punt with less than two minutes remaining allowed Collegiate to run out the clock.
“We were very fortunate in a couple instances that we forced some turnovers,” Collegiate coach Bill Messamore said.
Early in the game, two Collegiate drives moved inside the 25-yard line, but both ended with no points.
Struggling to score on offense, the Spartans’ defense forced four three-and-outs to open the game.
The scoring drought for Collegiate ended on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Blake Jablonski to Brett LeMaster.
“We were not sharp at all (to start the game),” Messamore said. “But I think our defense did a great job. They had a great week of practice.”
The momentum was shortlived, though, as Marion’s Drew Maddox returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards to tie the game 7-7.
But Jablonski added another touchdown pass to end the half, this time finding Bryce Cornejo across the middle.
Jablonski finished with 297 passing yards.
“You have to credit Marion, because they had a very good scheme against us,” Messamore said. “We were able to move the ball, but when we got near the goal line they were able to keep us out.”
Marion’s Colten Johnson intercepted Jablonski near the end of the third quarter, putting the Warriors at the Collegiate 15-yard line.
Matt Sprowls scored up the middle to tie the game at 14-14 with 10:40 left, but the Spartans answered with Taylor’s score.
Marion (0-2) 0 7 0 7 — 14Collegiate (2-0) 0 14 0 7 — 21
C—LeMaster 17 pass from Jablonski (Lowden kick)M—Maddox 90 kick return (Fruechting kick)C—Cornejo 10 pass from Jablonski (Lowden kick)M—Sprowls 1 run (Fruechting kick)C—Taylor 27 run (Lowden kick)
Rushing—Marion, Boone 19-61, Sprowls 11-12, Johnson 3-4, Maddox 6-49; Collegiate, Taylor 12-102, Jablonski 15-17, LeMaster 2-13.
Passing—Marion, Sprowls 1-2-0-22; Collegiate, Jablonski 23-37-3-297.
Receiving—Marion, Maddox 1-22; Collegiate, LeMaster 7-106, Cornejo 6-65, Bailey 4-63, Searle 5-62, Taylor 1-1.