The way the Marion High School football team began its game in Halstead Friday night, a shutout seemed unlikely.
After receiving the opening kickoff, a fumbled handoff on the first play gave Halstead the ball on the Warrior 18-yard line. Two plays later, the Dragons had first down at the Marion 7.
The defense tightened up though, holding Halstead quarterback Blake Beckett to two short runs and an incomplete pass, before the Dragons missed a field goal attempt.
After the touchback, Marion promptly marched down the field, using big runs from Adam Janzen and Caleb Williams. Janzen finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run with 7 minutes, 56 seconds left in the first quarter.
Marion turned the ball over for the second time on its next possession, giving Halstead the ball in Marion territory near midfield. The Dragons mixed receiver screens and runs to get to the Marion 11 before fumbling the ball back to the Warriors.
Both teams traded punts until Trevor Kruse broke a 66-yard run, springing the Warriors to a 14-point lead.
“We probably used our other backs better tonight than we had our slots,” coach Grant Thierolf said. “It’s really nice to have three weapons back there that you can rely on.”
Janzen again led the team in rushing with 114 yards, followed by 72 from Kruse and 59 from Williams. Quarterback Taylor Heidebrecht also ran for 45 yards on nine carries.
Sean Buchanan hurried Beckett on the next drive, resulting in a Williams interception, returning it to the Dragon 23. Janzen soon after scored from 4 yards out, all but sealing the game with 5:41 left in the second.
Janzen scored on another short run to finish scoring at 27-0.
Thierolf said the team made enough mistakes to last a season, but was proud of how his defense played.
“It was a good game from the standpoint that we took control of it and won, but we had a lot of penalties, a lot of mistakes,” Thierolf said. “The good thing is, it’s a win and we’ll learn from it.”
The Warriors’ next district match comes against Hillsboro at 7 p.m. Friday in Marion.