To shouts of "You've got to have faith" coming from its bench, the Dublin Scioto High School football team had one more shot.
But visiting Marion-Franklin, which watched a 24-point, fourth-quarter lead get smaller and smaller because of turnovers and mistakes, was able to hold on for a 40-35 victory on Friday, Sept. 2.
Scioto's final drive ended when quarterback Evan DeMars' pass fell incomplete on fourth-and-16 at the Red Devils' 40-yard line with 32 seconds left.
Marion-Franklin improved to 2-0 and Scioto dropped to 0-2.
"Those kids over there for Scioto just kept on fighting, fighting and fighting," Marion-Franklin coach Brian Haffele said. "We've got a lot of work to do if we think we're going to be a playoff contender. When you get a chance to put a game away, you've got to put it away."
The Red Devils had three turnovers in the second half, including an interception by Scioto's Ryan Duncan, who returned the ball 19 yards for a touchdown to make it 26-16 with 8 seconds left in the third quarter.
Marion-Franklin quarterback Corry Benson ran for a 93-yard touchdown with 8:13 left in the first quarter and threw two touchdown passes in the second quarter, as the Red Devils led 20-7 at halftime.
Benson, who completed 10 of 22 passes for 331 yards, connected with Joe Alverson on a 70-yard touchdown pass to give the Red Devils a 20-0 lead with 4:05 left in the second quarter. Alverson also caught an 85-yard touchdown pass with 11:34 left in the fourth quarter to give Marion-Franklin a 34-16 lead.
The Red Devils totaled 289 yards on their seven touchdowns.
"They had a stretch of too many big plays, but I thought our defense really stepped up in the second half," Scioto coach Karl Johnson said. "We took advantage of what the defense was giving us in that first half and the kids played their tails off."
DeMars completed 19 of 39 passes for 222 yards with three touchdowns, including a 15-yard touchdown pass to Tim Shadoan that cut the Irish's deficit to 40-28 with 7:45 to play.
William Houston's 1-yard touchdown run with 5:53 left cut the lead to 40-35 four plays after Marion-Franklin's Cameron McCuen fumbled at the Irish 12-yard line.
"We just lost our composure in the second half," Alverson said. "We're fortunate to get out of here with a win tonight."
MARION-FRANKLIN 8 12 6 14 -- 40
DUBLIN SCIOTO 0 7 9 19 -- 35
MF--Benson 93 run (Alverson run)
MF--Fambro 19 pass from Benson (run failed)
MF--Alverson 70 pass from Benson (pass failed)
DS--Hinton 23 pass from DeMars (Duncan kick)
DS--Duncan 43 FG
MF--Strider 3 run (pass failed)
DS--Duncan 19 interception return (pass failed)
MF--Alverson 85 pass from Benson (Dukes pass from Benson)
MF--Fambro 19 run (run failed)
DS--Davis 14 pass from DeMars (pass failed)
DSShadoan 15 pass from DeMars (kick failed)
DSHouston 1 run (Duncan kick)