A series of halftime adjustments helped ensure that the Marion-Franklin High School football team would keep its City League-South Division winning streak alive.
The Red Devils trailed by a touchdown at the half, but scored three second-half touchdowns to beat visiting Walnut Ridge 22-7 on Sept. 26.
In addition to occasionally lining up senior wide receiver Landon Yeartie in the wildcat during the final two quarters, Marion-Franklin made a blocking adjustment to compensate for Walnut Ridge’s blitz. The move opened up Marion-Franklin’s running game.
The Devils, who increased their league winning streak to 28, improve to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the City-South.
Walnut Ridge dropped to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the league.
“We saw that they were killing us (in the gaps) so we came out with more quarterback runs in the second half,” Marion-Franklin coach Brian Haffele said. “We haven’t run the wildcat much but we had to get our playmaker (Yeartie) the ball. It’s tough to stop. I thought we made a big statement tonight.”
Walnut Ridge took a 7-0 lead with 7 minutes, 42 seconds left in the first half on a 2-yard run by Jaisean Jackson. The score was set up when Marion-Franklin attempted a fake punt on fourth-and-20 from its own 31 and got just 3 yards.
Marion-Franklin tied it at 7 with 9:48 to go in the third quarter when Shannon Royster ran for a 6-yard touchdown. The drive included 28 yards on five carries by Yeartie and a 16-yard run by quarterback Justin Tyler.
The Devils made it 14-7 on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Tyler to Omar Alfred with 10:11 remaining. The score was set up by a 19-yard run by Yeartie three plays earlier that moved Marion-Franklin to the Walnut Ridge 6.
The Devils’ Willie Barns closed the scoring with a 1-yard run and Tyler hit Barns for the two-point conversion with 8:15 left.
“We went into the locker room and made some adjustments,” Yeartie said.
Yeartie rushed for 91 yards and Tyler passed for 74 to lead Marion-Franklin. Walnut Ridge finished with just 89 yards of offense.
“They’re a quality team and have been for years,” Walnut Ridge coach Byron Mattox said. “We’ve got to make plays. Their playmaker, (Yeartie), made things happen.”
WR--Johnson 3 run (Ndongo kick)
MF-- Royster 6 run (Thomas kick)
MF--Alfred 6 pass from Tyler (Thomas kick)
MF--Barns 1 run (Royster pass from Tyler)