Michael Showalter wears a tight end’s number nine, but he rarely runs patterns beyond the line of scrimmage. If he does leave his station next to the tackle, it’s because he is pancaking his blocking assignment back toward the endzone. Against the Tyner Rams, Showalter dominated his matchup snap after snap, setting the tone for a Marion County team that controlled the line of scrimmage, time of possession, and game in a 23-0 shutout against the visiting Tyner Rams.
“Mentally or physically, they haven’t been beaten like this,” Showalter said.
“Tyner finally started feeling it at the end of the game, and they got a whooping.”
Marion County had four viable ballcarriers on any given play, and three of them displayed their great ability out of the backfield in the first quarter. Lead back Taye Hutchins carried the ball 15 times in the first half and rushed for three, 12, six, one, and four yard carries on that first drive. He often waited for blocks to develop as he executed his fake handoffs and hesitations before exploding through gaps created by his offensive line.
Those fakes were often extremely effective because of how deadly his backfield mates were when he actually did hand off the rock. Alex Condra and Rylee Rogers were a threat from either side, shifting around the grass like purple fireflies lighting up the Ram defense. With 6:58 left in the first quarter, Hutchins feigned a handoff to a left-sweeping Condra, and Tyner’s defense was unsettled by the shift.
Hutchins then raced around the right side and dove to the pylon, beating the out-of-position defense to the corner and the enzone for a four yard touchdown run. Aside from a 16 yard pass to Condra in the flat on that drive, Marion County’s offense gained every yard on the ground. Meanwhile, Tyner’s offense was a bit more balanced, being captained by their excellent field general Josh Jackson.
The Rams established the ground game by handing off to Javell Woodruff for decent yardage, but had early success throwing short passes to their litany of solid receivers. Jackson has a strong arm, and fit in passes to Marcus Lewis for ten yards and Zashun Hubbard for another six on early drives. However, Marion County’s defense stayed disciplined and rarely gave up the big play.
After forcing a fourth down stop on Tyner with three minutes left in the second, Marion County got back to work bleeding the clock and steadily gaining yardage. Big-time blockers like Kane Bohannon and Trace Adams led an offensive line that seemed to relish grinding the Rams down the field. Marion County produced 240 rushing yards on 53 carries, none going longer than 12 yards downfield.
“Our whole offensive line are just a bunch of dogs,” Showalter said. “Even when something they goes wrong, they still are in there fighting. I appreciate them a lot.”
But the visitors stiffened in the shadow of their own goalposts, as linebacker Josiah Bridgeman and linemen Jonah Chapman and Anthony Sims stuffed the Warrior ballcarriers on three straight downs to force a Tyler Minton chipshot field goal to make it 10-0. Not to be outdone, Marion County linebacker Austin Anderson picked off a tipped Jackson pass to give the ball back to his team on the next possession. The Warriors went into halftime with a double-digit lead.
Tyner came out of the second half with a semi-successful formula, opting for a short passing game with the majority of the targets going to Marcus Lewis on swing passes out of the slot. Jackson’s on-time tosses, along with solid Woodruff runs, moved the Rams to the five-yard line, where the Rams faced a fourth and one. Tyner’s chance at getting back into the game vanished on the next play, when a fumbled snap was recovered by Anderson on the 15 yard line.
“We were going to bend but not break,” coach Dale Pruitt said. “Tyner has a lot of speed, and we tackled extremely well tonight.”
Condra, in a situation that almost seemed to mock the Tyner faithful in attendance, picked up 10 yards out of the power-I on fourth and one on the Warriors next possession. And even when Marion County was forced to punt, their kick sailed over every Tyner Ram and was downed on the two yard line. Everything seemed to go right for the Warriors.
Marion County erased any hope the Rams had of winning in a dominant fourth quarter. The Ram attack was stymied by the Warriors, who continued to not break and barely bent. And on a play reminiscent of his fourth down conversion, Condra blasted up the middle and dragged half of the gold and maroon defense with him into the endzone for a ten yard score.
“Tyner’s a good and physical team, but we came out hot on that first drive and did our thing (the rest of the game),” Showalter said. “We pounded the ball and had a great game.””
After a Rylee Rogers pick, Hutchins put the finishing touches on Marion County’s convincing win with one last touchdown drive. The versatile back who rushed for 83 yards on 22 carries toted in his second touchdown of the game with five minute left, this time on a sneak from under center on the one-yard line. Marion County is now 6-0, while Tyner slips to 5-1 in 4A-Region 3.
“I felt like defensively, we had a good scheme, and our coaches did a good job,” Pruitt said. “A lot of times, people don’t think about the assistants. But they did an excellent job and I’m pretty much just the cheerleader.”
TYNER ACADEMY RAMS: 00 00 00 00 - 00
MARION COUNTY WARRIORS: 07 03 00 13 - 23
6:58 MC Hutchins 4yd Run
5:37 MC Hinton FG Good
8:22 MC Condra 10yd Run
5:53 MC Hutchins 1yd Run
TYNER MARION COUNTY
RUSHING YARDS: 42 240
PASSING YARDS: 55 19
PASSING: 15-22-2 2-4-0
TOTAL YARDS: 97 259
TYNER RUSHING: Deonta Taylor 2-3yds, Javell Woodruff 11-34yds, Jarrius Cameron 2-5yds
MARION COUNTY RUSHING: Taye Hutchins 22-83yds-1td, Alex Condra 18-87yds, Rylee Rogers 6-33yds, Sam Pickett 7-37yds
TYNER PASSING: Josh Jackson 15-22-55yds-0tds-2ints
MARION COUNTY PASSING: Taye Hutchins 2-4-19yds
TYNER RECEIVING: Marcus Lewis 6-28yds, Travis Ruffin 3-17yds, Zazhun Hubbard 3-12yds, Javell Woodruff 2-(-7), Jarrius Cameron 1-5yds
MARION COUNTY RECEIVING: Alex Condra 1-16yds, Rylee Rogers 1-3yds
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