The Duncan Banner
Mark O’Neal looked out at his players and said with conviction, “This is a starting point for things to come.”
If that is true, folks in Marlow have something to be excited about.
The 3rd-4th grade Outlaws wrapped up an undefeated season in fitting fashion Tuesday, topping Plato Elementary, 20-6 for the Stephens County Youth Football Association championship at Abe Raizen park.
“It feels awesome to win this and go undefeated,” said Marlow quarterback Blake Harris, who scored the Outlaws first and last touchdowns.
The Pirates outgained Marlow, 83-41 in yards off offense in the first half, but went into the break down 7-6 thanks to a 60-yard punt return by Harris and a successful conversion run by Chase Knight.
“They kicked the ball and I kind of lost it, so I had to find it and pick it up,” Harris said. “I picked my way through their players and then I had to get past one more guy. When I got past him it was just open field to the end zone.”
Plato responded later in the second quarter as Bryce Carr took a sweep left on Fourth-and-7, outrunning defenders for a 30-yard touchdown. The Pirates couldn’t tie the game, though, as their conversion pass came up empty.
Marlow padded its lead on the final play of the third quarter. Knight took a handoff and ran it up the middle until Plato defenders grabbed his jersey and pulled him to a stop, but just when it seemed like the play was over, Knight spun, broke free from the tackle and sprinted 68 yards for a touchdown.
The Pirates, though, kept it a one-score game as they stopped Marlow’s conversion run, making it 14-6 heading into the fourth quarter.
In the final period, the Outlaws played like champions.
Marlow forced Plato to turn the ball over on downs twice — the second on the Pirates’ 10-yard line with 1:10 left to play — before Harris dove in from a yard out for the victory-sealing touchdown, making it 20-6 with 22 seconds to go.
“We started out a little slow. Plato was ready for us and we got shell-shocked at first,” O’Neal said. “But our guys went out and did what they were supposed to do: they battled. That’s what they have done all year.”
Marlow finished with 136 yards of offense, all on the ground. Knight led the way with 110 yards on 10 carries, while Case Rich had 14 yards on three carries and Harris ran the ball four times for 10 yards. Trevor Boyster had two yards on three carries.
Plato, which had 134 yards of offense, was paced by Carr, who ran the ball 13 times for 82 yards, while Garett Hughes had 26 yards on four runs. Tate Wilkins threw the games only completed pass; a 27-yard strike to Jake McKinney.