Tribune-Courier News Editor
DRAFFENVILLE – Fueled by poor Ballard Memorial ball handling, junior Jamie Gilland burned the Bombers four times Friday night in Marshall County’s first ever Patriot Bowl. Gilland had key plays in almost all of Marshall County’s scoring drives as the bowl hosts outscored Ballard (2-1) 35-7.
Turnovers plagued the Bombers all night, including a fumble to set up Marshall County’s first scoring drive. Ballard took the opening kickoff from the 28 yard line, relying on the ground game Fontez Hill and Mason Weir to cross midfield. The Bombers advanced to Marshall’s 25 yard line, but fumbled. Marshall County recovered the ball to end the drive.
Starting at the 25 yard line, Marshall County made quick work of getting on the board. Hardin Cosner started with a 13-yard run. Gilland followed with signs of things to come, using the second play to break a 70-yard run. A horse collar tackle ended the run, but only delayed the inevitable. Quarterback Chase Clark punched in the score from the seven-yard line. Clark and Gilland connected for a two-point conversion to put Marshall up 8-0.
Ballard went four and out on their next drive, punting to the 34-yard line. Marshall answered again with two plays— a 12-yard reception by sophomore Austin Spicer and a nine-yard run by Gilland for the second touchdown. The conversion failed as Marshall took a 14-0 lead.
Gilland would score twice in the second quarter. Ballard set up Gilland’s second score of the night after Weir fumbled their third possession at the 18-yard line. Marshall County recovered and advanced with throws to Spicer and Dalton Greenfield. They finished the short drive with two runs by Gilland, the second for the 21-0 lead after Brian Dueker chipped in the extra point.
Gilland would have the final score of the first half following another Bomber miscue. Noah Steele picked off Ballard quarterback Nick Crist at midfield. Back on offense, the Marshals strung together plays by Gilland, Cosner and Clark before getting in striking range with a 15-yard pass to Logan Taylor. Taylor’s play set up a 12-yard run by Gilland for the 28-0 halftime lead after another extra point kick by Dueker.
The Marshals would put in one more score, an 80-yard pass from Clark to Gilland in the third. Dueker added the kick for the 35-0 lead.
Ballard avoided the shutout with a score to open the fourth quarter, a 10-yard pass from Crist to Dre Bledsoe.
With the win, Marshall (2-1) turns attention to Calloway County. The Marshals got a good look at the Lakers (2-2) in the opening game of the Patriot Bowl. Calloway picked up the 35-19 win over Webster County.