DRAFFENVILLE – An unsatisfying victory Sept. 7 against Webster County was hardly what Marshall County coach Ron Barnard has been looking for in this Marshal team.
Friday night’s 48-27 homecoming win over Calloway County was much more like it.
Senior Jamie Gilland exploded for six touchdowns and 300 yards. Hardin Cosner added a seventh TD and Nolan Nichols rushed for 101 yards as the Marshals piled up 492 yards on the ground.
Just as significantly, the Marshals kept one of the region’s more potent offensive units under control. Lakers quarterback Tyler Greer, who is rewriting the Calloway record book, completed 20 of 37 passes for 259 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for the fourth Laker TD, but the Marshals held Calloway to a net 60 yards rushing.
Also significant was the fact that the Marshals kept their poise when Calloway threatened to make comebacks.
MC took a 6-0 lead on Gilland’s first TD run from 16 yards out with just under five minutes left in the first quarter, but early in the second period, an interception gave the Lakers the ball on the Marshall 38. A 10-yard pass from Greer to Justin Pollack and the first of three conversion kicks by Austin Krieter made it 7-6.
The Marshal offense shook off the turnover and answered almost instantly. Cody Gregory returned the ensuing kickoff 30 yards to the Marshal 42 and Gilland took a pitch and rambled 19 yards to the Calloway 39.
After a five-yard loss, Cosner ran through a gaping hole in the line and went untouched 45 yards to the end zone. Brock Herndon’s kick made it 13-7, and although Calloway would claw to within a single-touchdown margin twice more, the Marshals maintained command the rest of the way.
Gilland got his second TD on a 36-yard run about five minutes after Cosner’s score. The Marshal defense stopped Calloway on three plays, pushing the Lakers back to their own 22 on a sack by Casey White that showed as a 20-yard loss for Greer, and Marshall County took over at the 27.
A short gain made it second-and-eight at the 29, but Gilland broke free, followed a key block by Noah Steele near midfield and outran the Laker pursuit to the end zone. The play covered 71 yards and gave the Marshals a 26-7 lead.
Calloway cut it to 26-14 with just over a minute left before intermission. Andrew Freher got behind the Marshal secondary and took Greer’s pass in stride down the left sideline, going 67 yards for the score.
Another interception gave Calloway the ball just three plays after halftime. The Marshal defense forced a punt, but another quick offensive miscue – this time a fumble on a muffed exchange – gave the Lakers yet another opportunity. This time, they made good, grinding out 33 yards in seven plays with Greer going the final two yards. When Krieter’s PAT kick missed, it left the Marshals ahead 26-20 with 5:30 to play in the quarter.
A steady MC team then put together its most impressive sustained drive of the year, going 75 yards in 12 plays. The drive ended on the first snap of the fourth period, with Gilland fighting for 11 tough yards. The senior running back then took a pitch and got around the right side of the Laker defense for a two-point conversion and a 34-30 lead.
Calloway made one last charge, mounting a 13-play, 77-yard drive of its own to cut it to 34-27 with 7:28 to play. The TD came on a 19-yard pass from Greer to Pollack.
But an onside kick was recovered by the Marshals, and after four running plays and a five-yard penalty for a false start, Gilland went 42 yards down the right sideline for his fifth touchdown.
The Lakers turned it over on downs at their own 43 on their next possession, and Gilland lit up the scoreboard one last time with 2:06 remaining. Herndon kicked the conversions on both scores for the final margin.