MURRAY – It was hardly a thing of beauty, for either team. But at least for Calloway County, it was a victory.
The Lakers won a mistake-filled football game Friday at Jack D. Rose Stadium, the 19-3 decision leaving Marshall County still looking for its first victory of the season at 0-3. Calloway improved to 2-1.
Marshall County played Calloway on fairly equal terms statistically, with a 62-39 edge in passing yardage and rushing (129 to 118). But turnovers and miscues that resulted in huge chunks of lost yardage thwarted the Marshals, kept them out of the enemy’s end zone and put Calloway in position where it did not need to gain much ground.
The only points for Marshall County came on a 32-yard field goal by Ethan Mensch, the kick coming on the first play of the fourth quarter.
That cut the lead to 13-3, but it was a disappointing end to a drive that commenced when the Marshals recovered a third Laker fumble of the night and drove 65 yards to the Calloway 8. Marshall County lined up to go for it on fourth-and-three, but a false start penalty made it a fourth-and-eight and made the field goal the best option.
The Marshal defense stopped Calloway on the ensuing possession and once again the Marshals mounted a drive. But the progress stalled at midfield and ended with a loss on downs.
The Lakers took over on the Marshals’ 44 and took seven plays to get into the Marshall end zone for the third time. Tristen Holland went the final yard.
“We deserved to get beat,” Marshals coach Ron Barnard said. “We got outplayed in every phase of the game.”
In particular, the Marshals struggled to handle the ball on exchanges on snaps. Both quarterback Cole Barnard and punter Mathew Hunt ended up losing big gaps of yardage when they had to chase down loose balls and recover them.
Calloway’s interceptions and fumbles, on the other hand, did them no harm, except for the three points that resulted from the third-quarter fumble.
Barnard felt that his defense played well enough to yield a victory, holding the Lakers to 157 yards and coming up with five takeaways, two interceptions and three fumbles.
Clay Allen picked off a pass from Calloway quarterback Cole Stetson to halt the Lakers’ opening possession.
But that possession ended with the first long-snap miscue of the night and set Calloway up at the Marshall 28. Even though the Lakers went backward from there, Stetson connected on a fourth-down pass to Thad McPherson, who went untouched 37 yards to the end zone. Holland Tetrev’s conversion kick made it 7-0 with 4:55 left in the opening period.
In the second period, another aborted punt turned into a Calloway possession at the Marshal 5. Justen Pollack went the final three yards and even though Tetrev’s kick was off the mark, the Lakers led 13-0 with 3:35 left before intermission.
The Marshals moved the ball from their own 35 to a fourth-and-goal at the Laker 2, but yet another errant snap snuffed the chance for a score with just seconds left before halftime.
In the second half, another Marshal interception, this one by Collin Gunn, gave Marshall County another opportunity. But the Marshals coughed up the ball.
Several plays later, Calloway returned the favor, setting up Marshall County’s only scoring drive. Nolan Nichols was the workhorse of the drive, with Barnard’s passes to Cody Gregory, some nifty running by Dalton Riley and a 15-yard penalty against the Lakers for an out-of-bounds hit all helping to advance the ball.
The loss snapped a six-game winning streak for Marshall County over Calloway.
THIS WEEK: The Marshals visit Ty Holland Stadium for a meeting with Murray on Friday night. The Tigers, 10-3 last year, are off to a tough start this season. They are 1-3 after a loss to Mayfield last week.
1st downs 13 8
Rushes-yds 50-129 38-118
Passes 6-20-2 6-14-2
Passing yds 62 39
Penalties-yds 5-35 11-105
Fumbles-lost 2-0 5-3
MC 0 0 0 3 – 3
CC 7 6 0 6 – 19
CC – Thad McPherson 37 pass from Cole Stetson (Holland Tetrev kick), 4:55, 1st
CC – Justen Pollack 3 run (kick failed), 3:35, 2nd
MC – Ethan Mensch 32 FG, 11:55, 4th
CC – Tristen Holland, 1 run (kick failed), 2:42, 4th