DRAFFENVILLE – On their opening possession, McLean County’s Cougars netted minus-one yard.
On Marshall County’s first play from scrimmage, following a short Cougar punt, Jamie Gilland rumbled eight yards straight ahead.
Two plays later, Gilland was in the end zone after a 25-yard run.
The contrast was a sign of things to come, as the Marshals rolled to a 56-7 victory in the Hall of Fame game, the season opener for the home team, Friday night at Carroll Traylor Stadium.
“I was worried going in,” Marshals coach Ron Barnard insisted. “I didn’t know how it was gonna turn out.”
It turned out just fine, as the Marshals had seven players score touchdowns in a variety of ways and a defensive effort that completely shut down the Cougar offense.
McLean County’s one TD came on an interception return by Jordan Hampton, who picked off a Clay Allen pass in the first quarter and went untouched to the end zone to make it 7-7.
The tie was short-lived, as Marshall ran off 21 straight points, including a two-point conversion run by Nolan Nichols.
Junior quarterback Clay Allen had a 2-yard rushing TD and Gilland got his second score on a 30-yard punt return. A two-point conversion run failed.
Then, Allen passed to Austin Spicer for a 16-yard strike. The conversion by Nichols gave the Marshals a 28-7 halftime lead.
Nichols, Cody Gregory, Hardin Cosner and Marty Holbrook added second-half TDs to the tally.
Nichols, Cosner and Holbrook got their TDs on the ground, while Gregory pulled in a pass from Cole Barnard for his score.
Meanwhile, the defense stepped up and held McLean County to zero net yards in the second half.
“We talk about being a team that finishes,” Barnard said. “We challenged them at halftime.”
Gilland had 123 yards rushing, picking up triple-figures yardage on only six carries.
Allen completed six of 13 passes for 66 yards and one touchdown, with the one interception. Barnard was good on one of two passes, the TD strike to Gregory.
On defense, three Marshals – Travis Griggs, Eddie Morris and Nichols – had six solo tackles. Griggs and Morris also had four assisted tackles to chart 10 stops apiece.