HICKMAN -- As part of an effort of neighbor helping neighbor helping neighbor, Marshall County teamed up with Fulton County to collect items to help victims in Waverly, Tennessee of last week’s horrific flooding.
As nice as that gesture was, it was as far as the goodwill went.
The Marshals hammered Fulton County with six scores in the first quarter and scored all their points in the first half for a 46-6 win in Hickman Friday night.
The victory moved Marshall County to 2-0 for the first time since 2006.
Marshall scored via its offense and defense to build a 25-0 lead in the first 10 minutes. On just the second play from scrimmage, Kameron Bowerman rumbled 54 yards with just 1:02 gone in the game. A minute later, the Marshals’ defense pressured the Pilots (0-2) back for a safety.
Aiden Dunigan capped an eight-play drive that covered 48 yards with his four-yard scoring run. Dunigan, a sophomore rusher, led with 117 yards off six carries in the game.
Meanwhile, Marshall County’s defense remained a roadblock for Fulton County on its next possession, losing 15 yards in the process to its own 5 yard mark for fourth down. On the ensuing punt, the ball never cleared the end zone and resulted in another safety and 18-0 Marshal lead with 4:44 left in the opening frame.
Also among the defensive highlights were three interceptions by Conner Nix, Brodie Young and Wilson Shadowen.
“The defense did a good job getting us safeties and getting us set up in great field position all night. (The) offense obviously just kept on scoring there in the first half,” said head coach Steven Etheridge. “All in all, a good team win in all phases.”
Landon Utley scored the first of his two touchdowns in the game on Marshall’s next possession from a yard out. Utley, a junior, opened the 51-yard drive with a 25-yard carry and took a lateral pass from Quinn Smith on the next play for a 15-yard pick up.
He would score the Marshals’ final touchdown on a 3-yard run with 1:11 remaining in the half and finish with 68 yards rushing.
Smith was 2-for-3 passing for 39 yards with a touchdown strike to Tyler Orlandi. Orlandi’s score came on the first play of Marshall’s fourth series with 13 ticks left in the first quarter for a 32-0 lead.
The Pilots were able to move into Marshall territory but turned the ball over on downs with an incomplete pass on 4th and 17 from the visitor’s 46 yard mark. A pair of Bowerman runs for 34 yards set up Jackson Mahmet’s 19-yard touchdown run.
Fulton County avoided the shutout when Jayden Smith recovered a fumble and returned it 72 yards with 4:10 left in the third quarter.
It marked the first game the Marshals played without the services of senior tight end and linebacker Riley Smith. Smith suffered a season-ending ACL injury in the win over Ballard Memorial a week prior. Etheridge said it is a huge loss but gives others a chance to step up and help the team.
“Riley’s a team captain for us and he’s going to be here to support us, but when one goes down you’ve got to have others step up,” the second-year coach said. “You can’t really replace Riley because he does so many good things for us, but it gives other guys some reps and they can get better as we go.”
The 2-0 start is another step for Marshall County and another confidence building block. Next Friday, the Marshals will host a high-powered offense in Northpoint Christian from Southhaven, Mississippi near Memphis. The Trojans are 0-2 but have tallied a combined 115 points while also allowing 130 to Tennessee’s Jackson Christian (56-46) and Brighton (74-69).
“No disrespect to Fulton but they have a lot more depth and a lot more they can do on the offensive side,” Etheridge said. “We’re going to have to step it up a notch defensively and offensively.”