Shane Shoemaker – Sports Writer
As the first day of fall approached and the temperatures cooled, the Marion County Warriors continued to rise and stay hot, beating the Brainerd Panthers 30-13.
The Warriors took to the road for the second time this season, keeping their perfect record intact. Meanwhile, the Panthers (a non-region opponent), were riding a two game losing skid.
The Warriors, entered the game with a plus-107 score differential, were able to score in every quarter with at least a touchdown in each.
The Warriors turned the ball over on downs on their first drive deep inside the Panthers’ territory. The Panthers took advantage and became only the third team this season to get on the board first against the Warriors for an early lead. Thanks to what has been a consistently stingy Warriors defense, it would be one of only two scores for the Panthers of the night. Their last a late touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Panthers first drive took them six plays and 82 yards that was capped off by 24-yard pass from Anthony Byrd to Jayun Smith, making it 6-0 after a missed extra point.
The Warriors second drive ended with much better results.
Ten plays and 82 yards later on the ensuing drive at just under the six-minute mark in the first quarter, Tilton Pickett connected with Sam Pickett on a five-yard touchdown pass. Then followed by a Leo Polovin PAT, making it 7-6 Marion County.
After missing some time with a bruised thigh, Sam Pickett and his quarterback have created quite the chemistry.
Over the last two games, they’ve connected 13 times for 174 yards and four touchdowns.
Needless to say, the Pickett-to-Pickett connection is lethal, as it made up a majority of the Warriors points scored for the night.
Their next score came after a six-play, 70-yard drive with just under three minutes left in the half that ended with Sam Pickett snagging a five-yard catch to make it 16-6 after Polovin missed the PAT.
Polovin did, however, make a field goal on the Warriors’ previous drive.
The final Pickett-to-Pickett connection happened on the Warriors’ first drive of the second half.
The Panthers were forced to punt deep inside their own 20-yard-line, which gave the Warriors a good field position after the kick, on the Panthers 46-yard-line.
Six plays later, Tilton Pickett found Sam Pickett again, this time for a 4-yard touchdown reception that put the Warriors up 23-6 after the extra point.
The Warriors would score one last time, on yet another Tilton Pickett touchdown pass, but this time it was to EJ Wilson.
Tilton Pickett has come into his own as the season has progressed, nearly doubling his yardage while decreasing his mistakes. In his last three games, including Friday’s game against the Panthers, he’s thrown four touchdowns with no interceptions.
The Marion County quarterback hopes to lead his team to their seventh consecutive victory next week when the Warriors face a former region foe, the Tyner Rams (3-3, 3-0).