Shane Shoemaker – Sports Writer
At this time last year, the Marion County Warriors had already lost three games. One of those three games was against the Sequatchie County Indians.
The loss to the Indians last year was only the second game of the season and yet it was one of the most significant games of the entire year – in the worst way possible.
The Warriors were outlasted last year by the Indians 50-47 on their own home field of Baxter Stadium. For as dynamic as the offense was on that night, nothing else went right.
The Warriors could never get off the field as a defense, they missed multiple PAT’s, and they lost one of their most valuable players in senior running back Alex Condra for the season.
Friday night was much different.
This obviously isn’t the same Warriors team from last season, and particularly from last year’s Sequatchie County game. For one, they’re healthy; and two, they’re more experienced.
Oh, and they’re also undefeated, now 5-0 for the first time since 2021. That matches their entire win total from last season.
The Indians were coming off their first loss of the season entering Baxter Stadium last Friday night, where not even former cross-town rival South Pittsburg put as many points (29) on the Indians.
The No. 5 ranked Class 2A Warriors not only avenged last season’s detrimental loss, they dominated the Indians in every facet, shutting out the Indians 45-0.
The Warriors defense – which looks totally revamped from last season and is allowing an average of just over 11 points-per-game – only allowed the Indians a measly 34 yards of total offense to the Warriors staggering 462. The same defense caused two turnovers on the night as well: one fumble and one interception.
Three Warriors’ defenders – Taylor Scharber, Ashton Martin, and Josh Langston – also caused six sacks, negating the Indians for a total of 52 yards.
For a defense that was suspect last season, the Warriors kept the Indians off the field for a majority of the night, allowing them only 16:37 time of possession to the Warriors 31:23. The Warriors also never allowed the Indians to convert a single third down, going 0 for 8.
As for the Warriors offense, who went 4 for 8 on third down, they only needed the first half to account for their 45 points, scoring 17 in the first quarter and 28 in the second.
The Warriors have opened up the passing game over the last two games. Quarterback Tilton Pickett, who threw for almost 200 yards against Fayetteville, far surpassed that against Sequatchie County, throwing for 267 yards and a touchdown to Sam Pickett, who had seven receptions for 139 yards, along with another 24 yards on the ground and a touchdown.
Running backs Brody Leonard and EJ Wilson also continued their scoring ways, accounting for 193 yards of total offense with three touchdowns. They’ve both scored in all but one game apiece this season, totaling a combined 11 touchdowns for the season.
Next up for the Warriors will be the Brainerd Panthers on the road in a non-region game.