SHANE SHOEMAKER – Writer
The Marion County Warriors opened up the first round of the TSSAA playoffs with a 21-7 win over the Westmoreland Eagles (5-6) last Friday night.
The win marked the No. 2 ranked Warriors’ eleventh consecutive win this season, keeping their season aspirations alive. It was mostly a defensive showing from the Warriors, who allowed the Eagles 243 yards of total offense but only seven points that didn’t come until under seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Warriors first got on the board with just five seconds remaining in the half on a drive that took only 20 seconds off the clock when Tilton Pickett found Sam Pickett for a 52-yard touchdown reception for a 7-0 lead. Tilton went an efficient 7-for-11 for 98 yards and a touchdown for the night. The rest of the scoring was left up to the Warriors’ impressive ground game that racked up 198 yards in total, with contributions from EJ Wilson (83), Sam Pickett (64), Brody Leonard (18), and Ashton Martin (37).
EJ Wilson scored on a run of 69 yards midway through the third quarter. He accounted for 83 rushing yards and another 24 receiving.
The Warriors’ third and final score, however, came with a little bit of luck after Sam Pickett ran the ball from the Marion 46-yard line all the way to the Eagles’ five but then fumbled when tackled by a Westmoreland defender. An opportunistic Luke Tipton then picked up the ball in the end zone for a Warriors score to make it 21-0.
Friday night’s playoff opening win over Westmoreland was Marion’s sixth opening round win over the Eagles. Marion will now host the East Robertson Indians (10-1) in the second round this Friday night. They defeated the Warriors’ region foe Cascade last Friday, 42-0.
-Photo credits to Gene Fuller and Marilyn Quarles