North Marion entered their yearly showdown against rival Vanguard coming off a thrilling overtime win over Trinity Catholic while Vanguard went back to the drawing board after a beat down by national power Camden County (Ga).
Vanguard would answer the bell playing in front of 5,300-plus at North Marion’s jammed packed Stan Toole Memorial Stadium with a solid 20-6 win over what turned out to be a short-handed Colts squad. North Marion was playing without talented transfer running back/athlete James Allen, starting quarterback Brody Hall-a Vanguard transfer and leading tackler De’Amontae Jackson and they were missed. Aaron Pringle and Myles Stewart did most of the heavy lifting for the Colts’ defense.
North Marion would get some early chances deep in Vanguard territory but were unable to score touchdowns and had to settle for two David Hatcher field goals of 19 and 30 yards and led 6-0 early in the second quarter. From that point forward it was all Vanguard as they took the ensuing possession 4 plays and 80 yards with Ty’ronte Files finishing off the drive with a 37-yard touchdown run tying the game at 6 after a failed extra-point.
Files would strike again for Vanguard two possessions later going 36-yards for a touchdown giving the Knights a 13-6 lead after a successful extra-point with 4:09 left in the quarter. Both teams were careless with the football as each squad had three first half turnovers. After North Marion’s third turnover of the half Vanguard would go 5 plays and 28 yards for another score when Adam Robless hit Cameron Livingston on a fade route for a 5-yard touchdown pass giving the Knights a 20-6 halftime lead.
For North Marion the offense was vastly different from the previous week and never got going as Junior Nick Trino got the start at quarterback instead of Reggie Wilkerson for the injured Brody Hall. Trino, a baseball standout, took his lumps to the tune of 6-21 36 yards and 2 interceptions passing (29 of those yards to Reggie Wilkerson on one play). North Marion Head coach Craig Damon had to convince Trino to come out for the football team earlier last week and had only had one week of full practice with the team. All six of his completions were within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage and everything thrown down the field was off due to either timing or miscommunication with receivers.
The run game provided little help for Trino as the Colts rushed for only 41 yards in the game with running backs Ian Neal and Derrick Harmon getting the bulk of the carries. North Marion finished with only 77 yards of total offense, 41 of those on the ground and two first downs.
“Not once did I think about moving Reggie [Wilkerson] to quarterback, I wanted to be able to get him the ball in space. It was a tough week for us with this flu bug going around but that is no excuse, credit to Vanguard, they beat us and we have to get better”, Damon said on the Total Sports Coverage Scoreboard Show.
Vanguard showed that playing a national powerhouse you can improve. Files rushed for 190 yards and 2 touchdowns and Reshard Sweet had 55 all important yards that setup Files to break big runs. Linebackers Marcus Davis, Kyle Sandner and Deltron Modican camped out in the North Marion backfield all night and Sanchez Loften anchored the secondary with two interceptions for the Knight defense.
“We had more effort tonight and our receivers blocked down field and that helped us. Our linebackers, all of them played great. Davis, Sandner and Modican will hit you and hit you hard, they can play”, Vanguard head coach Alex Castaneda said.
Vanguard is off this week while North Marion will regroup and get ready to host Forest, who defeated Dunnellon 37-20 behind the play of talented two-sport star Jordon Austin.