Marion County’s (FL) longest running series continued last Friday night from Booster Stadium in Ocala, FL when the Vanguard Knights hosted their northern county neighbors, the North Marion Colts.
North Marion, ranked fourth in the 5A AP state poll and 19th in the FloridaHSFootball.com Sunshine State 25, got off to a quick 14-0 nothing lead as Caleb Seiler connected with James Mitchell and Justin Watkins for touchdown passes of 43 and 10 yards on the Colts first two possessions.
Vanguard would make it interesting on more than one occasion. After a 7-yard touchdown run by Alonzo Taylor, Vanguard forced North Marion to punt from its own end zone after a three-and-out. North Marion would botch the snap and give up a safety. On the ensuing possession Vanguard faced a fourth and goal for the two yard-line trailing 14-8. North Marion would keep Vanguard out of the endzone and the offense answered by going 98 yards in three plays to take a 21-8 lead on a 9-yard Justin Watkins touchdown run.
A late second quarter Vanguard touchdown made it 21-14 at the half.
In the second half, Vanguard score on a 47-yard screen pass from N’Kosi Perry to Alonzo Taylor to pull within 21-20 after another failed extra point- Vanguard was 0-of-5 on PATs in the game. That would be as close as Vanguard would get.
North Marion proceeded to score 21 unanswered points on a three-yard touchdown run by Cameron Mackey, 27-yard touchdown run by Watkins and 30-plus yard fumble return by defensive/offensive lineman Darius Carr in the third quarter to take a commanding 42-20 lead. Watkins finished with two rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown. Standout wide receiver Freddie Swain did not score a touchdown despite recording close to 100 yard receiving yards
Perry would connect with Darryn Lake on two late touchdown passes for Vanguard to make the final 42-32 score more respectable. Lake finished with three touchdown receptions (all from Perry).
The Colts (3-0) senior-laden defense was led by four-star recruit Jordan Woods, Desmond Carson and Khali Mitchell among others in an good defensive effort barring big plays by Vanguard (2-1).
North Marion won its third consecutive game in the series and lead the overall series 25-23. Vanguard dropped its eighth straight game against ranked opponents since 2012.
North Marion will host Pasco at Stan Toole Memorial Stadium Friday while Vanguard will travel to Lakewood.
The audio broadcast of this contest can be heard on Total Sports Coverage.