THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Marines Maul Panthers for First Win Of Season
From start to finish, the Marinette Marines ran all over the Oconto Falls Panthers Friday night at Higley Stadium. It was back to the basics for Head Coach Andy Walters' squad, run the ball and win the head-to-head matchups. That's exactly what they did on their way to 446 rushing yards which accounted for the majority of their 483 total yards of offense.
"I don't remember the last time we rushed for almost 500 yards against anybody. I'm hoping this helps us establish a little bit of an identity," stated Coach Walters.
After receiving the opening kickoff, the Marines offense wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard. Marinette marched the ball 59 yards in nine plays as James Jagielski capped off the drive on a 4-yard touchdown run. Marinette took a 6-0 lead at the 7:50 mark in the first quarter.
The Marine defense also came out with a vengeance. Four of the first five Panther drives ended in three-and-outs while the fifth lasted just five plays resulting in a turnover on downs.
"They made a lot of plays in the backfield. Our kids were able to play aggressive up front, cover down field and put pressure on the quarterback," Coach Walters said of his defense.
Marinette's third drive found pay dirt. Just over a minute into the second quarter, Jagielski broke free for a 31-yard touchdown run. He capped off the score with a successful two-point conversion run making the lead 14-0 at the 10:50 mark in the second quarter.
A hat trick was completed as Jagielski scored his third touchdown of the half. With just 3:39 left on the clock, he scampered for a 24-yard touchdown. After Connor Nelson ran in the two-point conversion, Marinette took a 22-0 lead heading into halftime.
Oconto Falls received the second half kickoff. On the first play from scrimmage in the half, the Marines forced and recovered a fumble. On the ensuing play, Nelson took the handoff and ran 11 yards for a Marine touchdown making the score 28-0 in a flash.
The end zone party wasn't finished just yet for Marinette as Jagielski had one more reservation for six. On the third play of Marinette's next drive, Jagielski took the ball on a keeper and ran 55 yards to the house. He again ran in the two-point conversion pushing the score to 36-0.
"James had a lot of yards because of what was going on up front but he's a good enough athlete so once he gets into the second level he can make guys miss," said Walters of his versatile quarterback.
On Marinette's second to last drive of the night, Jason Bruning joined in on the action. Bruning capped off an eight-play, 67-yard drive with a 24-yard touchdown run. Another successful two-point conversion made the score 44-0 at the end of the third quarter.
Oconto Falls avoided the shutout with a 43-yard touchdown pass from Michael Manns to Samuel Virtues. Marinette, however, would come away with the victory 44-6 giving them their first win of the season.
"We said we're going to force ourselves to play a physical style of football and I think when you do that it carries over to how you play on defense. We challenged ourselves as a staff and kind of got back to what we feel Marinette football is all about," Walters said of the win.
Jagielski paced the Marine offensive attack with 241 total yards, 37 coming through the air while most of the damage, 204 yards, came on the ground. Jason Bruning added 68 yards rushing while Trey Bretl tallied 52 yards rushing and 11 more receiving.