Apollo secured the number two seed in the 5A District 1 playoffs with their 30-14 win over Marshall County Friday and improved their record to 7-2 while the Marshals fall to 3-6 with one game remaining in the season.
Following the loss, Marshals Head Coach Evan Merrick said momentum was never in their favor but key stops led to points on the board late in the first quarter after Apollo scored on their first two drives.
The first drive went 80 yards, scoring on a nine yard run by Mariano McKenzie with the extra point attempt blocked by the Marshals. Apollo went up 14-0 on their next drive, going 72 yards and scoring on a 17 yard pass from Colby Clark to Peyton Peters, adding the two-point conversion.
The late first quarter score for the Marshals came with 42 seconds left on a 31 yard pass from Skyler Smith to Lucas Nichols with Chet Cretsinger adding the extra point.
An Apollo dropped punt snap gave the Marshals great field position at the Eagles 43 yard line with four minutes remaining in the second quarter but they were unable turn it into points. One more Marshall possession before the half ended in an interception by Jeffrey Johnson, ending the first half with a 14-7 Apollo lead.
Apollo added two points on a safety in the third quarter when the snap went over the head of Marshall County punter Austin Riley and following the kick from the 20 yard line, Apollo set up at the Marshals 40 yard line and scored on a 22 yard pass from Clark to Gatlin Humphrey to take a 23-7 lead.
The Eagles went up 30-7 near the end of the third quarter following a 56 yard drive that ended with a three yard touchdown run by McKenzie.
The Marshals second touchdown came on a 55 yard drive that was highlighted by a nice gain on a reception by Grant Utley followed by two five yard runs by Mason Green for the score early in the fourth quarter which would be the last time either team found the end zone.
Marshall County had 258 yards of total offence, 76 yards on the ground and 182 yards on the air. Mason Green was the leading rusher with 66 yards on 17 carries. Smith had 18 pass completions on 34 attempts to Nichols and Utley, both with three receptions for 45 yards, Green had two receptions for 22 yards and Buchmeier three receptions for 23 yards.
Apollo finished the game with 350 yards of offense, 259 on the ground on 38 carries led by McKenzie with 214 yards on 21 carries. Clark passed for 91 yards, completing seven of eight attempts. Peters led receivers with three receptions for 44 yards.
The Marshals will play their final game of the season next Friday at home against Spencer County, a Class 4A team out of the 4th District. The Bears will come into the game with a record of 2-7.
“We’ve got to regroup and find a way to end this thing on the positive”, Merrick said. “There’s one more week of football left and it’s a matter of who wants to make the most out of that week.”