Dukes defeat Quakers again
SALEM — For the second consecutive week, Salem got involved in an offensive shootout with another Eastern Buckeye Conference opponent as the Quakers and Marlington combined for over 800 yards of offense during Friday night’s scoring bonanza at Sebo Stadium.
But unlike last week, when the Quakers pulled out a thrilling last-minute win over Carrollton, this week Salem ran out of time in a 45-35 EBC setback to Marlington.
The Quakers fall to 1-3 overall and 1-3 in the EBC.
Marlington improve to 2-1 overall and 2-1 in the EBC.
Salem had three touchdowns called back by penalties in the game and had another drive stopped just inches short of the goal line on a fourth and goal play in the second half.
“We had four touchdowns called back and the one we didn’t get counted (as a touchdown) which was clearly in,” said Salem head coach Ron Johnson. “It’s really disappointing, we talked a little bit about it last week, it’s just so disappointing the kids do what they do and it’s out of their control.”
It marked Marlington’s fifth straight win over the Quakers.
Salem quarterback Jackson Johnson completed 22-of-28 passes for 290 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions in the game. Standout receivers Blaize Exline and Jax Booth led the Quakers with eight catches for 106 yards and nine catches for 139 yards, respectively.
Marlington’s ground-dominated attack was led by running back Nolan Hooker who had 224 yards rushing on 31 carries and two touchdowns as the Dukes compiled 274 yards on the ground and 132 through the air.
“We thought going in that Nolan (Hooker) could have a big game for us,” said Marlington head coach Mark Gulling. “We thought coming into this year we were pretty good up front with Nolan running.”
Marlington went out to a 14-0 lead, scoring on a four-yard run by Christion’n Hicks at the 5:26 mark of the first period and on a four-yard run by Hooker at the 10:15 juncture of the second period.
“We have been stressing it (the running game) the last couple weeks and thankfully tonight we got rolling a little bit,” said Gulling.
The Dukes also had an 18-yard scoring pass late in the first half from Evanich to Brenden Hamilton.
Salem, which had three touchdowns called back by penalty in the first half and also missed a 26-yard field goal attempt as time expired, overcame those mistakes to still score twice in the opening 24 minutes and only trailed 21-14 at halftime. The Quakers scored on a three-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to Exline and a 28-yard scoring aerial from Johnson to Booth, which pulled the Quakers within 21-14 with 1:23 showing before half.
“Now we can play a lot better, we need to play a lot better and we left a lot of points on the field but some things were just so much out of their control,” said Johnson.
Marlington opened the second half with a five-yard scoring pass from quarterback Connor Evanich to Rome Simms to go up 28-14.
But Salem answered with a nine-yard scoring toss from Johnson to Exline from nine yards out to close within 28-21 with 6:13 left in the third.
The Quakers then drew within a single point when Booth hauled in a 35-yard scoring toss from Johnson but the Quakers missed the PAT booth and trailed 28-27 with 2:57 left in the third quarter.
Marlington came back to go up 35-27 on a Christian Hicks one-yard run and PAT kick, making it 35-27 with one second left in the third quarter.
Salem got closer when a Marlington running back was tackled in the end zone for a safety as the hosts closed within 35-29 with 8:02 left.
“They keep fighting and do everything to give themselves a chance to win, there’s just some things taken away from them and there’s nothing you can do about it,” said Johnson.
But Marlington linebacker Donnie Grimes intercepted a Salem pass in a game-changing play on the Quakers’ next series. The Dukes turned that turnover into a 36-yard field goal by Caleb Carr that hit the crossbar and bounded through, giving MHS a 38-28 lead with 3:59 left.
Salem closed within 38-35 when Exline hauled in a one-yard scoring toss from Johnson with 2:01 left. The Quakers’ PAT boot failed.
But Marlington locked up the win when Hooker bolted 25 yards to the end zone with 1:33 left to close out the 10-point win with Carr’s PAT kick.
¯ Marlington won last year’s meeting with the Quakers, 24-16.
The season hits the halfway mark next Friday night when Salem travels to Minerva for an EBC battle with the Lions.
“Our kids are good kids and this is another learning experience and we’re going to play again in seven days and we’re going to get better and we’re going to win some,” closed Johnson.
SALEM: 0-14-15- 6–35
M — Christion’n Hicks, 4 run, 5:26 1st (Caleb Carr kick)
M — Nolan Hooker, 4 run, 10:15 2nd (Caleb Carr kick)
S — Blaize Exline, 3 pass from Jackson Johnson, 7:32 2nd (Kick failed)
M –Brenden Hamilton, 18 pass from Connor Evanich, 2:56 2nd (Caleb Carr kick)
S — Jax Booth, 28 pass from Jackson Johnson, 1:23 2nd (Jackson Johnson run)
M –Rome Simms, 5 pass from Connor Evanich, 8:08 3rd (Caleb Carr kick)
S –Blaize Ezline, 9 pass from Jackson Johnson, 6:13 3rd (Kick good)
S — Jax Booth, 35 pass from Jackson Johnson, 2:57 3rd (Kick failed)
M — Christion’n Hicks, 1 run, :01 3rd (Calen Carr kick)
S–Marlington runner tackled in end zone for safety, 8:32 4th
M–Caleb Carr, 36 field goal, 3:59 4th
S–Blaize Exline, 1 pass from Jackson Johnson, 2:01 4th
M–Nolan Hooker, 25 run, 1:33 4th (Caleb Carr kick)
First downs 26 23
Total yards 427 422
Rushes-yards 32-274 23-132
Passing 139 290
Comp-Att-Int 10-15-1 22-28-3
Punts 2-35 2-40
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 7-60 8-55
RUSHING – Marlington, Nolan Hooker 31-224, Christion’n Hicks 7-29, Connor Evanich 4-15; Salem, Jackson Johnson 13-75, Blaize Exline 3-21, Jason Austin 4-27
PASSING – Marlington, Connor Evanich 10-15-139-1-0; Salem, Jackson Johnson 22-28-290-4-3
RECEIVING – Marlington, Brenden Hamilton 3-35, Simms 3-46; Salem, Blaize Exline 8-106, Jax Booth 9-139, Donnie Oesch 2-28, Austin Sinkovich 1-21
INTERCEPTIONS – Marlington, Donnie Grimes, Nolan Hooker, Luke Tortola.