The Marion Bulldogs won’t be able to have a repeat of last week’s win over Cole tonight at undefeated Jourdanton.
The Bulldogs had seven turnovers, four in the air and three on the ground, but an amazing performance from the defense preserved a 30-6 win to put Marion at 2-0 in District 15-3A (4-2 overall).
Tonight, the Bulldogs will have to hold on to the pigskin against Jourdanton (2-0 district, 5-0 overall), a veteran team that returns 11 starters on the offensive side of the ball.
“We stressed it all week, that we have to take care of the football,” head coach Ryne Miller said. “Whether you’re catching the ball, throwing it or running it, we made sure they understand that they have to take care of it.
“Our defense played great. We gave them seven extra possessions that we weren’t planning on, but our defense showed up and helped the offense out.”
The coach was complimentary of the offense and of quarterback Zach Goodwin’s resiliency in overcoming the four picks.
“Zach bounced back from the interceptions well,” miller said. “He’s got an amazing ability to forget about those plays and move on. When we did have a drive going, we put it in the end zone and put points on the board.”
Goodwin’s top pass catchers include Jacob Devora, Jayden Williams and Hutch Rabenaldt, who have accounted for 10 touchdowns between them.
The Bulldogs will have to deal with Indian quarterback Cole Andrus, who thus far in the season has thrown for 20 touchdowns and for more than 1,400 yards.
“They’ve got a great quarterback, the coach’s son, Cole Andrus,” Miller said. “He’s really accurate, throws a great deep ball and has receivers that can go up and make a play.
“Our defensive line is going to have to have a great game, get some pressure on him, get to the right spots and show up with a great effort to be successful.”
Marion will have to stop the run too, as Jourdanton is averaging more than 240 yards on the ground.
Last week’s performance, which saw the defense break a couple of school records in limiting the Cole offense to 46 total yards for the game and get 12 sacks, gives the coach some hope they can slow down the Indians’ potent offense.
“Our defense is excited for the challenge and I think they will be up for it,” Miller said.
The battle of district undefeateds, at the halfway point of the district season, is important for the team to reach its preseason goals, Miller said.
“Obviously, one of our goals is a district championship and the other is to reach the playoffs,” he said. “It’s another game we need to win in district if we want to accomplish those two goals we set at the beginning of the season.
“It’s a big game because they are a really good team. When you get to the playoffs, you play teams like Jourdanton that have really high-powered offenses, with great defenses, so it’s a great challenge for us.”
The Bulldogs and Indians kick off at 7:30 p.m. in Jourdanton.