Celebrating Homecoming week is always sweeter with a win. And that is just what the Bulldogs did in front of a packed house.
Keeping their playoff hopes alive, the Marion Bulldogs improved to (5-3) overall and (3-1) in District. The Karnes City Badgers remain winless in District (0-3) and dropped below .500 in the season (3-4) in a 51-27 final.
Senior quarterback Zach Goodwin scored four touchdowns on a total of 11 carries for 140 yards. He threw for one touchdown while completing 13 of his 22 passes for 190 yards and one interception.
The Bulldog offense ripped up 540 yards of total offense, while allowing 397 for Karnes City. That 540 yards surpassed its previous high total yards of 399 against non-district opponent in week four against Hondo.
Within the first six minutes of the opening quarter, two touchdowns, a fumble on a punt by the Bulldogs and one blocked extra point led to a Marion lead of 7-6.
On the next Bulldog possession after the Badgers score, the offense wasted little time adding to their lead. Goodwin scored the second of his three first quarter touchdowns from 10 yards away, and his third from two yards out.
With less than two minutes remaining in the first quarter, the Marion defense stepped up. Senior defensive back (clutch) Hutch Rabenaldt was able to pick off a pass giving the ball back to his offense. Three plays later, Goodwin’s pass was picked off. A pick six by sophomore defensive back Adan Rackley closed the door on the first quarter and Marion had a commanding lead, 27-6.
The second quarter got very sloppy penalty wise. The Marion defense was able to overcome a defensive pass interference call on a third-and-25.
After giving up back to back first downs, the Badgers were poised to cut into the Bulldog lead. On third-and-12 at the Marion 23-yard-line, senior linebacker Cade Baumann was able to shoot the gap and drop the quarterback for an 11-yard loss and Karnes City was forced to punt.
After back-to-back carries, running back Cade Baumann earned the Bulldogs a first down on its own 40. A 30-yard run by Ray Rayos on the next play, gave the home team a first on the Badgers 31. Two plays later Goodwin found Jacob Devora wide open down the side line for a 34-yard touchdown with 4:15 left before the half.
The Badgers answered with a five play, 80-yard drive ending in a one yard quarterback keeper tome the score 34-13. The Bulldogs ran the remaining two minutes of time left on the clock before the half. A 30-yard field goal by Juan Ortiz ended the half with Marion in full control, 37-13.
To open the second half, the Badgers drove 75 yards in eight plays culminating in a 30-yard run up the middle of the Bulldog defense to score a touchdown, cutting the Bulldog lead to 37-20.
Marion’s offense took the field with good field position inside the 50-yard-line. After gaining one first down, the offense sputtered and turned the ball over on downs at the Badger’s 29-yard-line.
The next Karnes City possession had multiple penalties on both sides. Tempers were starting to show and dead ball personal fouls on both teams were firing up the crowd. A defensive pass interference by Marion gave the visitors a first down at the Bulldog 25.
After working their way down to the Bulldog eight-yard-line, the wheels came off the wagon — so to speak. A bad snap went over the quarterback’s head for an 11-yard loss. Back to back incomplete passes gave the ball back to the Bulldogs on downs.
Another 80-yard drive by Marion ended in a eight-yard touchdown by Ray Rayos, extending the lead to 44-20 early in the fourth quarter.
An 81-yard touchdown reception by junior receiver Aaron Smith from senior quarterback Braden Bowen ended the scoring for Karnes City in the game.
The Bulldogs final score of the night covered 69 yards in eight plays, ending with an 18-yard run by Goodwin to seal the 24-point margin of victory.
Marion is in a four way tie for first with each team having one district loss. (Cotulla, Jourdanton, Marion, Randolph)
“That’s right where we want to be,” head coach Ryne Miller said after the game. “Our offense started clicking a little bit tonight. They did really well. Our defense had a pick six, we pooch kicked it and recovered it. It was a total team effort in all phases of the game. Offense, defense and special teams all got involved tonight.”
The Bulldogs have a bye this week, giving them two weeks to prepare for the Cotulla Cowboys. The Cowboys beat Jourdanton Friday night 20-14. Kick off will be at 7:30 p.m. on November 1 in Cotulla.