Fourth Quarter Blast Helps Marion Dominate Pine Bluff
MARION – The Marion Patriots beat Pine Bluff 14-0 in the fourth quarter at Premier Bank Stadium to claim a key 38-24 victory in the Conference 6A-East game on Friday night.
The Patriots (4-4, 3-2) took their first lead in the opening game of the fourth quarter when sophomore Ashton Gray, making his first college start, hooked up with Zion Burnside on a route to ‘coupling. Burnside dodged a pair of tackles en route to the end zone for a 41-yard touchdown, good for a 30-24 Marion lead.
Marion’s defense forced a three and put the offense in position to take control of the game with 10:23 left in regulation.
Marion covered 64 yards in seven games, culminating when fullback Cam Anderson scored at 19 yards. Anderson added a two point conversion to establish the final margin.
“It’s a very good victory for us, a very courageous victory,” said Marion coach Lance Clark. “It’s a big character victory for our guys because we had to come back to do it.”
Marion had to come back because the visiting Zebras (1-6, 0-5) were more than capable from the start. Pine Bluff scored touchdowns and two-point conversions on his first three possessions, taking their biggest lead at 24-14 at the end of the first quarter, a tally that would double the score after the first quarter.
Tailback X’Zavieon Barnett ran 13 and 80 yards for touchdowns to punctuate Pine Bluff’s first two drives before Tyrea Campbell took off 7 yards for the Zebras’ third scoring.
âThe big story for us tonight is when our defense line decided to play hard, our defense was a lot better,â said Clark.
After Campbell’s touchdown, Pine Bluff had just eight first downs and no points the rest of the night.
Marion returned to the game when Brian Weatherspoon ran 18 yards on his first postponement of the night for a score that reduced Pine Bluff’s lead to 24-21.
Marion senior kicker Dylan Pieri tied the Patriots with a 31-yard field goal with 3:51 left in the third quarter.
Gray found out he was starting Thursday afternoon but still completed 12 of 16 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown. The second ran for 93 yards. Anderson rushed for 145 yards and touchdowns spanning 5, 4 and 19 yards.
Barnett ran for 121 yards and two first-half scores.