MARION — There will be no trip to the quarterfinals for Marion this year. A stingy DeWitt Central defense saw to that.
Marion quarterback Trevor Hardman was sacked eight times and the Indians were held scoreless in the second half as Central upended the 10th-ranked Indians, 28-13, in a Class 3A second-round game Monday night at Thomas Park.
“Our defense in the last eight weeks has been phenomenal,” first-year Central Coach Mike Miller said.
“Our ability to stop the run tonight was evidence of the improvement we’ve shown.”
The triple option attack that Miller took to DeWitt (8-3) from a successful stint at Lone Tree was effective.
Quarterback Mitch Green scored on the team’s first play from scrimmage, a 76-yard option keeper down the left sideline that tied the game at 7 in the first quarter.
Green added a 45-yarder in the second quarter. Central rushed for 224 yards while building a 21-13 halftime lead.
The Sabers locked down Marion’s potent ground attack, limiting the Indians, who finished 8-3, to 30 second-half rushing yards.
Marion tailback Trev Biery closed a brilliant senior season with 75 yards and a touchdown on an often-gimpy ankle.
“We can’t hang our heads at all,” Marion Coach Tony Perkins said. “They made some big plays, and we had too many turnovers. I’m proud of our kids. DeWitt played a good game.”
Three straight Marion possessions to start the second half ended in turnovers, the last on a fumble by receiver Quinn Cannoy with 4:49 left in the game and Marion trailing 21-13. Five plays later, Green faked to fullback Chris Keitel (107 rushing yards) and handed to tailback Austin Lechtenberg, who sprinted up the gut for a 38-yard touchdown.
Central, in the Class 3A quarterfinals for the first time since 2007, plays Decorah next.