MARION — For Marion, Friday night was supposed to be a celebration. With a newly renovated stadium and a never-before played on turf field, the Giants had hopes of breaking in their new field with a win.
But by the time the game was over, Mt. Vernon’s 6-foot-3, 225-pound tight-end Dan Werner had left his mark on the new field, as the Marauders handed Marion a 42-9 loss.
Werner, whose brother Pete suffered a broken leg in last week’s game, took advantage of a shaky Marion defense early and often, rushing for 130 yards and four touchdowns in the first half alone.
“Honestly, it’s hard for me to take credit for [my yardage],” Werner said, “Because I feel like every time I was going out, I had wide open holes.”
The onslaught of scoring started almost immediately, as Giants speedster Will Collins — who was in and out of the game with injuries — fumbled a handoff on the team’s first play from scrimmage. After a Marauders recovery, it didn’t take long for Werner to find the end zone on a 13-yard scamper with 7:20 left in the first quarter.
“Obviously we want to get Dan (Werner) the ball,” Mt. Vernon coach Doug Armstrong said after the victory.
The Division I prospect flashed his athleticism when a first-quarter pass from Campbell — which initially looked high — was hauled in by Werner, who still held on as two Giant players converged from opposing directions.
With the game starting to look like a rout early, Marion finally got on the scoreboard in the second quarter with a 31-yard dash by quarterback Lorenzo Trevino, making the score 22-7. However, on the ensuing possession, Werner broke loose once more, this time for 43 yards, putting the game out of reach for good.
Although Werner was the clear-cut star, he was not alone in his rushing efforts. As a team, the Marauders ran for 349 yards on 43 carries.
Senior running back Brayton Shannon also eclipsed the 100-yard mark, finishing with 114 yards on 24 carries. Shannon’s most pugnacious carry was a 12-yard, fourth-quarter run, in which he appeared to be stuffed at the line of scrimmage, only to emerge from the pile, shedding tacklers en route to the end zone.
“You have to give it up for the blocking outside, but the guys inside were working too,” Werner said.
The offense—as if a dormant volcano—was held to just 7 points in last week’s gutting 48-point defeat to Kokomo. This week, the eruption was piloted by junior signal-caller Jimmy Campbell, who Armstrong said after the game earned a “T—for toughness.”
Campbell not only executed Armstrong’s rushing-heavy offense with relatively few mistakes, but also completed 3-of-4 passes for 34 yards. The 5-foot-10 junior’s play helped save the Marauders from falling to 0-2, an occurrence that hasn’t happened since 2008.
As if being without opening day starter Pete Werner wasn’t tough enough for Armstrong and the Marauders, three starters were suspended from Friday night’s game for being in violation of school rules. The suspended players are expected to be back for next week’s homecoming against Greenfield-Central.
“We’ve been through a lot of ups-and-downs,” said Werner, as his teammates celebrated in front of the away bleachers. “We have some kids out and have a lot of injuries, but we fight through adversity, and we always come back.”