By John Raffel
MARION – Marion finished its season at 11-1 and state runners-up in the Division 2 eight-player football game at the Northern Michigan University Superior Dome in Marquette with a 36-18 loss to Adrian Lenawee Christian (13-0) on Saturday.
The Eagles scored first when Gaven Prielipp dramatically returned the opening kickoff 77 yards in the first quarter for a touchdown and 6-0 lead.
But Adrian Lenawee scored the next 36 points to put the game away. It was 14-6 after the first quarter 29-6 at halftime and 36-6 after the third.
Marion scored 12 points in the final quarter. Collin McCrimmon threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to JP Williams and Cole Meyer had a 4-yard rushing touchdown.
In the final stats, Adrian Lenawee had a 16-14 edge in first downs. Marion led in rushing yardage 169-38 but Adrian Lenawee dominated in passing 325-114.
Meyer rushed for 72 yards compared to 52 for Prielipp and 45 for McCrimmon, who was 7-of-14 in passing for 114 yards. Meyer caught three passes for 28 yards and Prielipp had two for 44. Camden Powell and Meyer had nine tackles apiece. Aaron Whitney had eight tackles.
“We are really proud of our boys, they have competed at a very high level all season,” Marion coach Chad Grundy said. “Going into the Final we knew that we had to stop the big plays by Lenawee Christian, and we struggled to do that as they have a great team with a lot of speed and it put a lot of pressure on our defense.
“We did have some bright spots on the day. Gavin Prielipp returned the opening kickoff for a TD and I loved how hard our kids played in the second half. JP Williams had a 30-yard touchdown reception to start the fourth quarter and Cole Meyer punched in another score a few minutes later.”
It was a memorable season. “We are saying good bye to a great senior class of Gavin Prielipp, Braden Prielipp, Quinn Scott, Hayden Ostrowski, Gage Baker, Camden Powell, Aaron Whitney, Dominic Eling, Tucker Sigafoose, Dawson Troost, Anthony Baker and Logan Nobles,” Grundy said. “This Class has a record of 40-6 the last four years with four regional titles, three conference titles and a trip to the state finals. They will be greatly missed.”