The War Eagles traveled 40 miles south this week to Stockbridge High School for their quarterfinal matchup. While the game was nothing like Marist’s previous week against Carrollton that ended in five overtimes, the Stockbridge Tigers still pulled the ball back and forth across the field until the game ended in a 15-7 War Eagles victory.
Marist took the lead in the game as senior Thomas Andrews scored a 23-yard field goal with 4:52 left in the first quarter. However, with the ball being battled over the entire second quarter with turnovers, penalties, and fumbles, Stockbridge came back to score a touchdown with just 12 seconds left in the half.
Senior Gray King put the War Eagles back on top in the third quarter with a touchdown run with 4:06 remaining. After Marist lost the ball on a fourth down just a little while later in the fourth quarter, the War Eagles punted just short of the goal line. Senior Greg Taboada was able to stop the Stockbridge quarterback in the end zone just over two minutes into the quarter, though, giving his War Eagle team a safety and two points. The game ended with junior Fletcher Malloy’s 18-yard field goal with 4:32 remaining, making the final 15-7.
“There’s no question that the reason we won that game was because of the game our defense had,” Coach Alan Chadwick said. “We’re not playing really well offensively right now. We have to block better, we have to run harder, and we have to take care of the football.”
Along with the disappointment of the offense, not everything went well for the War Eagles as King’s season ended during the game with a broken collarbone. King has the most touchdowns in the playoffs (five) and the second most rushing yards (156) after quarterback senior Myles Willis. Defensively, King has gotten seven solo tackles, two tackle assists, and one blocked kick during the season. Chadwick, however, says the team has to “find a way to overcome” the loss that comes with King’s injury.
This week, the team will go 110 miles northwest to Ridgeland High School (just south of Chattanooga), a team Marist has played twice in its history, for the semifinal matchup. Even with the distance, Chadwick believes that a great crowd will show up to show Marist spirit and that the War Eagles will continue to fight against adversity.
“That’s what you’re going to get this time of the year when you’re playing good football teams. They’re going to make plays; you’re going to make plays. The opportunities to handle adversity are much more prevalent; we’re handling adversity well at this point in time.”