Marion Local rallies in 20-7 win over Minster

Staff Writer

For a program that has won four straight state championships and at times made it look easy, the Marion Local Flyers still love a good challenge. They got one in a 20-7 win over fellow defending state title holder Minster on Friday night.

Marion Local (4-0, 2-0 MAC) cakewalked to its two previous wins over Beallsville and New Bremen by a combined 116-13 score. This one, on the other hand, was full of landmines.

Without their starting quarterback all night and suddenly trailing early in  the third quarter to the defending Division VI state champion Wildcats, Flyer head coach Tim Goodwin said he was having a ball on the sideline.

"It's fun," Goodwin said. "The kids are into it, I'm screaming my head off on the sideline, yelling about everything. Well, maybe the kids weren't enjoying me yelling at them, but that's what we live for. The competition. The last two weeks weren't too much fun. This is what we train for."

Back-up Flyer quarterback Duane Leugers broke off a long cutback run to jumpstart a response. Aaron Nietfeld found vindication for his two fumbles on the night with a nine-yard touchdown run and a knifing two-point conversion run.

The score righted the ship for the Flyers, who went up 14-7 midway through the third quarter. Goodwin's gang then tacked on another bruising touchdown drive capped by Nietfeld's six-yard touchdown run. It all added up to an escape in a battle of defending state champions by a 13-point margin.

"We had to respond in a similar fashion against McComb in Week 1," Goodwin said. "That's just what our kids do. They're competitors."

Marion Local moves to 4-0 and 2-0 in the Midwest Athletic Conference. The Flyers host St. Henry next Friday night.

"That's a really good football team," Minster head coach Geron Stokes said. "Physically, they just mashed us. I thought our kids fought, but our big-time players just aren't making plays right now."

Minster (2-2, 0-2 MAC) travels to Versailles next Friday.