Ryan Elliott, J.J. Rogers and the remainder of North Marion’s seniors made their last game on Husky Field a memorable one.
North Marion saved its best all-around performance of the season for Senior Night Friday as the Huskies posted an impressive 23-14 victory over Class AA 14th-rated Lincoln in a Big 10 matchup here last night.
“I really wanted to score on Senior Night,” said Elliott, who led the Huskies with 102 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 23 carries. “It made my night. It was sweet for us to get a win over a good Lincoln team.”
Elliott’s first touchdown came courtesy of an outstanding individual effort on a bruising 24-yard scamper which gave the Huskies’ an early 7-0 lead. His second score was on a one-yard plunge in the third quarter which gave North a 16-7 advantage.
The victory improved North to 2-7 overall and to 2-6 in the league. Lincoln, on the other hand, fell to 5-3 overall and to 3-2 in the conference.
The contest was close throughout until North junior tailback Austin Stanley’s 25-yard touchdown run with 1:34 remaining in the game secured the victory for the Huskies, who never trailed in the contest but saw their nine-point lead trimmed to two early in the final quarter.
North Marion gained all but seven of its 218 total yards of offense on the ground, led by Elliott and Stanley, who contributed 76 rushing yards and one score on 19 attempts. Stanley gained 57 of his rushing yards in the second half.
The Husky defense did its part as well in the victory, sacking Lincoln’s standout junior quarterback Jarrod Kellar four times and forcing several errant throws.
Rogers, a senior defensive end, contributed two sacks and helped to neutralize the Cougars’ rushing attack.
“Kellar is a good quarterback,” said Rogers. “We knew if we gave him time he would have picked us apart. We knew we had to get pressure on him.
“Being a senior and coming out and getting a win tonight is very special for all of us.”
After Lincoln had tied the game 7-7 on Kellar’s lone touchdown pass of the game, a 23-yard hookup to Anthony Gemondo late in the second quarter, North took the lead for good when senior defensive end Quint Markley tackled punter Ty Seibel in the end zone for a safety after an errant snap from center.
Lincoln finished the contest with a slight edge in total offense (238-218), but it was North Marion’s ability to limit the big plays on defense, a problem area all season, that was a key to the victory.
“We played assignment football, and we finally put together four quarters of solid football,” said North coach Daran Hays. “We played our game and controlled the clock. When we’re able to dictate the tempo of the game, I like our chances.”
North Marion closes the 2013 season next Friday on the road against winless Grafton. Lincoln, meanwhile, visits Fairmont Senior on the same night.