It was a game of inches and adjectives.
The North Marion Huskies wore the words “resilient” and “relentless” on the back of their jerseys Friday night against East Fairmont, describing some of their core values as a football team.
“Our program has gone through a lot of times where we have to be resilient,” coach Daran Hays said after the game. “This season has been trying.”
But the Huskies wouldn’t have to wait any longer to pick up their first win of the season.
When the North Marion Huskies lined up facing fourth-and-inches from the Bees’ 13-yard line, Austin Stanley answered the call.
After a four-yard rumble, the Huskies had a new set of downs and pounded the ball into the end zone a few plays later for the go-ahead score.
“We know that if we were going to get it done without Chase (Banker) that we’d have to do it on the ground,” offensive lineman Quint Markley said. “Up front we just decided we had to go. My left-side buddy Shawn (Elliott), he really stepped up big tonight.”
Elliott and Markley were part of an offensive line that paved the way to 344 yards on the ground.
East Fairmont then marched down to the Huskies’ 23-yard marker, but it was Drew Harker who picked off Jake Delaney on a controversial call that was ultimately ruled an interception to lock it up for the Huskies by a final score of 25-22.
“We just missed opportunities,” East Fairmont coach Bill Haddox said of the game. “I’m going to guess we had about 11 opportunities to put it away and we didn’t.”
It was Stanley who really set the tone for North in the first half.
Stanley rushed twice for over 60 yards en route to 159 yards in the first half and a score. It would be Stanley who would score the final touchdown.
“I was feeling good. I was glad that my line blocked for me,” Stanley said before thanking his entire line and his fullback.
Stanley missed most of the second half with an apparent injury but, hurting or not, he was cleared to come back out in the fourth quarter. He would go on to finish the game with 193 yards and two touchdowns.
The Huskies’ ground game came through for them, as they out-rushed the Bees 209-95 in the first half.
The Bees went to a passing attack all game that featured Ronnie Mills and Scotty Shroyer.
Mills, who played running back for an injured Matt Hopwood, and Shroyer were both versatile for the Bees, as they both had at least 19 touches and a score.
“They played as hard as they could,” Haddox said. “It’s tough when you take that many starters off your first team.”
Shroyer led the way offensively with 10 rushes for 38 yards and 11 catches for 144 yards and a touchdown.
Delaney completed 18-of-29 passes for 201 yards and a score but it was his late interception that sealed the deal.
The Huskies picked up their first win and moved to 1-5 on homecoming night, while the Bees fall to 1-4.
“It felt nice to get a win finally,” Stanley said. “Especially on homecoming and it being the first. It really means a whole lot.”
East Fairmont plays at home next week against Robert C. Byrd, and North Marion will welcome in Lewis County.
Email Matt Welch firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.