No. 1 Marist roughs up Grizz

If it's possible for a team ranked No. 1 in the state to look underrated, the Marist Spartans pulled it off Friday night against the overwhelmed Ashland Grizzlies.

Marist scored six touchdowns in the middle two quarters and held ninth-ranked Ashland's formerly red-hot offense to 135 yards in a 49-0 Midwestern League-opening romp at Walter A. Phillips Field.

The Grizzlies managed to stay within striking distance throughout most of the first half, but Austin Baird returned a punt 39 yards for a touchdown 12 seconds before halftime and Kamerun Smith threw two touchdown passes in the third quarter to continue the burial.

Ashland played Marist even in most phases of the game in the first half, gaining 115 yards to Marist's 124, but sabotaged its upset hopes with special teams miscues and a key interception.

It got ugly from there, with the Spartans' final score —Levi Yarborough's 12-yard touchdown run — activating the 45-point mercy rule running clock with still 9:53 to go in the game.

"They made a few adjustments, but I thought we just really shot ourselves in the foot," Ashland head coach Charlie Hall said. "It's frustrating, and I think it's a reality check. There's a talent discrepancy between the two teams, but it's not a 49-point talent discrepancy."

Smith completed 11 of 24 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns, as Marist did most of its damage on the ground. The Spartans gained 190 yards on 22 carries led by Greg Park, who had 150 yards rushing, including three touchdowns.

Ashland's offense spun its wheels after a good opening drive that stalled after 13 plays at the Marist 33-yard line. The Grizzlies' short passing game, so effective in last week's win over Klamath Union, was nowhere in sight, as sophomore quarterback Danial White completed 11 of 18 passes for 44 yards with two costly interceptions.

Marist junior linebacker James Banks read White to snag both those picks — the first gave the Spartans a first-and-goal from Ashland's 3 and the second gave the Spartans a first down at the Ashland 19. Both were followed quickly by Marist touchdowns.

"(Ashland) out-executed and out-hit us (in the first half), so hats off to Charlie," Marist head coach Frank Geske said. "We just out-athleted them. Austin Baird's special. Taylor Walcott's special. He didn't have those guys and we do. Seriously, that's what it was."

Share This Story