One good half not enough for Marines
Sunday, October 06, 2013 7:00 PM
SHAWANO, Wis. - If only the Marinette Marines had played the first half the way they played the second half Saturday.
But then, that's why the Marines are not a playoff football team. They haven't been able to sustain good play often enough this season.
Shawano built a 20-0 halftime lead and hung on for a 20-15 homecoming victory over the Marines. It eliminated Marinette (2-5) from playoff contention, while Shawano (3-3 in the Bay, 3-4 overall) is alive and well in the playoff hunt.
"That's a team we should've beaten," Marinette coach Andy Walters said. "We didn't deserve to win that game for the way we played in the first half. I'm proud of the way the kids played the second half."
The first half was all Shawano. On the Hawks' second possession of the game, Will Cox broke off a 68-yard run to set up his 4-yard touchdown run.
Marinette botched the ensuing kickoff return and started its second drive at its own 1-yard line. Shawano's next drive ended with a 27-yard TD pass from Cole Huntington to Cody Urban for a 14-0 lead with 1:11 in the first quarter.
Marinette responded with a 13-play, 68-yard drive, which was extended by two successful fourth-down runs by Blake Miller. But on third-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Alex Cook intercepted a pass in the end zone to take the wind out of the Marine sails.
"Those are huge momentum swings," Walters said. "That's a mistake that we made that hurt ourselves. We gave that opportunity away."
Shawano capitalized on another Marine mistake before the half. The Hawks took over at the Marine 47 with 1:23 in the half. Huntington's 11-yard run and late hit penalty moved the ball deep into Marine territory, and Cox scored on a 5-yard run with 39 seconds left. The extra-point kick was blocked.
Cox, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior, piled up 161 rushing yards in 11 carries between the tackles in the first half.
Walters said the Hawks were successful with one running play that the Marines prepared for.
"That's frustrating," he said.
After gashing the Marines for 210 yards in the first half, the Hawks netted minus-2 yards in the second half.
"We did make some adjustments, but I think it was a will to do a better job," according to Walters.
Marinette drove 60 yards in nine plays with its second drive of the second half. On fourth-and-goal from the 10, Marcus Maguire threw a 10-yard TD pass to Josh Lapacz. Austin Mahlik kicked the extra point.
The Marine defense forced another three-and-out, and Marinette got back in the game. Maguire scored on a 9-yard run on fourth-and-1. On a broken extra-point play, kick holder Luke Johnson scrambled for the two conversion points.
The Marines were within 20-15 with 6:44 left to play.
Marinette's defense forced another three-and-out, but the Marines fumbled the ball away. Marinette got the ball back at its own 28 with 1:05 remaining but the game ended with four incompletions.
"There was obviously a lot of disappointment, but I'm proud of the way they played the second half," Walters said. "THAT's what team we need to be. We need to build off that."