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Marion County High School won the region championship on the gridiron for only the second time in school history on Friday night at Western High School in Shively with a 31-24 win over the Western Warriors.
The Knights controlled the ball for most of the game, chewing up the clock. They also shut down the talented and speedy senior Dominic Turner.
Last week Turner had nearly 300 yards against Fairdale, 210 yards of which came in the third quarter. Turner was featured in Friday's The Louisville Courier Journal.
"Don't think there wasn't a copy of that paper in every kid's hands," Knights Head Coach Jeff Robbins said.
Robbins thrives on situations such as that. It must have been a catalyst because the Knights put the clamps on Turner's wheels.
Western finished the game with a paltry 31 yards rushing.
"We knew we had to shut him down. We approached him like we have with Dalton Cissell the last two years. We just tried to put a hand on him before he got going," Robbins said.
The Warriors keyed in on the Knights rushing game, bringing nine or 10 defenders into the box on the majority of plays. It didn't matter.
Bryson Bell steamrolled to over 200 yards and district player of the year Dylan Peterson racked up over 100.
"Our numbers passing weren't big. I think we had 33 yards passing but we had two touchdowns off our passing game. You don't have to throw 200 or 300 yards a game to be effective. Our passing game did exactly what we wanted it do to," Robbins said.
Jordan Bell hit Valis Mudd on a 29-yard bomb out of a halfback pass in the second quarter. Mudd bobbled the ball a few times but hauled it in for an amazing catch. Ryan Peterson hit Bell on a five-yard pass two minutes later as the Knights rolled into halftime.
Western started the second half with a flurry, putting up 12 points in four minutes with big special teams and defensive touchdowns.
After the Knights settled in they were able to score on a Bryson Bell run and regain control at 28-18. Western would score again but a Warriors fumble and a turnover on downs would seal their fate.
The Knights travel to Lone Oak High School in Paducah on Friday night. Kick off is set for 8:30 EST/7:30 CST.
Statistics at Western MARION 0 21 7 3 -- 31 WESTERN 6 0 12 6 -- 24 FIRST QUARTER
Western - 51 yard touchdown pass from Craig Williams to Cortez Ricketts (run failed), 6:25
Marion - Dylan Peterson 1 yard run (Mark Corbett kick), 11:40
Marion - Valis Mudd 29 yard pass from Jordan Bell (Corbett kick), 2:05
Marion - Jordan Bell 5 yard pass from Ryan Peterson (Corbett kick), 0:10
Western - Jacorey Ritchey 71 yard kickoff return (run failed), 11:44
Western - Antonio Turner 65 yard fumble return (run failed), 7:29
Marion - Bryson Bell 21 yard run (Corbett kick), 3:47 FOURTH QUARTER
Western - Rickets 80 yard pass from Williams (kick failed), 8:35
Marion - 26 yard field goal by Corbett, 3:18 MC W First Downs 25 3 Rushes 66-439 15-31 Passing 33 152 Total Yards 472 183 Comp-Att-Int 2-6-0 5-11-0 Fumbles - Lost 3 - 1 2 - 1
Penalties - Yards 9 - 45 4 - 35
Rushing - Joseph "Buster" Hazelwood 6-43, Jordan Bell 11 - 67, Bryson Bell 22 - 219, Dylan Peterson 22 - 110, Jeremy Mattingly 4 - 16