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The Marion County Knights football players were understandably down after Friday night's loss to Lone Oak, but we hope with time and distance they will appreciate what they accomplished this year.
For just the second time in school history, Marion County reached the state football semifinals.
This year's Knights went 11-3, posting the second-best record in school history. Only the 1987 squad, which finished 12-2 and also reached the semifinals, had a higher winning percentage.
While this year's team did something that hasn't been done in 22 years, they also did something unprecedented for a Marion County High School football team. They won 11 games in a row.
Perhaps that's fitting, since this year's seniors have more wins than any previous class at MCHS. This year's seniors won 35 games on the football field, an average of 8.75 wins per season.
The Knights established themselves as a force on the ground, rushing for a Class 4A leading 4,535 yards entering last week's game. That also placed them third statewide for any class.
No doubt having a pair of 1,000-yard rushers, namely Dylan Peterson and Bryson Bell, helped in that regard.
Marion County was in the top 15 in the state in scoring, margin of victory and rushing defense.
The Knights were coming off a 0-10 season when Jeff Robbins took over in 2004. With hard work, they improved steadily and reached a height it had only reached one time before.
For the seniors, good work. You've set the bar a little bit higher for the classes that will follow.
For the underclassmen, know that nothing is guaranteed. Next season, more teams will be looking to pull you down. You'll have to work that much harder and fight that much longer to maintain your new status.
But for now, take some time to rest. We're sure you've got plenty of bumps and bruises from the season.
Enjoy your time off, but remember that the work for next season starts soon.