In a battle of two state-ranked Class 1 football teams within the Lewis & Clark Conference Friday, Salisbury’s defense held Marceline to just 60 rushing yards and celebrated Luke Armentrout’s interception during the third quarter that went for about an 80-yard touchdown as the No. 5 Panthers shutdown the 8th-ranked Tigers winning 17-0.
After soundly defeating their previous four opponents who had a combined record of 2-14 by a 186-13 point differential, Salisbury football coach Kirk Stott pondered how his players would perform against Marceline in Week 5.
Needless to say, the Panthers rose to the occasion.
“All week long I was wondering about how our kids would react and how well they might come out and play in what I thought would be our first big challenge of the football season playing Marceline. I thought our first game of the season with Scotland County would be a big test simply because it’s a first game and just about anything can happen to a team. That can probably be said about anyone going into your first game of the season and because this is when teams will most likely make more mistakes in a football game than they will during any other game,” said Panthers coach Stott. “We played alright in that game, and we came away with a big win at their place. Since then, I think we over-matched our next four opponents and we came away with some big wins. We knew Marceline is a much better team than who we had played before and I thought our kids came out and played a very good game of football. We got the job done, especially on defense.”
“Everybody on the team took care of their job responsibility and for that I’m proud of my kids. We still have a long way to get to where we want to go.”
Salisbury (5-0, 1-0 LCC) marched about 81 yards using four plays on their first possession and scored when junior quarterback Brady Francis broke free on about a 20-yard touchdown run.
Francis also would provided a 27-yard field goal in the second quarter giving Salisbury a 10-0 halftime score, leading up to Armentrout’s long INT run for pay dirt.
“We preached defense all week in practice because we knew that was going to be the key to winning this game. The kids came out and were very physical, and so was Marceline,” said coach Stott. “Both of us struggled running the football, and there were too many penalties in this game. It was a knock-out, drag-out fight after we scored our first touchdown.”
Francis and running back Daniel Linneman both ran the football nine times rushing for 37 and 25 yards respectively, and Jordan Clark ran for 10.
Page 2 of 2 - The Panthers threw for 151 yards with Francis completing 8 of 16 of his attempts. Clay Stefankiewicz and Clark both caught two passes netting 63 and 47 yards, while Keegan Wyatt had three receptions totaling 38.
“We had possession within the red zone three or four times in which we could not get the ball in the end zone. I made some mistakes calling some offensive plays that should not have been made because we really hadn’t practiced those plays very much and I put kids into some positions that they were not use to being in and that hurt us,” said Salisbury coach Stott. “We also dropped a pass that would have resulted in a score and penalties pushed us back another time and we would not score.”
Salisbury will host winless Slater of the LCC this coming Friday.