Mariner overcomes 2 TD deficit to stun Kamiak | FootballBrown rushes for pair of scores, as Marauders rally for a 22-12 victory
Mariner didn’t stop believing.
Trailing 12-0 late in the third quarter, the Marauders scored three unanswered touchdowns to defeat district rival Kamiak 22-12 in a Wesco 4A football game Friday night at Goddard Stadium.
Senior running back Darius Brown gave Mariner the lead on runs of 7 and 5 yards and junior lineman Isaiah Harrison sealed the victory by returning a fumble 31 yards for a TD with just over two minutes remaining in the contest.
“It’s a big win,” Brown said. “We came out pretty slow. … But we had to pick it up. You can never give up. You’ve got to trust God, trust your teammates. You just can’t give up.”
Kamiak took an early 6-0 lead when senior Josh Binda returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. The Knights missed the extra point attempt.
That score stunned the Marauders (1-1 in the league, 2-2 overall) whose offense was unable to move the ball much in the first half.
“Once No. 5 (Binda) on Kamiak got the kick return, we kind of shut down,” Brown said.
Mariner’s offense was flagged for numerous penalties in the first half. The Marauders ended up with 15 penalties for 158 yards.
“We were flat,” Mariner coach Mark Stewart said of his team’s first-half performance. “We were just making too many mistakes. We kept taking ourselves out of rhythm – fumbling the ball, penalties.”
The Knights (0-2, 1-3) took a 12-0 lead on a 65-yard touchdown run by quarterback Matt Merk at the 8:25 mark of the third quarter. Merk dropped back to pass but then saw an opening and took off for the end zone. The 2-point attempt failed.
Mariner finally broke out of its offensive funk when Brown scored on a 7-yard run at the end of the third quarter. That score seemed to energize the Marauders, who cut the deficit to 12-7.
“It picked the team up and motivated my team,” Brown said. “I said, ‘We can do it.’ They went out there and did it.”
Brown carried the ball 27 times for 138 yards.
“Sometimes you hop on a guy’s back, Stewart said. “We have other pretty good backs. We probably didn’t give them the ball enough.”
Mariner seized a 15-12 lead on Brown’s 5-yard TD run with 5:20 left in the game. Quarterback JJ Walker threw a pass to Anthony Allen to convert on the 2-point attempt.
The first TD was the key, according to Stewart.
“We got the one and that put us in striking distance,” Stewart said.
Kamiak coach Dan Mack saw good play from the Knights’ defense throughout the night.
“We played terrifically,” he said. “It was the best defensive game of the year.”
Kamiak’s offense, however, wasn’t able to get its ground game going. The Knights only gained 7 total net rushing, excluding Merk’s 65-yard TD run.
“Our defensive effort was great,” Stewart said. “They really only gave up six (points) and so we got the ball back a lot. They gave us a lot of opportunities and we needed all of them just about. … We kind of felt like the defense had the momentum.”
If the Knights had a couple more breaks, the result of the game might have been different, Mack said. “I thought our kids came out and played well. We came up a little short. … We didn’t finish the game.”
Mack added that Mariner’s speed and size probably was a factor in the second half.
Stewart saw the comeback as a learning experience and a chance for the Marauders to gain some confidence.
“We had to come back and had to deal with some adversity,” he said. “They jumped on us early and we just kept shooting ourselves in the foot in terms of not being able to finish drives and making a lot of mistakes.
“It was good to be able to come back and kind of refocus and be able to put together two good drives.”
Part of the reason for the excessive amount of penalties probably was due to Mariner having some new players in the lineup, Stewart said.
“We’ve got to clean that up,” he said. “It’s not going to get any easier.”
Mariner hosts Cascade (0-2, 1-3) at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 30 at Goddard Stadium. Kamiak travels to Mount Vernon (0-2, 0-4) for a 7 p.m. contest.