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Marietta caps season with win

Photo by Mike Morrison Marietta’s Zane Wittekind (2) carries the ball as Warren’s Landon Fairbanks (7) and Ashton Saling (50) look to make a tackle during a high school football game Friday at Don Drumm Stadium.

MARIETTA — With their chances of reaching the postseason slim to none heading into Friday night’s regular season finale at home against arch rival Warren, the Marietta Tigers had a chance to ruin the Warriors post season hope.

On a soggy senior night at Don Drumm Stadium the Tigers did just that as they blanked Warren 20-0 to more than likely eliminate Warren from the playoffs and improve their record to 4-6.

With steady rain falling throughout the first 24 minutes of the game the two rivals spent the opening half exchanging turnovers as both teams turned the ball over twice in the opening half.

Neither team could manage to take advantage of their opponents misfortune until the Tigers did midway through the second quarter.

With Warren driving deep into Tiger territory, Marietta junior defensive lineman Blake Hanson came up with a big play when he sacked Warren quarterback Trent Taylor causing the sophomore quarterback to fumble and Tiger junior D,J, Hendershot recovered to end the Warrior drive and give MHS possession of the ball at their own 27-yard line.

Marietta put together an eight play, 73-yard drive capped by a 36-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tyler Gerber to fellow sophomore Elyjah Lieras-Kelley to take a 7-0 lead with 3:16 to play in the half.

The tenacious Tiger defense came up with a stop on the Warriors next possession and went right back to work to add points before the end of the half.

After a poor punt by Warren gave the Tigers the ball deep in Warren territory, the Tigers appeared score once again only to have a 12-yard touchdown run by sophomore Zane Wittekind nullified thanks to a penalty.

The penalty proved to be a brief interruption as Marietta scored with 24 ticks remaining on the clock when Gerber found Wittekind across the middle for a 21-yard touchdown to open up a 14-0 lead at the break

After the tough final few minutes of the first half, the Warriors were in need of a momentum change and they appeared to get it on the first possession of the second half when Eugene Pahl III recovered a fumble at the Marietta 23-yard line to give the visitors their best shot at scoring in the game.

Once again the Tiger defense rose to the occasion as they stopped the visitors on four plays to give the ball right back to their suddenly effective offense.

A long 34-yard scamper by junior Weston Davis moved the ball inside the red zone and Wittekind took care of things from there as he scored his second touchdown of the game on a 6-yard touchdown to open up the 20-point lead.

The Tiger defense only got better from that point on as they made things miserable for Taylor and the Warren offense.

Marietta dealt the final blow on Warren’s final possession as Tiger senior Landon Schultheisz sacked Taylor on back-to-back snaps to turn the ball back over on downs to the Tigers.

Gerber had one of his best games of the season for Marietta as he completed 9-of-13 pass attempts for 147 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for a team-high 37 yards.

Davis also picked up 37 yards on five carries while Lieras-Kelley caught 3 passes for a game-high 82 yards.

Warren was dealt a tough blow early on when sophomore standout Jason Williams left with an injury and was led in rushing by Landon Fairbanks with 13 carries for 60 yards and Taylor Bowers with 37 yards on 11 touches.

Warren head coach Matt Kimes was hopeful for a better performance by his team in their final game against their arch rival.

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