By Dave Fredrick
Tribune Recorder Leader
Following their loss to Sandusky two weeks ago, Coach Denny Lester’s Marlette Red Raiders knew they pretty much had to win out to have a shot at the play-offs. However, Harbor Beach played the role of spoiler by knocking off Marlette 19-8 last week and all but eliminated the Red Raiders from the play-offs.
Teams with six wins automatically qualify for the play-offs, but there have been teams with five wins sneak in, depending on results of other schools. That is Marlette’s final hope, assuming they win over Armada in the season finale Friday night.
“We just made too many mistakes to win,” Lester explained. “We had some crucial penalties that stalled drives and we had some key drops that I felt would have kept other drives going. I thought we played well defensively and made some great stops. We just gave up a couple of big plays and it cost us.”
After a scoreless first quarter, it was the Pirates getting on the board first with a short pass play into the end zone. HB made it a two TD lead scoring on a one yard dive at the 3:31 mark of the second quarter. Trailing 13-0, Marlette scored their only touchdown of the night late in the fourth quarter on a 19 yard pass play from Ethan McKenney to Tyler Ladd. Chorben Chisholm punched it in for two more points on the PAT conversion.
HB out-gained Marlette in total offense by a count of 214 to 185 with the bulk of the Red Raiders yardage coming on the ground with 135 yards. McKenney completed four passes for 50 yards.
Ethan Stover paced the Marlette ground game with 69 yards on 167 carries while Brett Knox added 31 yards on four attempts. McKenney chipped in with 22 yards on nine rushes.
Knox led the Red Raider defense with eight and a half tackles including seven solos and Chisholm had seven and a half take downs with five solos. McKenney had six and a half tackles (four solos) and Joseph Gratton was credited with six tackles, five being solos.
For now, Marlette will remained focused on their season finale at Armada and then, assuming they win, they will turn their attention to Sunday’s televised program (& p.m. on Fox Sports) where area teams will learn their fate for the playoffs.