COOS BAY — Marshfield’s football team learned at least a couple of valuable lessons Friday night, and came away with a second straight victory, too, beating Phoenix 25-18.
Marshfield dominated the second half in the battle of the Pirates to overcome a deficit and improve to 2-0.
To get that win, Marshfield had to overcome a slow start and a bunch of mistakes, not all of them physical.
“We didn’t come out in the first half ready to play at all,” Marshfield’s Cory Stover said.
“I think we went into the game thinking we were going to run all over them, and it backfired on us,” added teammate Tristin Lemmons.
That was one lesson. The other was about preparation.
“In practice, I noticed we were kind of flat,” Lemmons said. “When you’re flat, that’s how you play in the game.”
Expect Marshfield to try to improve on practice intensity heading into next week’s preseason finale at Junction City.
Marshfield failed to score on its first four possessions Friday night, including a pair of turnovers.
The first drive reached the Phoenix 30 before quarterback Grant Woolsey was stuffed for a loss by Ismael De La Torre on a fourth-down play. Marshfield got the ball right back one play later on an interception by Zach Kellar, but turned it over the next snap on a fumble in the quarterback-running back exchange which was picked up by Seth Fireston of Phoenix.
Phoenix got on the scoreboard the first play of the second quarter on a run by Michael Walker, though the kick sailed wide right.
And the lead grew to 12-0 just over a minute later when Dalton Samis intercepted a pass and returned it 50 yards down the sideline to set up a touchdown run by Cori Romig.
Marshfield responded with its own touchdown drive, with the biggest play a 28-yard pass from Justin Banks to Stover to set up a 2-yard run by Banks.
That was all the scoring in the first half, but Marshfield largely dominated the second half, helped by the insertion of Lemmons into the offense.
The linebacker and fullback was nursing a sore ankle and had been scheduled to play only on defense, but made a big difference running the ball in the final two quarters.
He gained 52 yards on his first three carries to set up the first of his three touchdowns, a 2-yard burst to cap a drive that lasted almost five minutes. Arturo Ledesma’s kick gave Marshfield its first lead at 13-12.
By the end of the game, Lemmons had 119 yards and two more scores.
“I wanted to go (on offense),” Lemmons said, adding that his ankle hurt.
Devin Benson added 99 yards on the ground, 56 after the half when Marshfield’s offensive line started winning the war in the trenches.
“We just got fired up (at halftime),” Lemmons said. “We knew the game wasn’t over and we’ve got to come out and run it down their throats.”
Marshfield coach John Lemmons, Tristin’s dad, said the play by Marshfield’s line was big in the second half.
“I think we started winning the battle up front,” he said. “We were able to run inside.
“The kids came out and played a little better the second half.”
But Marshfield had one big mistake in special teams that gave Phoenix the lead one last time.
After the first touchdown by Tristin Lemmons, Phoenix had a 10-play drive that stalled. Chase Courtney drove a punt almost to Marshfield’s goal line that went through the hands of Kellar as he tried to back up and catch it above his head. In his haste to get on the ball, it kicked around among a few players and ended up in the end zone, where Phoenix’s Nik Goff fell on it.
Phoenix had an 18-13 lead, but it was short-lived. Lemmons and Benson pushed Marshfield downfield after Jacob Dean returned the ensuing kickoff to Marshfield’s 45, with Lemmons scoring from 2 yards out with 10:07 to go to push Marshfield in front for good.
Stover came up with a big sack on fourth down to stop the next Phoenix drive and Marshfield drove to another short touchdown by Lemmons.
Tevin Woods clinched the win for Marshfield by picking off a halfback pass by Dylan Knudson.
Stover said Marshfield played with more emotion in the second half.
“We got hyped up in the locker room (at halftime),” he said. “We played hard.
“I was happy with the second half.”
John Lemmons said he was happy with Marshfield’s defense, even though Phoenix quarterback Javan Gail passed for 154 yards. Phoenix had just 17 rushing yards on 22 attempts.
“They had a heck of a quarterback,” he said. “Our run defense was exceptional.
“For the most part our defense did pretty good.”