on November 1, 2008 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Red Raiders sunk by Cavs

By Chad Wingert

Sports Editor

CARROLLTON — It was a downhill slippery slope that just did not seem to end Friday night for Marlette.

The Red Raiders were held scoreless right up until 15 seconds in the fourth quarter, as Carrollton dominated, 48-6.

Carrollton junior running back Robert Essex struck early and often as he posted up three touchdowns in the first half.

“Essex is the best running back we’ve seen.” Marlette head coach Denny Lester said. “What makes him special is his great vision and great burst, he has patience and then he gets through that hole fast. He runs a lot stronger than his stature and along with his ability to cut and make people miss, make him the best back that we’ve seen all year.”

Essex, who had 22 touchdowns in the regular season, finished the night with four TDs on 123 yards. However much credit was deserved by the Carrollton offensive line who was able to push around the Marlette defense, creating many gaps for Essex to run.

“We knew that Carrollton had a strong running game, and a big offensive line. We just struggled with their size all night and they really dominated us at the line of scrimmage.” Lester said. “We made a lot of mistakes tonight, and you can’t do that in the playoffs or any game. We just turned the ball over too much.”

Marlette saw numerous opportunities to score slip right through their fingers as the raiders faced first and goal from the four yard line and could not capitalize. Back-to-back penalties put Marlette back at the 46 yard line with second down and goal to go.

“We had that nice drive and then got down in our red-zone and stalled out with back to back penalties.” Lester said. “We really got shell shocked early and never really got our confidence back.”

However, the biggest battle for Marlette was controlling the ball as Marlette only ran four total plays in the third quarter. Carrollton was a clock monster as they ate up both the play clock and the yards.

“They had the ball almost the whole third quarter.” Lester said. “We could not get any kind of consistency in our offense at all and they controlled the ball the whole game.”

However the clock could not prevent the turnovers that plagued the Raiders. Marlette turned the ball over four times including two interceptions by quarterback Jordan Hayward and two fumbles, one of which on a kickoff that set up the Cavaliers fifth score of the first half.

Hayward, who did not see much rushing action until the fourth quarter, was also nursing an injury. Just one more thing that slowed down the Red Raider offense.

“He was pretty dinged up.” Lester said. “He was struggling and that hurt us quite a bit.”

Hayward finished the night 8- for 12 with 112 yards passing while throwing for a TD and two picks. He also managed to tack on 46 rushing yards on six attempts.

John Bishop caught two Hayward passes for 67 yards and touchdown, but struggled rushing the ball as he ran seven times for a negative four yards. Denilo Sanchez also kicked in 24 yards on six carries.

After making the playoffs for the second year straight, coach Lester wants to make sure that his team walks away having learned a lesson.

“Yes we are disappointed, but there will be times in life where things are not going to go your way.” Lester said. “A real man is measured on how you bounce back from things and we just try to teach the life lessons that come from the game of football.”

Lester also had a special message for his graduating seniors, playing in their last game as a Red Raider.

“I love them, and I’d do anything for them. This just is not a great representation of how we played all year.” Lester said.

“There is not a game out there that teaches more life lessons. Hopefully they can take this and use it as a lesson to get through a tough time in their life.”

Chad Wingert is the Sports Editor of the Advertiser and can be reached at sports@tcadvertiser.com