CAHOKIA — It was a game that featured 1,009 total yards, 46 first downs and 91 points. Oh, and five touchdowns in a 4:31 span of the fourth quarter.
And when the dust settled, the Marion Wildcats held on for a 55-36 win over the Cahokia Comanches in the South Seven Conference opener for both teams. Marion improved to 3-1 with the win. Cahokia fell to 1-3.
"It was like an arena football game, right," said Marion coach Kerry Martin. "It was exciting. It's hard to draw up a game plan for the things they are doing. They played so hard."
But every time Cahokia threw a punch, Marion had an answer. The Wildcats finished with 500 total yards, 400 coming on the ground.
"That was a lot of offense," Martin said. "I was proud of the way the kids on offense answered the bell."
The craziness started early in the fourth quarter. After Marion had built a 34-14 lead through three periods, Braden Ziegler's 15-yard touchdown run pushed the margin to 41-14, and seemingly out of reach.
Not so fast. Just 1:19 later, Wayne Grant hooked up with Tyran Lyons for a 26-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 41-22. After Cahokia recovered an onside kick, the Grant to Lyons connection worked again, this time for 40 yards on the first play of the drive, and suddenly it was 41-30.
Not to be outdone, after Seth Bayer snagged the next onside kick attempt, Izak Baker capped off the two-play drive to score on a 50-yard run just 45 seconds later and it was 48-30. After a fourth-down stop, Marion went 77-yards on two plays, the capper a 72-yard run by Jaden Lacy and the Wildcats regained control with 6:12 left to make the score 55-30. It was Lacy's second touchdown of the night, the first coming on a 19-yard pass with just 31 seconds left in the first half.
"He had two big scores again tonight," Martin said. "The one right before half and the long run he broke there really helped let Coach Martin breathe a little bit. Those were both big plays. He's a big play guy. That's what he does."
Cahokia scored the first touchdown of the game as Grant ran for the first of his three rushing touchdowns from 12 yards out. For the night, Grant finished with 72 yards on the ground and three scores, and completed 21 of 38 passes for 310 yards and two more touchdowns.
Marion got 166 yards rushing and four touchdowns from Ziegler. Baker had 97 rushing yards and two scores and Lacy ran the ball for 74 yards on two carries. Baker also went 7-for-9 passing for 112 yards and a touchdown.
The Wildcats led 8-6 at the end of the first quarter and 22-14 at halftime.