Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - Updated: 10:46 AM
By David Green
DRAFFENVILLE – The winning streak came to an end at three games, but Marshall County’s football Marshals did not go down without a fight.
The Marshals were defeated, but not outclassed, by Christian County in a 40-13 decision at Traylor Stadium.
Marshall County got a touchdown from Mason Green, who powered the last 14 yards of a 75-yard drive, to force a 7-7 tie after the Colonels got the first TD of the game.
And the Marshals tacked on a pair of field goals, from 32 and 42 yards, from Daniel Gardner in the third period.
But a stellar offensive lineup for the No.2-ranked team in Class 5A wore down its opponents. Junior quarterback Kolbe Langhi ran for three touchdowns and threw for two others, a 9-yard strike to Kenneth Major and a 29-yarder to Keyron Catlett.
The Colonels also scored on a 1-yard plunge by Trequan Haskins-Taylor. That TD came after a long punt return by Catlett gave Christian County a first-and-goal at the 2, and it took two tries by Haskins-Taylor to get into the end zone.
Marshall County responded with a 10-play drive capped by Green’s fifth rushing TD of the season. Gardner added the conversion kick to knot the score with 5:48 left in the opening quarter.
The Marshal defense put up a valiant effort against the athletic Colonels. Senior linebacker Grant Johnson led the way with 14 solo tackles and a pair of assisted hits.
Trevor Fisk got his second interception of the year, picking off Langhi’s first toss of the second half and racing from near the midfield line to the end zone. A penalty for holding on the runback nullified what would have been a crucial touchdown for the Marshals.
But the turnover was not wasted. The Marshals drove from the Christian County 40 to the 15 before stalling and Gardner kicked his third field goal of the season to make it 22-10 midway in the third period.
Then, after Langhi scored his second rushing TD of the game, the Marshals put together another drive that took them to the 24 and Gardner’s second field goal of the game and fourth of the year.
That made it 28-13, but Christian County tacked on two more TDs in the final frame to pull away.
Marshall County Coach Evan Merrick had a positive assessment of his team’s performance.
“The magnitude of the big game, I thought, brought some good out of us,” Merrick said. “I think we cracked a little bit under some of the pressure there. And you look at it as a moment to grow. Take where we are right now and build going forward, and halfway through the season, we’re 3-2.”
Merrick pointed out the early scoring drive as a sign that the Marshals did not play under intimidation of the highly ranked opponent.
“That was a good response there,” he said. “I thought that negated the long punt return. That’s what good football teams do, and that shows you what we’re capable of doing.”
Merrick noted that the Marshals had some players who were banged up in the physical contest. Dalton Nelson and Tristan Prange both limped off the field late in the game with what appeared to be ankle or lower leg injuries.
THIS WEEK: Marshall County travels to rival Graves County for its second District 1 game of the season. The Eagles won their district opener last week, beating Apollo 51-28.
Graves has won 16 of the 25 games between the two schools, including the last 10 in a row. The Eagles won last year 47-23 at Traylor Stadium.
The Marshals have not won a road game against Graves County since 1998, when the Eagles were sharing War Memorial Stadium with Mayfield prior to the opening of Eagle Stadium.
NEXT WEEK: Marshall County returns home to continue district play against Owensboro.