MARION, S.C. – Marion’s defense held off rival Mullins on a two-point conversion attempt to seal the game with a 7-6 win in the 12th annual Anderson Brothers Bank Tobacco Bowl game Monday night at Fox Field.
Marion Coach Randall State said he has been preaching defense to start the season.
“Defense has to come to play every week,” he said. “We lost our leader in D’Vonte Allen, but somebody had to step up, and they did. On that last play, I just thank God they didn’t score.”
The Swamp Foxes (3-0) ended a three-game losing streak to their cross-town rival Mullins (0-2).
Defense was the name of the game as the teams held each other scoreless at halftime. The Swamp Foxes forced a pair of fumbles while the Auctioneers blocked a punt. Mullins was 4 yards away from the end zone in the final minute, but time expired before it could take advantage of the opportunity to score.
It was the Marion defense that took the advantage to start the third quarter after a punt placing the Auctioneers at their own 14-yard line. Linebacker Christian James recovered a fumble for Marion to set the team up in the red zone.
“Our coach showed us some college level workouts that help us, so when he says dig deep, it won’t be so hard,” James said. “Everything that we work for helped us get that win tonight.”
James said discipline and conditioning has been the difference.
Running back Qualiek Crawford broke away on a 20-yard touchdown run to take a 7-0 lead at the 8:50 mark. Crawford led the Swamp Foxes with 91 yards on 14 carries.
“I told the offensive line the game was on them, and they took upon themselves to finish the game,” State said.
The third quarter ended with multiple interceptions in the final three minutes starting with Demaurii Platt for Mullins. Trey Buie snatched the ball away for Marion to regain possession before Taytron Gause intercepted another pass for Mullins giving them the football to start the final quarter.
It came down to the final two minutes for Mullins as they took over for a potential game-winning drive from midfield. Quarterback Marcus Chandler completed passes to Alim Legette and B.J. Crawford to set up a 1-yard touchdown run from Isaac Hemingway with 43.6 seconds remaining. However, the Swamp Foxes’ defense denied the Aucs on the conversion attempt for the final.
Marion will travel to Timmonsville on Friday night. Mullins plays its home opener against C.E. Murray.