The 2017 high school football season couldn’t have started any better for the Marionville Comets, as the team scored on its first plays on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. The Comets rolled to a 55-6 non-conference win over Sherwood to kick off the season.

After the Marksmen won the coin toss and elected to defer, the Comets started the game with the ball on their own 35-yard line. And within 11 seconds of the start of the game, the home team was ahead, as junior Alex Gracia broke free for a 65-yard touchdown carry to put the Comets up 6-0. The ensuing extra point attempt was no good, but Marionville would make up for it soon enough.

Thirteen seconds after the first score, the defense got in on the scoring on its first play, as well. Sherwood attempted a pass on its first play from scrimmage, but junior Laythen Utke picked off the throw and returned it to the end zone for a pick-six. Junior Josh Goodman ran the ball in for the two-point conversion to increase the lead to 14-0.

The Comets were far from finished in the fourth quarter, as Utke picked up his second touchdown of the game with 7:36 remaining on a 33-yard rush to the end zone. This time the PAT was good, giving the Comets a 21-0 lead.

Another Sherwood fumble around the halfway point of the quarter led to the Comets’ fourth TD of the game. Junior Coltin Elliott recovered the fumble and gave Marionville the ball at the Sherwood 35-yard line. The Comets would score on the first down, a 35-yard scoring pass from senior Ryan Mayberry to Utke for six points. After a PAT fake for another two-point conversion, the score stood at 29-0.

Not to be outdone by Utke’s big performance in the quarter, Gracia added one more touchdown of his own in the first period, a 50-yard scamper for a score with just under three minutes remaining. Elliott’s second extra point kick of the night made it a 36-0 game.

Sherwood finally found a bit of rhythm offensively as the second quarter began, making it to the Comets’ 15-yard line on the first play of the period. A minute later the Marksmen were on the board with a six-yard TD run, but the Comets blocked the extra point to keep the lead to 30 points.

The 30-point lead, however, would only last 15 seconds, as Goodman rushed 65 yards on the first play after the kickoff for the Comets’ sixth touchdown of the night. After the extra point, the score stood at 43-6.

With six minutes remaining until halftime, Marionville added its seventh touchdown — and final of the half — when Mayberry ran the last two yards of a drive into the end zone after a big play by Gracia. This time the kick was no good, and the Comets would eventually go into the locker room with a 49-6 lead.

With the Marionville lead over 35 points, the running clock was in effect in the second half, shortening the playing time. The Comets still managed one more touchdown, though, as Gracia picked up his third score on the night with a 24-yard run for six. A fumbled snap on the point after attempt led to a two-point try but the pass fell incomplete to keep the score at 55-6. That score would prove to be the final, as the second string players finished out the rest of the game under the turbo clock.

The big win gave the Comets a 1-0 record on the young season and some confidence heading into the rest of the schedule, which continues this Friday with another home game. Marionville will host Willow Springs in another non-conference matchup, beginning at 7 p.m. at Bill Redus Field.