The Marionville Comets picked up their first Mid-Lakes Conference win in dramatic fashion last Friday, scoring two touchdowns in the last 20 seconds of the game to defeat Ash Grove 27-18.
As with each Comet home game this year, the contest got off to an exciting start for the home fans, as an Ash Grove fumble on the first play from scrimmage gave Marionville the ball with about 25 yards to go to the end zone. Unfortunately, the Comet offense could not capitalize on the turnover and gave the ball back to the Pirates after four downs.
A defensive stop on fourth down with 7:33 to go in the first quarter gave the Comets the ball again, though, and a 31-yard rush by junior Josh Goodman made it first and goal at the eight.
Penalties on both sides kept the ball moving until the Comets finally faced a fourth down and goal situation at the Ash Grove nine-yard line. From there, Marionville scored its first six points of the night as senior Jake Redus caught a pass from senior Ryan Mayberry and managed to put both feet down in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. A successful extra point kick by junior Alex Gracia made it a 7-0 game with 5:11 on the clock.
Another big defensive play -- a fourth-down sack by junior Evan Dotson -- gave the Comets the ball again with three minutes to go in the quarter. Good runs by Gracia kept the drive going in spite of numerous penalties, and the quarter ended with Marionville facing a third and 11 situation at the Pirates' 35.
On the first play of the second quarter, Mayberry converted a run for a first down to the 23, then ran it all the way in on the next play for the second touchdown of the night. Gracia's PAT was good again, and the Comets held a 14-0 lead.
The Pirates would go on to score two unanswered touchdowns to end the half, missing both extra point attempts, to cut the lead to 14-12 by the intermission. Neither team would score in the third period, which turned out to be nothing more than a quarter of punts and penalties.
Ash Grove took advantage of a Marionville turnover to take the lead with 2:23 to go in the game, again coming up short on the two-point conversion attempt to keep it 18-14.
After the touchdown, the Comets started a drive at their own 46-yard line. A big pass play from Mayberry to Gracia gave the home team another first down in Pirate territory, but a flag brought the play back for second and 15. The duo would repeat the play, though, and give Marionville a first down at the Ash Grove 26.
With the clock winding down, the Comets drove down to first and goal at the five-yard line, where the Mayberry-to-Gracia connection worked once again, this time for the game-winning touchdown. After the missed PAT, the Comets led 20-18 with just 17.3 seconds remaining in the game.
The Pirates made a last-ditch effort at putting together a game-winning drive, but the Marionville defense had other plans. A pick-six play by Goodman put the game fully out of reach for Ash Grove with one second left and the scoreboard reading 27-18.
The big win was the Comets' third of the year, one more already than they recorded all of last season, and the first in conference play. Marionville will look to build on last week's momentum on Friday with a road trip to Lincoln for a non-conference matchup.