It's not every day a football team's season comes to an end before the clock even runs out on the final game, but that's exactly what happened last Friday, as the Comets were eliminated in the first round of district play against Ash Grove.
The strangeness of the game -- a rematch of a week four Comet win -- began before the game even kicked off, as the visiting Pirates came out of the locker room to plant their flag in the middle of the field just before the home team, as usual, did the same.
More than two hours later, the game ended in much the same fashion -- with a confusing mess of players in the middle of the field -- as the Marionville coaching staff forfeited the last two and a half minutes of play.
Rewinding to the first quarter, the Comets got the scoring started four minutes in, when a four-yard touchdown run by Jeremy Vickers capped off a 37-yard scoring drive. The extra point by Coltin Elliott made it 7-0 in the Comets' favor.
But the Pirates would answer five minutes later on a 70-yard touchdown run by the quarterback, who found a seam right down the middle of the field and escaped to the end zone for the score. The PAT would tie the game at seven with 3:11 on the clock in the first quarter.
Ash Grove took the lead early in the second quarter on a 31-yard touchdown but missed the point after to make it a 13-7 contest. That score would last until halftime, but the Pirates would add another six on a three-yard pass TD to make it 19-7.
The Comets weren't finished yet, though, and got to within five points of the lead on a 16-yard TD run by quarterback Ryan Mayberry, followed by an Elliot extra point. But another early touchdown by the Pirates in the fourth quarter made it 27-14, and two more scores eventually put the Comets down 39-14.
Trailing by 25 with 2:36 to go in a game that had been physical all night, the Comets' frustrations came to a point as Mayberry's last pass of the game was picked off when he was hit late by an Ash Grove player. A number of Comets took exception to the hit and retaliated against the Pirates, resulting in a scrum that found players and coaches from both teams on the field.
When the referees finally managed to separate the teams, numerous players were ejected, leaving Marionville coach Paden Grubbs to elect to forfeit, ending the game and the Comets' season.
Despite the wild and disappointing ending, Marionville had a successful season, finishing 6-4 overall and 4-2 in the Mid-Lakes Conference.
Along with Mayberry, the Comets will miss the presence of seniors Jake Redus, Dekota Smith, Wiley Wycuff, Lane Jennings, Chris Barber and Joe Merritt as they will graduate later this school year.