Tigers come up just short at Marion Local, 14-13


By Drew Terhall


MARIA STEIN — It was a game decided by just a few inches on a point after attempt. Versailles fell to the defending Divison VI State Champion Marion Local, 14-13.

Head coach Ryan Jones said while a close loss is a bitter pill to swallow, he is proud of his team for their performance.

“Knew it was going to be a tough. Really proud of how our guys prepared all week. Offensive line played really well for the situation we’re in. I thought the guys gave it everything they had. As a coach, I’m extremely proud of that,” Jones said.

The Tigers jumped out to a 7-0 lead as they scored on the game’s opening possession.

Senior quarterback Michael Osborne found senior Lane Bergman for a four-yard touchdown pass. The Tigers chewed off a lot of clock as Marion Local got the ball at the 3:57 mark of the first quarter.

The Flyers responded as their quarterback ran for a 15-yard touchdown to tie the game.

Both teams had chances to get a lead before halftime.

Versailles missed a field goal from the 20-yard line late in the second quarter. The Flyers took over and started to drive down the field. But, senior A.J. Griesdorn came away with an interception to stop the drive with seconds left in the first half.

Marion Local then took the second half kickoff to midfield. The Flyers struck quick with a five-yard touchdown run to go up 14-7 with 8:31 left in the third quarter.

The Flyers had a chance to extend their lead and really take full control of the game. Osborne threw an interception while trying to avoid a sack that set up the Flyers on the Versailles 35-yard line.

Jones said possessions were very limited in a game like this. But, the Tigers defense answered the bell when they needed to.

Prior to the interception, Marion Local was stuffed on fourth down to give Versailles the ball. After the turnover, Marion Local was stopped on fourth and one from the Versailles 22-yard line.

Jones said he couldn’t ask any more from his defense as they limited the high powered Flyers offense.

“Those fourth downs, it’s what you dream of as a defensive player. Really happy with that,” Jones said.

With the fourth quarter winding down, Versailles converted on fourth and one at midfield. With 4:52 left in the game, Versailles was facing a fourth and eighth. Osborne scrambled and picked up the first down with his legs.

Eventually, Osborne found senior Zach Meyer for a 20-yard touchdown pass. Jones said with about two minutes left in the game, there wasn’t a need to go for two. The Tigers just missed the PAT and the Flyers held on to win the game.

Versailles competed hard against another defending state champion. They were a play or two away from getting the win.

Jones said while he is proud of his team’s effort in this one, he is equally proud of his coaching staff for getting the players ready for this game. The Tigers showed they were ready to take on Marion Loacl.

“I couldn’t be more prouder of my guys and my coaching staff. They’ve done a great job all year and got these guys ready. I’m blessed to have a great coaching staff. They did a great job,” Jones said.

Versailles is now 5-1 on the season with a 3-1 conference record. Jones said he is looking forward to seeing how his team responds from this game. He has no doubt they will be ready for their next game.

“We got some adversity now. It’s going to be about how we bounce back. How do we handle a tough loss like this. We haven’t had that this year,” Jones said. “I’m confident in my guys that they will come back to practice Monday ready to go. Focus on the Anna Rockets just like we focused on every opponent that week. Not looking ahead, not looking behind.”

Versailles will travel to Anna on Sep. 29 with kickoff set for 7 p.m.

Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]

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