EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to the length of Friday's game, a story was not available for Saturday's edition.
McCONNELSVILLE - Name everything that is exciting about football, and Marietta's 41-35 comeback win over Morgan Friday had it.
There were long touchdowns, big hits, turnovers, and drama. Emphasis on the drama.
After a 15 yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Hayden Matheny to Clinton Campbell, the Raiders took a 35-20 lead with 11:53 left in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers kept their composure, and answered right back with a 19 yard touchdown run by Quinton Coffield. The Tigers failed on a two-point conversion, making the score 35-26. After forcing a three and out, the Tigers blocked a punt and got the ball at the Morgan 29. One play later, quarterback Anthony Kimbrough hit Coffield on a 29 yard catch and run TD up the right sideline. The Kyle Bronski PAT made it 35-33.
Morgan was able to move the ball a little on its next possession, but on 3rd and 13, defensive lineman Eddie Kimbrough sniffed out a Kaleb Driggs carry for a five yard loss.
The Tigers started their next possession at their own 44.
After a Grant Krigbaum sack put the ball 40, Kimbrough again hit Coffield on a long pass, this time a 46-yarder, to give Marietta the ball at the 14. On 3rd and 8 from the 12, Kimbrough threw a pass high to the left corner of the end zone, and wideout Chance Wright was able to out leap the defender and score the deciding touchdown with 2:43 to go in the final quarter.
Kimbrough hit Coffield on the two-point conversion to put Marietta up 41-35.
The game started out back and forth. Starting quarterback Kyle Earich gave the Raiders the early lead with a 63 yard touchdown run. Earich faked the handoff to 240 pound runningback Justin Head and was given a clear lane up the right sideline. Riley Newton hit the PAT to make the score 7-0.
The Tigers responded with a seven yard touchdown run by Garrett Davis. Bronski hit the PAT. The drive was set up by a Morgan pass interference and 27 yard pass from Kimbrough to Wright.
The Raiders had a 4th and inches play on the next drive, and Head busted up the middle for a 63 yard gain. He was finally brought down by Kimbrough at the five. On third and goal, Earich hit Austin Campbell for a five yard touchdown pass. Newton's PAT made it 14-7.
Kimbrough was picked off on the next Tiger possession by Campbell, and after a 22 yard pass from Earich to Driggs gave the Raiders the ball at the 34, the Head fake again allowed Earich to break free for a long touchdown, this time a 29-yarder.
After both teams traded tournovers on downs, Kimbrough recovered from the interception and scored from 19 yards out cut the deficit to 21-7.
Earich completed his monstrous half with another big run, this time from 72 yards out, to give the Raiders a 28-14 lead into the half. The Tigers had some adjustments to make.
"We told them that first half was self-inflicted," said head coach Adam Eichorn, who earned his first win as Marietta head coach.
"We had countless dropped passes, missed assignments on defense. Not to take anything away from Morgan, they're a good football team. I told our guys there was a chance to set the stage for the season. We failed in the first half, but in the second half, they took the challenge. I'm really proud of them."