Marion High School Athletics


Marion spring football game scheduled for Thursday

Photo Credit: Londa Hamrick


Marion's spring football game has become a must-see event over the past three years, and this year's contest should be no different. Beginning at 6 p.m., Thursday, May 30 at Southern Bancorp Stadium, fans will be able to get their first look at the 2024 Marion football team in a controlled scrimmage environment. “I have always felt like the spring game is a great cap to the school year and for football an exciting way to begin the next season,” said fourth-year Marion football coach Lance Clark. “Our game on Thursday should be a good way to tie a bow on spring ball, let our kids have some fun, and really give everyone a nice, community event.” Entry to Thursday's spring game is free for all, and the concession stand will have hot dogs and other snacks for purchase. Marion football will have tents set up where you can give donations in exchange for game-worn Marion football jerseys, hats, and helmet decals. During stoppages in play, there will be mini games featuring children who volunteer to be selected to take part in the events. The names will be selected at random before the event. On the field, Marion's coaches will split the varsity roster into two teams where they will compete in four, eight-minute quarters until a winner is decided. “Us coaches really like splitting the guys up, trying to make the teams as fair as possible,” said Clark. “It's a competitive thing because both teams want to win.” The spring football game is Marion's tenth and final allowed spring practice under the rules of the Arkansas Activities Association. Marion, which has averaged eight wins per season the past three years, finished 8-3 in 2023, finishing as conference runners-up before losing a heartbreaking home quarterfinal game to state power Pulaski Academy 27-26 when the Bruins scored on a 31-yard touchdown pass on the game's final play. The 2024 Patriot offense should boast three-year starting offensive linemen Charlie Cantrell and Carius Curne, with three-year starting receivers Cam Garrett, Mitrell Lewis, and Christian Young, and two-time all-state tailback Jalen Smith. Graduation hit Marion's defense rather hard a week ago, with seven starters walking the stage and exhausting their varsity eligibility, but the Pats do return defensive linemen Ryan Blackwell and Myles Dukes, cornerbacks Taheim Frost and Kendrick Cauley, and safeties and twins Kejaris and Kajeris Hill. The nature of the rosters means that some of the offensive players will play defense, and vice versa. Special teams will be part of the contest, but field goals and extra points will not have to face a defense, and punts will feature a snapper and a punter only, with up to two returners, and the kick is down where the returner catches it. Teams can go for two at any time during the game, a change from being able to go for it only in the fourth quarter the past two years. Should the game be tied at the end of the fourth eight-minute quarter? Well. “We are definitely playing it out,” said Clark. “The first overtime will be four downs starting at the opponent's 10-yard line, then we'll go to two-point plays after that. But we will play until there's a winner, for sure.” The spring game usually takes about an hour and a half.

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