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HILLSVILLE –– It seems like the prudent thing to do in these days of economic downsizing –– getting to one’s destination via a smaller model than what one has grown accustomed.
The Marion football team is no different.
A year ago, the Scarlet Hurricane reached the Region IV Division 3 finals behind the wheel of what amounted to a Hummer and a Crown Victoria, as powerful fullback Tommy Lyon and high-performance Jordan Burrows combined for more than 2,000 rushing yards.
This year, Marion is getting pretty much the same results from a Prius.
Brock Hannah isn’t the most physically-imposing player Carroll County will face this year, but he is as dangerous as any back on the Cavaliers’ schedule. Containing him will be a focal point as Carroll hosts Marion in a Southwest District game tonight at Tommy Thompson Field.
“He’s not real big, but he is quick,” said Cavalier coach Tom Hale. “Their size up front gives us some concern, and that kid’s quickness. We’ve got to get him stopped.”
That hasn’t happened very often in Marion’s first six games. Hannah, all 5-foot-6 and 139 pounds of him, is one of Timesland’s leading rushers, with 710 yards and 12 touchdowns entering tonight’s action. He’s getting the job done thanks in part to a big experienced front five.
“Offensively, they’re really mixing it up,” Hale said. “They’re using their size up front well, running a lot of power and letting that kid pick his hole. That’s really working for them, which is something that they weren’t doing at the beginning of the year. He can make you pay. Their passing attack isn’t real strong, if there is a weakness, so we feel we can get our people up in the box and make it a tough game for them.”
One would think that a 139-pounder would live on the perimeter, but that’s not entirely the case.
“He certainly has no fear of taking it up inside,” said Hale. “They like to run him outside, but he’ll turn it up inside in a heartbeat. He runs with no fear.”
Many of the Cavaliers’ top defenders will be chasing Hannah with a set of bad wheels, as Cody Mabe, James Lanning and Luis Moreno are all nursing minor leg injuries.
“We’ve got kids with some serious bumps and bruises,” said Hale. “It’s nothing major, but it is holding them back.”
Carroll County has won three straight following an 0-3 start, but has been living dangerously the last two weeks, rallying from second-half deficits against William Byrd and Abingdon. Though the Cavaliers have won more than their share of games by what happens in the locker room between the first half and the second half, that hasn’t been the case as much as simply not being ready to go at the onset.
“Offensively it was missed blocking assignments,” Hale said of last Friday’s Abingdon game. “Defensively it was missed tackles. We’ve really been working just trying to be a little more alert at the beginning. They settle in later in the game after we make adjustments, and I think that’s a mentality that we’ve got to get them pastee Last week, we didn’t have to make any adjustments, we just weren’t ready to play.”
Nonetheless, the three straight wins have kept the Cavaliers alive in the SWD race.
“We’re on a roll right now,” Hale said. “Our kids are trying to ride this wave, and we’re just trying to improve each week.”