Same story, different night for Robinson High School's football team.
The Maroons once again had a slow start and made too many mental mistakes that combined to be too much to overcome in a 20-14 loss to Marshall in their Little Illini Conference contest (Sept. 20).
"We just weren't ready to play and I'll take the blame on that," RHS head coach Casey Pinnell said. "I didn't have them ready to play, so we'll go back to the drawing board and find a way to fix it."
Scoring points, especially early, has been a problem for the Maroons for most of the season and was again Friday night. After an interception ended Robinson's first series, Marshall quickly capitalized, as Luke Cook connected with Jacob Shaffner for a 20-yard touchdown pass that was tipped by the Maroons' Garrett Florkowski before Shaffner corralled it in the end zone and the Lions had a 6-0 lead with 8:31 left in the first quarter.
Marshall extended its lead to 14-0 at the 7:11 mark of the second quarter, when Cook hit Shaffner again, this time on a 25-yard scoring strike, the Cook tossed the two-point conversion pass to Lance Rees.
Robinson was finally able to get its first first down of the game on the next possession, thanks to a Marshall penalty at the 5:45 mark. The Maroons would get another first down on the drive before it stalled out near midfield, then an interception right before halftime ended another potential threat and Robinson trailed 14-0 at halftime.
As they have throughout most of the season, the RHS defense clamped down and the Maroons' offense finally managed to break through in the third quarter, when Ely Parker capped off a seven-play, 63-yard drive with a one-yard run on fourth-and-goal. The extra point attempt by Negus Bogard clanged off the left upright and the Maroons still trailed 14-6 with 1:34 left in the third quarter.
Following a series of punts, Robinson was able to find the end zone again, this time it was Parker connecting with Jordan Peternal for a 22-yard touchdown pass, then Parker hit Tyler Weber for the two-point conversion to tie the game at 14-14 with 3:46 left in the fourth quarter.
Unfortunately, the Maroons could not sustain the momentum. After the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, Marshall ran for 10 yards and the Maroons were flagged for a late hit on the play, which moved the ball past midfield. Marshall was able to move down the field and eventually scored on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Cook to Rees and the Lions grabbed a 20-14 lead with 1:35 remaining after the two-point conversion attempt failed.
Still, the Maroons had time for a last-minute scoring drive, just as they did the week before in their loss and Flora and the results were nearly identical. After Wesley Jackson returned the kickoff near midfield, Parker threw incomplete on first down, then after a five-yard run by Tyler Beard on second down, Parker threw incomplete passes on third and fourth downs to end the Maroons' hopes of a comeback win.
"We can't wait until five minutes to go in the fourth quarter to play football," Pinnell said. "I have to figure out how to get this team ready to play from the opening kickoff. But, that's my job and I'll fix it."
Despite their struggles, the Maroons finished the game with 211 yards of offense - most of which came in the second half. Beard led RHS with 155 yards rushing on 27 carries, while Parker completed four of 11 passes for 45 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score. Peternal was the leading receiver with one catch for 22 yards and a touchdown, while Levi Dickerson had a 17-yard reception.
Marshall was led by Cook with 122 yards passing and three touchdowns, while also running for 52 more yards. Rees caught five passes for 78 yards and a touchdown, Shaffner caught three passes for 39 yards and two touchdowns and John Siverly was the leading rusher for the Lions with 76 yards on 18 carries.
At Crosby Field, Robinson
Marshall 6 8 0 6 - 20
Robinson 0 0 6 8 - 14
MHS 1Q (8:31) Luke Cook 20 pass to Jacob Shaffner (kick blocked)
MHS 2Q (7:11) Cook 25 pass to Shaffner (Cook pass to Lance Rees)
RHS 3Q (1:34) Ely Parker 1 run (kick failed)
RHS 4Q (3:46) Parker 22 pass to Jordan Peternal (Parker pass to Tyler Weber)
MHS 4Q (1:35) Cook 10 pass to Rees (run failed)
First Downs 9 13
Rushes-Yds 39-166 34-126
Passes-Yds 4-11-45 9-24-122
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-0
Penalties-Yds 7-97 5-47
Rushing - (RHS) Tyler Beard 27-155, Garrett Florkowski 5-8, Dylan York 2-3, Wesley Jackson 1-2, Ely Parker 4-(minus 2). (MHS) John Siverly 18-76, Luke Cook 10-52, Lance Rees 1-0, Jacob Shaffner 5-(minus 2).
Passing - (RHS) Ely Parker 4-11-45-1TD-2INT. (MHS) Luke Cook 9-24-122-3TD-1INT.
Receiving - (RHS) Jordan Peternal 1-22, Levi Dickerson 1-17, Tyler Beard 1-9, Dylan York 1-(minus 3). (MHS) Lance Rees 5-78, Jacob Shaffner 3-39, John Siverly 1-5.