The Duncan Banner
While the kids playing in the 5th-6th grade football championship might be young at heart, Tuesday night saw them play an old-school style of football.
Horace Mann and Marlow both utilized tough defense and hard hits as part of their respective game plans. But, in the end it was a 79-yard kickoff return by Dusty Mitchell just 13 seconds into the second half which broke open a 7-6 ball game, eventually leading to a 13-12 victory for the Falcons.
“He’s (Dusty) our go to guy on kickoff returns and has been throughout the season,” Horace Mann coach Scott Haskins said. “We all had faith in him that he would be able to return the kickoff. Once he gets loose then it’s hard to catch him.”
Falcon fans were forced to wait until late into the fourth quarter before finally being able to celebrate with their team.
Javion Dangerfield put the final nail in the Outlaws coffin with a diving interception attempt with 22 seconds left, sealing the victory.
“Being the defensive coach I was elated when Javion caught the interception for us,” Haskins said. “He’s been one of our great players this season and done so much for this team.”
Even though the boys in purple had a lead, Marlow didn’t go quietly into the night.
With 32 seconds left in the third, Marlow quarterback Matt Branum pushed his way into the endzone, capping off a long drive for the Outlaws.
After an unsuccessful point after attempt, Marlow was granted a lifeline through a pass interference penalty.
Ultimately, Horace Mann dodged the bullet and managed to keep a slim 13-12 lead heading into the fourth.
Marlow initially took the lead in the first quarter when Branum found teammate Tyler New for a 30-yard touchdown pass, giving the Outlaws a 6-0 lead at the 4:12 mark.
Horace Mann responded with a pass play of their own when Carson Kinnaird found Cole Dougherty for an 11-yard score. Kinnaird added the extra point, giving the Falcons a 7-6 lead just before halftime.
“These kids deserve everything they got tonight,” Haskins said. “All during the summer they worked hard and I’m so proud of all of them for how they played out here. This is a very special feeling for everyone.”