by Greg Swiderski
Last Friday’s Senior Night football game against Miami’s Palmer Trinity Falcons was there for the taking.
The Dolphins trailed 13-7 at halftime, scoring just before the break to gain some needed momentum.
But things didn’t go Marathon’s way in the second half despite an early third-quarter break, and the Dolphins came up short, 33-17, to the 4-2 Falcons.
“The third quarter was devastating to us,” said running back/linebacker Thomas Eubanks. “We’ve had turnovers that hurt us last week, in practice and tonight. We just need to take care of the ball better.”
The 2-6 Dolphins’ break began at the start of the third quarter when the Falcons’ snap from center sailed over quarterback Lucas Alonso to the 18-yard line. Jinn Mann recovered for Marathon.
On a first down from the 8-yard line, quarterback Cole McDaniel was sweeping right on a keeper when the ball was punched out of his hands and Palmer Trinity’s Walker Smith recovered at the 19-yard line.
Palmer Trinity drove 81 yards to score on Alonso’s 3-yard run to make the score 20-7. Santana Wooten, who would carry 6 times for 174 yards in the game, had a 48-yard run during the scoring drive.
On the Dolphins’ next series, McDaniels’ only pass of the game was intercepted by Jahmir Everett at the Falcon 35 yard line and returned 24 yards to Marathon’s 41.
With 17 seconds left in the quarter, Ryan Kleber threw an option pass to Ernest Robertson in the end zone, who made the catch while surrounded by three Dolphin defenders.
“The turnovers are just killing us,” said Marathon coach Mac Childress. “We felt we were in a great position to start the second half when we recovered the fumble. You can’t turn the ball over inside the 10-yard line. We lost some of our energy.”
Alonso finished the Falcon scoring with a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Marathon’s final touchdown came on T.J. Hawkins’ fumble recovery in the end zone with 2:57 left in the game.
Palmer Trinity scored on their first offensive play in the first quarter on Wooten’s 74-yard touchdown run with 3:29 remaining.
“My offensive line did a great job blocking for me,” said Wooten. “I saw daylight up the middle after I veered left. This was a big win for our team.”
“He’s a talent, that’s for sure,” said Palmer Trinity coach Mark Reese of Wooten. “I told the kids on the way down here that Marathon was a tough team. They play physical football and are well coached.”
Eubanks would gain 44 yards on 11 carries. Malachi Hawkins led Marathon with 58 yards in 16 attempts.
“Both Hawkins and Eubanks are good players,” said Childress. “They bring toughness, grit and accountability for us. They are everything you want as leaders.”
Marathon closed out its season hosting Everglades Prep Academy on Oct. 27.