Marceline football defeated Hayti 31-30 in the state semifinals at Marceline Saturday.
Brandon Monty with the call of Drake Stufflebean’s 20-yard field goal as time expired on KIRK and centralmoinfo.com. Hayti grabbed a 30-28 lead with four and a half minutes left on quarterback Tray’von Thomas’ 15-yard scamper. Marceline denied Hayti’s two-point attempt. Tigers Jace Bixenman and Hunter Nelson responded with big runs as Marceline reached Hayti’s 33 yard line. A pair of seniors then connected.
Three Nelson runs followed before Stufflebean’s game-winning kick. Jacob Stallo also found Wyatt Molloy for an 88-yard touchdown late in the third quarter. But two Thomas touchdown runs and a safety created Marceline’s 30-28 deficit. Tigers head coach Mark Ross analyzed the final drive.
The 12-1 Tigers thrived on the ground. Nelson produced an unofficial 119 yards and two touchdowns on 21 attempts. Bixenman added 95 yards and a score.
Ross’ defense slowed an Indians offense that averaged 55 points per game with both an All-State quarterback and receiver. Thomas rushed for 200 yards, but the senior passed for just 123 yards on 18 throws. Marceline forced three turnovers against previously undefeated Hayti.
The Tigers trailed 16-7 late in the first quarter, but Bixenman and Nelson rushing touchdowns handed Marceline a 20-16 advantage at half. Marceline faces East Buchanan in the Class 1 state championship Saturday at Faurot Field. Pregame coverage begins at 2:40pm on KIRK and centralmoinfo.com. East Buchanan beat Thayer 34-6.
Mark Ross Postgame Interview: