Marlow overwhelms Chandler in Class 2A second round

Brian Johnson
The Shawnee News-Star
Chandler running back Casmen Hill (center) takes the handoff from quarterback Kaden Jones (right) as teammate Stran Messer (51) attempts to block against Marlow Friday night in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs.

MARLOW – Chandler tried to set the tone with a time-consuming scoring drive to open the game Friday night.

Unfortunately for the Lions, those were the only points they put up on the board as the unbeaten Marlow Outlaws scored on their first four possessions – all in the first half – in cruising to a 38-7 victory over Chandler in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs.

“It was a very good, very efficient (opening) drive. We got 6, 10, 12 yards and completed some passes,” said Chandler head coach Jack Gray, whose squad burned off over eight minutes of the first-quarter clock.

Chandler's Ethan Manning (77) tries to know away the pass from Marlow's Jace Gilbert Friday night in Marlow.

Senior quarterback Kaden Jones' 1-yard plunge, capped an 80-yard, 16-play drive with 3:26 to go in the opening period. Big plays of the series were a 12-yard connection from Jones to Jarin Greenfield, a 12-yard run and 9-yard sprint from Casmen Hill, an 11-yard keeper by Jones and 13-yard hookup from Jones to Greenfield.

It was a good series to keep the ball out of the hands of an explosive Marlow offense. However, the Outlaws were too much of a powder keg.

It took a little over a minute (1:22 to be exact) for Marlow to tie it up off a 40-yard pass from senior Jace Gilbert to Avery Payne with 2:04 remaining in the first.

In fact, Gilbert figured into every scoring play on the night for the Outlaws. He threw TD passes of 40, 9 and 12. In addition, he ran for scores of 1 and 54 yards. He also booted a 30-yard field goal and was perfect 5-of-5 on all his extra-point tries. His only blemish was a missed 27-yard field goal in the third quarter.

Gilbert was 11-of-15 passing for 189 yards and the three scores and he netted 104 yards rushing on 13 carries for the night. Two of his scoring passes went to Payne for 40 and 12 yards.

“Their offense is very good. They have a very good run game and when that doesn't work, their quarterback gets the ball to where is needs to go,” Gray said. “They're a good team and there can be no margin of error against them.”

What worked for Chandler the first drive, did not the rest of the game.

“The biggest change is that we had the fumbled snaps and we got behind the 8-ball,” said Gray. “Our efficiency dropped. We could have been more efficient. We just has a lot of mishaps and miss keys.”

The Lion loss overshadowed a mighty effort from junior Casmen Hill, who netted 90 yards on 15 attempts and caught five passes for 72 yards to finish with 162 all-purpose offensive yards.

Jones ended up with 35 yards on 17 carries and the one TD and was 10-of-28 passing for 111 yards. However, his completion percentage may have been higher had it not been for some dropped passes.

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In the second quarter, Gilbert fired a 9-yard scoring pass, ran for a 1-yard touchdown and booted his 30-yard field goal to put the Outlaws up at the half, 24-7.

Chandler finally kept Marlow out of the end zone to start the second half as Gilbert missed a 27-yard field-goal attempt.

The Lions faced some misfortune in a pair of sequences late in the third quarter. They drove the ball all the way to the Outlaw 16-yard line, but a 4-yard loss, along with two pass incompletions forced Chandler to turn over the ball on downs at the 15.

One of the Lions' best defensive series of the game was thwarted by an illegal substitution penalty on a fourth-and-four situation at the Marlow 21. The Outlaws punted the ball on the play, the whistle was blown and Marlow set up shop again at their own 36.

Chandler senior quarterback Kaden Jones (11) prepares to deliver a pass against Prague during a recent game.

It only took three plays for the Outlaws to score as Gilbert raced to paydirt off a 54-yard keeper with 1:20 remaining in the third. That appeared to break Chandler's back.

The Lions had a drive to the 50-yard line in the fourth, but it fizzled out after consecutive losses which moved the ball back to their own 33. Then an incompletion on fourth down gave the ball back to Marlow.

Chandler had a few defensive moments as Dalton Fowble made a fumble recovery while Jarin Greenfield was in on a tackle for no gain and combined with Stran Messer to make a stop for a loss and Chaden Sullivan registered a sack for a loss of eight yards.

But the big-play capabilities of the Outlaws proved to be too much.

The contest marked the high school finale for eight seniors – Jones, Greenfield, Fowble, Kyle Snodgrass, Drake Rodriguez, Jacob Ostrowski, Luke Russell and Brayden Redford.

“This was my first group. It was a really good group of guys. They've grown up a lot. They were the frontrunners of the things we are doing now,” Gray said. “This was the most enjoyable group I have coached.”

Gray also pointed about the Lions' ability to face some uphill battles in 2021 in finishing with an 8-4 record.

“We faced adversity with all the injuries, players moving around and others stepping up,” said Gray. “We had a good season through all that adversity.”

Gray also praised the efforts of Jones and Hill.

“Kaden really stepped up as a leader, even playing both ways,” Gray said. “Casmen stepped up and did a good job playing on both sides of the ball.”