ANNA — Late fumbles cost Anna in a Midwest Athletic Conference showdown against Marion Local on Friday in Anna. The Flyers scored 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to rally and hand the Rockets their first loss of the season with a 17-14 victory.
After Marion Local (4-1, 3-0 MAC) recovered a fumble late in the third quarter, quarterback Ryan Muhlenkamp put the team in scoring position with a 20-yard pass to Charles Huelsman, and running back Grant Meier followed with a 3-yard touchdown run to tie the score 14-14 with 10:45 left in the fourth quarter.
After Marion Local defensive end Nathan Ungruhn recovered another fumble at Anna’s 38-yard line, Muhlenkamp got Marion Local going again. After an 11-yard pass to Huelsman, Maier ran up the middle on several runs to set up a field goal try.
Alex Klosterman — who had an early field goal attempt blocked — hit a 21-yard field goal to put the Flyers ahead with 6:12 left.
“There were a lot of opportunities there, a lot of things we could have done better,” Anna coach Nick Marino said. “… I take the blame of the loss. The kids fought hard. We just didn’t make plays. We’ve got to adjust and make more plays, and that’s on me.”
An extremely windy contest started with Marion Local getting the ball first. The Flyers tried a sweep and fumbled deep in their own territory, and Ben Kovacs gathered the ball in the end zone for an Anna touchdown.
The Flyers then drove the length of the field with Meier and Brandon Fleck gaining tough yardage on runs, but the squad fumbled the ball away close to the goal line.
The game was then delayed for a little less than an hour due to a thunderstorm that rolled through the area and drenched the field.
Anna (4-1, 2-1) punted on the first drive after the delay. Marion Local again drove deep into Anna territory thanks to a 35-yard pass from Muhlenkamp to Peyton Otte and runs by Fleck and Muhlenkamp. Meier scored on a 2-yard run to tie it 7-7 with 9:16 left in the second quarter.
Anna got the ball first in the third quarter. After solid runs by Huelskamp and Jeffrey Richards, quarterback Bart Bixler threw pass that was intercepted by Otte.
Marion Local was stopped on its next drive and punted 56 yards to Anna’s 20, but the Rockets drove the distance on five plays, thanks in part to a 20-yard pass from Bixler to Huelskamp and a 53-yard run by Huelskamp.
Huelskamp scored on an 8-yard run to give the Rockets a 14-7 lead late in the third quarter.
After Marion Local stormed back to take the lead, Anna tried to rally. Bixler tried to run on a fourth-and-2 but was stopped inches from getting a first down.
Though the Rockets forced Marion Local to punt late, they ran out of time while trying to get something going on their last drive.
The Flyers had 381 yards of offense while Anna had 342. Huelskamp ran for 124 yards on 15 carries with one TD and two fumbles. Bixler ran for 80 yards on 16 carries and completed 8-of-11 passes for 105 yards with one interception.
Muhlenkamp completed 12-of-16 passes for 167 yards. Huelsman caught five passes for 53 yards. Muhlenkamp also rushed for 32 yards on seven carries. Meier rushed 18 times for 72 yards and two TDs. Brandon Fleck rushed 13 times for 75 yards.
The Rockets will look to get back on the winning track next Friday when they travel to Versailles (3-2, 2-1).