A failure to finish and a lack of discipline were the downfall of the Destin Marlins Thursday night as the Shoal River Mustangs of Crestview rolled into town and posted a 20-8 victory over the Marlins in middle school football action.

“We didn’t finish on offense and we had a few drives that got stalled,” said Destin Coach Mark Hinterthan. “We just came out flat.

“And we were undisciplined on two plays, after that the defense settled in and the defense played a good game. I think they made some great adjustments.”

Shoal River didn’t waste any time getting on the board. On the first play from scrimmage, Trevon Harris ran it right up the middle on the Marlins for a 65-yard score. Harris finished up the night with 11 carries for 103 yards. The Destin defense stuffed the Mustangs on the two-point try.

On Destin’s first possession, the Marlins started good, but then sputtered. Quarterback Max Moran connected with Jackson Crews for a gain of 27 yards, but then Destin stalled inside the Shoal River 12 yard line.

The Mustangs, starting from the 12, made two first downs before the Marlins forced them to punt.

On Destin’s possession, the Marlins failed to gain any positive yardage and were forced to punt.

Two plays later, the Mustangs scored on another big play with Jaquis Holliday-Dortch scampering 47 yards for the touchdown. Destin again stopped the two-point conversion, but Shoal River led 12-0.

At the start of the second quarter, Destin had the ball and Jack Tenholder picked up three yards before the Marlins stalled and were forced to punt. On the kick, a Mustang bobbled the ball and Jaden Carlisle made the recovery for Destin.

Destin had the ball for two plays before turning it over with Devon Estep intercepting a Moran pass.

Shoal River made three first downs before Destin’s Dylan Matekovich recovered the ball on a failed lateral by the Mustang quarterback.

With the ball on the 40-yard line, Moran connected with Carlisle for a 37-yard gain to take it across the 50. Moran connected with Carlisle again for a 13-yard gain before Crews ran it up the middle for 10 yards and the touchdown. The Marlins faked the extra-point kick and Parker Hill connected with Moran in the end zone for 2 points and a 12-8 game.

Before the half, Destin’s Matekovich picked off a Shoal River pass with 44 seconds to play. Destin got off one play, and then took a knee.

Shoal River scored one last time in the third quarter on a 55-yard run by Jayson Osborne. Harris ran in the two-point conversion for a 20-8 game.

Late in the third, Destin had a good drive going, picking up three first downs. Carlisle had a catch for a gain of 10 yards and Crews one for 14 yards. The Marlins got the ball down inside the 10-yard line and then fumbled on fourth down.

In the fourth quarter, the Marlins again mounted a big drive making three first downs, but couldn’t hit pay dirt. Aiden Garrity connected with Crews for a gain of 20 yards. Crews had a couple of more catches for 5 yards each for another first down, then one long one for a gain of 24 yards. With the ball on the 11-yard line, Moran’s final attempt was swatted away by Osborne.

Shoal River took over with 21 seconds left and took a knee.

“Take away those two mental errors early and we were in this game,” Hinterthan said.

For the game, Destin had 182 yards total offense with the majority of it coming through the air. Moran completed 10 of 28 attempts for 143 yards and Garrity had the one toss for 20 yards.

Shoal River had 309 yards total offense. The Mustangs rushed for 284 yards.

Up next for Destin is a 6:30 p.m. game Aug. 31 at Crestview High School against the Davidson Panthers.