The Destin Marlins were firing on all cylinders Thursday night as they shutout the Lewis Falcons 61-0 in middle school football action in Destin.
“Last week we didn’t play up to our potential,” said Destin Coach Mark Hinterthan.
Last week the Marlins lost 20-8 to Shoal River and then 22-14 to the Davidson Panthers.
“So they came out and wanted to execute much better tonight and I think they did. They played hard,” Hinterthan said.
Lewis had the ball first and Destin shut them down on the second play from scrimmage with Jackson Crews picking off a Falcon pass.
On Destin’s first play, quarterback Max Moran connected with Crews for a 35-yard catch and run for the goal line. With just 34 seconds off the clock, Destin was on the board 6-0.
On Lewis’ next possession, the Destin defense pushed them back on every play before they were forced to punt.
Destin’s Blake Orr returned the punt back about 30-yards for a TD. Preston Murphy ran in the two-point conversion and Destin was up 14-0.
Lewis again were stopped dead in their tracks on their next possession and forced to punt.
Starting from their own 47-yard line, Destin scored in two plays. Parker Hill picked up 20 yards on the first play and then Aiden Garrity scrambled for 33 yards and the score. The point after kick went wide left.
On the Falcons next possession, Destin drove them back 15 yards before they punted. Destin’s Crews returned the kick for a 45-yard score. Nathan Stepp kicked in the point after and Destin led 27-0 with 2:20 left in the first quarter.
Lewis finally gained a little ground on their next possession with quarterback DJ Shorts completing a couple of passes for 10 and 14 yards. On his third attempt, however, he was picked off by Destin’s Hill who ran it back about 30 yards.
With the ball on the 28-yard line, Destin’s Crews ran around the left end for the TD and Stepp kicked in the point after for a 34-0 game.
Destin picked off its third Lewis pass with Orr coming down with the ball.
However, the Lewis defense knocked the ball loose on the first down and recovered the ball.
The Falcons didn’t have possession of the ball for long as Carter Tobik picked off a Shorts pass.
Three plays later, Destin was in the end zone again. Jack Tenholder, after rushing for 22 yards on the second play, took the ball four yards for the score. Stepp’s kick hit the left upright and was no good.
Destin scored one more time before the half. Crews returned another punt for a 50-yard score. Stepp’s kick was good for a 47-0 game at the half.
With a running clock the second half; Destin put two more touchdowns on the board. The first was a long zigzagging run by Garrity that went for 60 yards and the score. The second came after Tobik recovered a fumble and then Tenholder took the ball 40-yards for the score. Stepp hit both extra-point kicks for a 61-0 finish.
For the game, Destin had 232 yards rushing with Garrity rolling up 103 yards and two scores. Crews scored four TDs, two on punt returns, and Orr was one-for-one through the air for a 35-yard TD strike.
The Destin defense held Lewis to 29 yards total offense.
Up next for Destin is a 6:30 p.m. game Sept. 14 at Etheredge Stadium in Fort Walton Beach against the Pryor Pirates.