The effort was there, but the Destin Marlins still came up short of a victory Thursday evening as they lost 26-6 on the road to the Pryor Pirates in middle school football action.

"They made the adjustments we worked on all week and it showed," said Destin Coach Demetris Stevens.

Destin held the Pirates out of the end zone until the last three minutes of the first quarter, with Pryor scoring on a fourth-and-one situation. However, the Marlins stuffed them on the 2-point try.

Destin got the ball and went three and out. On the punt, Destin's Nick Sherer caused the Pirates to bobble the ball and Nolan Berry was there to make the recovery. Destin failed to capitalize on the turnover.

In the second quarter, Destin scored on its second possession of the period. On the first play from scrimmage, quarterback Brady Ooten found a wide-open Nathan Sheppard on the right side for about a 20-yard catch and then dash to the end zone for a 53-yard score. The Pirates blocked the extra point kick for a tie game with 2:41 to go in the first half.

Pryor was quick to answer with a 60-yard scamper for the touchdown. Again the Destin defense stopped them on the conversion.

"Our defense really stepped it up a lot this week," Stevens said. He noted that Callahan Phillips had some big hits.

Destin's Dallas Jarowsewicz got in the back field several times dropping Pirates for a loss.

In the third quarter, Pryor scored on its opening drive capping off a 65-yard drive with a 6-yard score.

Destin moved the ball on its possession picking up two first downs but no score. Sherer rushed three times for a first down and Berry had a catch for a gain of 15 yards for another first.

Pryor scored one last time at the start of the fourth on a pass play.

The Marlins threatened with Ooten connecting with Berry for a 35-yard gain and then an 11-yarder to Robbie Leach. However, Leach’s catch was called back due to a holding penalty on the Marlins.

"We were in the game," Stevens said, noting they were only down 12-6 at the half. "They were listening to what we were trying to do. I think in the next couple of weeks we're going to turn this thing around. They are starting to get over some of that nervousness.”

Up next for the Marlins is a 6:30 p.m. game Thursday at Meigs.