It was a battle to the end, but the Destin Marlins pulled off win No. 6 with a 32-20 victory over the visiting Baker Gators in middle school football action Thursday evening.
“They were a physical team,” said Destin Coach Mark Hinterthan of the Gators as he walked off the field.
The Baker Gators rolled up 162 yards on the ground with Kayleb Wagner leading the effort with 129 yards and two touchdowns.
Destin, on the other hand, finished the night with 249 yards on the ground. Harrison Orr rushed for 113 yards, including a touchdown, plus he also competed four of 10 passes for 72 yards.
Although the Marlins secured the win, Hinterthan said it wasn’t their best performance.
“We just didn’t execute real well … we didn’t play our best game tonight. We had to try and take away the things they do well and I’m proud of our guys for doing that,” he said.
Baker got on the board first on a 42-yard run by Wagner. The two-point attempt failed.
Destin answered with a touchdown of its own with quarterback Orr connecting with Maddax Fayard for a 20-yard strike. The Marlins' attempt at a two-point try also failed for a 6-6 game.
In the second quarter, Destin put another touchdown on the board. Destin’s Allen Collins picked off a Baker pass and ran it back 25 yards for the TD. The Marlins led 12-6, but not for long.
Baker’s Connor Hamman returned the kickoff 70 yards and then Colton Weekley scored on a 2-yard run two plays later for a 12-12 tie at the half.
In the third quarter, Destin stopped the Gators on their first possession and then scored quickly.
On their first play from scrimmage, on a quarterback keep, Orr scrambled 49 yards for the score. Trip Scannell kicked in the point after for a 19-12 advantage.
After both teams turned it over, Baker took the lead. Wagner scored on a 10-yard run and put up the two-point conversion for a 20-19 game.
Before the third quarter was up, Destin marched the ball down the field in seven plays with Jack Tenholder capping off the drive with a 10-yard TD run. Scannell kicked in the PAT for a 26-20 advantage.
On Baker’s next possession, Destin’s Orr delivered a big hit on fourth down to stop the Gators.
Destin took over and scored in six plays. Tenholder and Orr were the ball carriers on the drive with Jacob Wester finishing it up on an 8-yard run.
Up next for Destin is a 6:30 p.m. game next Thursday at Freeport Middle School.