Destin Middle shuts out Ruckel in season opener

Big, huge and fantastic were just a few of the words Destin Coach Mark Hinterthan used to describe Thursday night’s 8-0 victory over the Ruckel Rams of Niceville in the season opener of middle school football.

“We played with a little spirit, a little grit and a little bit of toughness tonight,” Hinterthan said. “The defense played a great game and the offense did enough to keep it going.”

Although the offense had a couple of miscues, “we didn’t quit and we didn’t hang our heads … that was really good,” he said. “This was a big win, huge win, fantastic win. This is the second year in a row to beat Ruckel."

Leading the Destin offense was quarterback Harrison Orr, who completed three passes for 32 yards and scored the team’s only touchdown of the evening on a 58-yard run down the left sideline. Jared Cutts carried the ball eight times for 28 yards and Maddax Fayard touched the ball twice for a gain of 26 yards.

As for the defense, the Marlins only gave up 27 yards on the ground and eight through the air to the Rams. Destin’s Price Bowen had a quarterback sack for a loss of eight yards, and Jared Cutts dropped a Rams running back for a loss of six yards. Orr and Maddox Hayles each had big hits for losses and Brandon Harnish picked off a pass late in the fourth quarter.

Destin had the ball twice before they finally capitalized on a possession. Early in the second quarter, with the ball on their own 28-yard line, Orr picked up 14 yards on the first play, then on the second he ran around the left end and then hugged the sideline all the way to the end zone to put the Marlins on the board. Destin then went for 2 with Orr connecting with Hayles for the conversion and the only score of the evening.

The Marlins had the ball one more time in the first half and gained 17 yards on a run by Fayard and an 11-yard run by Cutts before coming to a halt on dropped passes.

In the second half, Destin gave up one first down to the Rams before shutting them down.

With the ball at about midfield, Destin made a first down on an Orr to Christian Harnish connection for a gain of 12 yards. Orr picked up eight more yards on the ground. With the ball on the 32-yard line, Fayard broke loose around the left end and broke a couple of tackles and jumped over some defenders and into the end zone. The TD was called back due to a holding call against Marlins.

In the fourth quarter, Destin had the ball a couple of more times, and made it into the red zone, just not the end zone.

With the win Thursday, the Marlins have now won eight regular season games in a row.

Up next for Destin is a 6:30 p.m. road game Thursday against the Emerald Coast Stingrays of South Walton.