Although the Destin Marlins put up 36 points, it still wasn’t enough to beat the Pryor Pirates in the Okaloosa County Middle School Football Semifinals at Joe Etheredge Stadium Thursday night. Destin lost 58-36, bringing their final season record to 5-3.
“It was a shootout,” said Destin Coach Mark Hinterthan.
Between the two teams they almost put 100 points on the scoreboard. When they met earlier this season, the two teams did hit 100 with Destin taking the loss, 58-42.
As for Thursday’s semifinal game, Hinterthan said the Marlins were a little out-sized.
“They’ve got big physical kids and we had a hard time tackling again,” he said. “We tried to match them touchdown for touchdown, which we did for a while. But after a while there athleticism showed.”
Nevertheless, Hinterthan was happy with the Marlins' effort.
“I’m proud of our kids … they fought through it,” he said.
Pryor got on the board first after forcing a Destin fumble. Eight plays later, Pryor was in the end zone on a 19-yard run from Jashawn Armstrong, his first of four on the night. Armstrong carried the ball 17 times for a total of 220 yards during the score fest.
Destin didn’t waste any time answering. Destin quarterback Harrison Orr hit Maddax Fayard on the first play for a gain of 18 yards. Orr then carried the ball twice, each for a gain of 16 yards. Jared Cutts finally took the ball in from 14 yards out for the score. Rudy Arick kicked in the point after and Destin led 7-6.
In less than 30 seconds, Pryor was in the end zone again. Armstrong broke loose for a 40 yard run and then Erick Armstrong ran around the left end for a 15-yard score. Jonathan Boyd ran in the 2-point conversion for a 14-7 advantage.
On the ensuing kickoff, Destin got hit with a block-in-the back penalty and got the ball at the 20-yard line. On the first play, Orr passed across field to Fayard who hugged the left side line all the way down for an 80-yard score. Arick kicked in the point after for a 14-14 tie at the end of the first quarter.
Pryor came right back with a score. Boyd broke loose for a 26 yard run and then Jashawn Armstrong connected with Boyd for a gain of 11 yards. Jashawn Armstrong rushed for 13 and then scored from 2-yard out. Jashawn Armstrong was also good for the 2-point conversion.
Destin matched the Pirates with Orr returning the kickoff 70 yards for the touchdown. Orr ran in the 2-point conversion to keep the game knotted.
Two plays later, Pryor was back in the end zone. Jashawn Armstrong broke away for a 56-yard scamper to the end zone. Boyd ran in the 2-point conversion for a 30-22 game.
On Destin’s next possession, the Marlins were on the move picking up 28 yards on an Orr to Fayard connection. A couple of plays later, Destin was hit with a personal foul, and then they fumbled the ball away.
Pryor took advantage and scored in four plays after Erick Armstrong scored on a 36-yard run. Jashawn Armstrong scored on the 2-point conversion for a 38-22 lead.
Destin got the ball again and failed to make a first down. On fourth down, the Marlins faked a punt and went to the air with Pryor’s Eric Concepcion making the interception.
The Marlins managed to stop the Pirates, but still trailed 38-22 at the half.
In the third quarter, Pryor scored twice, once on a 19-yard run from Erick Armstrong and once on a 32-yard run by Jashawn Armstrong for a 52-22 lead.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Destin put together a 19-play drive for the score. Orr had a couple of big runs on the drive of 25 and 26 yards. Orr finally scored the TD on a 1-yard plunge up the middle. Arick was good for another extra-point kick and a 58-29 game.
Pryor answered with a 21-yard score by Justin Whidbee.
In the last minute of play, Destin scored one last time. Fayard passed across to Orr who took it down the right side for a 64-yard TD. Arick kicked in another point after for a 58-36 game.
Pryor moves on to play Meigs Middle School for the championship next Thursday.