Marlins hold composure to clinch first win

Tina Harbuck | The Destin Log

It’s been a few weeks coming, but the Destin Marlins finally posted a mark in the win column Thursday night with a 32-24 victory over the Lewis Falcons in middle school football action.

With the game tied at 24-24 with just under four minutes to play, the Marlins put together a quick drive to take the lead.

After a bobble of sorts on the first play, Destin’s Trey Wainwright connected with Jackson Smith for a 26-yard gain. Two plays later, Wainwright called his own number and took it around the left end for a 21-yard score. Wainwright was also good for the two-point conversion, giving the Marlins a 32-24 lead with 2:42 left on the clock.

Lewis managed to pick up one first down on a 24-yard run by Shawn Parker, but the Marlin defense shut them down and got the ball back with 13 seconds left on the clock and took a knee to clinch the win.

What was the difference in the game?

“Towards the end we grabbed our composure when we needed a big play,” said Destin Coach Daniel Griffin. “We dug deep and pulled it out.

“I’m proud of the effort of the kids … the first W feels good. I’m proud for Destin, for the community and the school,” Griffin added as he walked off the field.

Earlier in the game, Lewis got on the board first on a 7-yard run by Parker, who finished the night with 114 yards in 18 carries. The two-point conversion was good.

Not to be out done, Destin answered immediately. On their first play from scrimmage, Brady Bachman, who finished with 61 yards in five carries, broke away for a 33-yard score. Then Wainwright pitched out to Bachman for the two-point conversion and an 8-8 game.

On the Falcons' next possession, Destin’s Jackson Crews picked off a pass. The Marlins made a couple of first downs before failing to convert on a fourth-and-inches play.

The ball swapped hands about five times and looked as though the game would be deadlocked at the half. But with 18 seconds left on the clock, Wainwright connected with Bachman for a 25-yard gain. On the next play, Wainwright, on a keeper, cut the left corner for a 12-yard score. Bachman ran in the two-point conversion for a 16-8 lead at the break.

At the start of the third quarter, Destin put together a nine-play drive with Wainwright and Bachman connecting for a 7-yard score. Smith was good on the two-point conversion catch and a 24-8 advantage.

Lewis came back and eventually evened the score with a 17-yard run by Parker in the third quarter, and 2-yard catch by Jehari Cook in the fourth for a 24-24 game.

Up next for Destin is a 6:30 p.m. game at home against the Pryor Pirates.