Destin falls in final seconds to Baker Gators

Tina Harbuck

BAKER -- After a roaring come back, the Destin Marlins still came up short in a 12-6 loss to the Baker Gators Thursday night in middle school football action.

“After the rain delay, we played our game for 3 minutes and other than that we just didn’t play well,” said Destin Coach Mark Hinterthan.

Down by 6, Destin got the ball with 3:19 left on the clock in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Max Moran connected with Luke Edelman for a gain of 29 yards putting the ball on the Baker 30. Almost simultaneously a huge clap of thunder sounded and the stadium was cleared for a weather delay.

Following the 30 minute delay, Destin came out and put the ball in the air again with Baker flagged for roughing the passer, giving Destin the ball on the 15. Baker drove Destin back on the next couple of plays putting the Marlins on the 24-yard line. On a fourth-and-long situation, Moran put the ball up and Jackson Crews snagged it and took it down the left sideline for the score. The point after kick went wide left for a tie game with 1:47 left on the clock.

Destin went for the onside kick, but Baker downed the ball on the Destin 43-yard line. Ryan Fleming picked up 7 yards on the ground and then another 20 on a catch from Tanner Kimbrel. Ethan Edge got the Gators down to the 1-yard line on a 14-yard carry. With 20 seconds left on the clock, Baker was backed up on a 5-yard penalty. With 11 ticks left on the clock, Fleming ran around the left end and then dove into the end zone for the win.

“I’m just disappointed,” Hinterthan said. “That’s not our best game. We didn’t play well.”

On Destin’s first possession of the game, the Marlins failed to gain any ground and were forced to punt.

Baker muffed the ball on the punt and Destin’s Jaden Carlisle came up with it on the 19-yard line. On third down, Moran put the ball up only to be intercepted by Fleming for a pick-six down the right side line for a 93-yard TD. The two-point try after was no good.

Late in the second quarter, Destin’s Moran was picked off again by a Gator. However, this time the Marlins kept the Gators at midfield.

Both teams had the ball once more in the first half for no score.

At the start of the third quarter, Baker suffered a couple of penalties and Destin managed to back the Gators. On a third-and-24 situation, or as the announcer called it, a third-and-Laurel Hill (which is about 23 miles from Baker), the Marlins backed them up two more yards.

In the fourth, Destin stopped the Gators again and got the chance to more the ball. They got off one play before the weather delay.

For the game, Destin’s Aiden Garrity rushed eight times for 23 yards. Moran completed eight of 18 passes for 65 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.

Baker had 114 yards rushing. Fleming was the go-to guy with 41 yards and two TDs.

Up next for Destin is a 6:30 p.m. game against Bruner. The game will be played at Viking Stadium in Fort Walton Beach.