Bruner Spartans shutout Destin on the gridiron

Tina Harbuck
Destin's Jackson Crews tries to hold on to the ball while being taken down by a Bruner Spartan. Crews had two catches in the second half for gains of 20 and 8 yards in the 44-0 loss. [TINA HARBUCK/THE LOG]

The Bruner Spartans put six touchdowns on the board Thursday night to defeat the Destin Marlins 44-0 in middle school football at Steve Riggs Stadium in Fort Walton Beach.

“We knew they were big, physical, strong and fast. They are a good football team,” said Destin Coach Mark Hinterthan. “We have a lot of injuries and nobody in the backfield.”

So in the last couple of days, the Marlins changed their offense.

“We tried to throw the football around tonight and I’m actually very proud of these guys,” Hinterthan said.

Destin quarterback Max Moran was called on time after time throwing 35 passes and completing 17 for 96 yards.

“I’ve had teams on a higher level that didn’t execute as well as these guys did tonight,” Hinterthan said. “I’m proud of the kids. They battled.”

To start, Destin had the ball first and was forced to punt.

Bruner took over and scored in five plays with Jalmel Merriel scoring on an 8-yard run. The two-point conversion was good and Bruner was on the board, 8-0.

On Destin’s next possession, the Marlins put together their best and longest drive of the night. Starting from their own 38-yard line, the Marlins made three first downs before turning it over on downs. Moran completed an 8-yard pass to Aiden Garrity, and then went to Luke Edelman for a gain of 4 yards and a first. Moran connected with Edelman again for a pickup of 11 yards putting the Marlins in Spartan territory. Moran paired up with Edelman on three passes for gains of 8, 2 and 4 yards to put Destin on the 15-yard line. At that point, the Marlins stalled and were forced to turn it over on downs.

Starting from their own 20-yard line, Bruner took it the distance in seven plays and scored on a 70-yard pass play. The two-point conversion was good for a 16-0 lead.

On the ensuing kick, Bruner recovered the ball and then scored on a first play from scrimmage for another strike and a 24-0 lead.

On Destin’s next possession, Moran was intercepted. However, the Marlins got the ball right back with Sandro Ciurleo recovering a fumble. Destin made one first down on a 15-yard catch and run by Garrity before the Marlins were forced to punt.

The Spartans blocked the punt, putting themselves in good field position. Three plays later, Gavin Alexis scored on a 7-yard run. Elijah Johnson ran in the two-point conversion for a 32-0 lead.

Bruner scored one more time before the half for a 38-0 advantage.

With a running clock the entire second half, Bruner scored on their first possession on a 21-yard run by Jayden Simmons.

Destin had the ball once and picked up two first downs. Jackson Crews had a catch for a gain of 20 yards for a first down. Jaden Carlisle had a reception for 8 yards. Crews had another catch for 8 yards and Orr one for 6 yards.

For the game, Destin had 96 yards of total offense, while the Spartans had 370, with 236 yards coming on the ground.

Up next for Destin is a 6:30 p.m. game at home Thursday against the Ruckel Rams of Niceville.