Destin Marlins' 'refuse to lose' attitude helps secure win over Bruner Spartans

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

The Destin Marlins got down twice, but they came back each time to post a 19-16 win over the visiting Bruner Spartans in middle school football Thursday night. 

“We grew a little bit tonight,” said Destin Coach Mark Hinterthan as he walked off the field. “We had a little bit of adversity … playing against a big Bruner team.” 

Destin's Tracen Trahan pulls the ball in for a 4-yard touchdown catch in the final seconds of the first half against the Bruner Spartans. The Destin Marlins went on to win 19-16.

The Marlins had five guys not dressed out due to various things so they had a few players in some different positions. 

“All week we talked team and unity and those guys played well as a team tonight,” Hinterthan said. “We got down and them came back as a team and gutted it out. They came back twice, they refused to lose.”

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Destin got on the board first on their first possession of the game.

The Marlins scored in five plays. Quarterback Jordan Figueroa picked up 10 and 15 yards before Franco Corban carried it in from 4 yards out for the touchdown. Corban also kicked in the extra point and the Marlins were up 7-0. 

In the second quarter, Destin started deep in their own territory and managed to get the ball back to about midfield before they turned it over on downs. Figueroa connected with Tracen Trahan for gains of 9 and 12 yards before they gave the ball over. 

Destin's Jordan Figueroa looks for open ground against the Bruner Spartans. FIgueroa  rushed for 93 yards and passed for 112 in the 19-16 victory over Bruner in middle school ball.

With the ball on the Destin 49-yard line and less than four minutes to go in the first half, Bruner scored in three plays. On the Spartans' first play, they were knocked back by a tough Destin defense for a loss of three. On the next play, Nick Latson picked up 16 yards. Latson carried the ball again, this time for a 37-yard scramble to the end zone. Latson rushed for the two-point conversion and Bruner led 8-7 with 3 minutes left in the first half. 

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The Spartans went for the onside kick, but Destin got the ball at the 45. Figueroa came out throwing on the first play and connected with Gabe Escalera for a gain of 25 yards. Figueroa had a few misses before he hit Trahan for a gain of 20. Corban picked up 16 yards on the ground to bring the ball to the 4-yard line. Destin sputtered a few times with incomplete passes and no gain on the ground. On a fourth-and-goal with 24 seconds left in the half, Figueroa found Trahan in the left corner of the end zone for the score to put the Marlins up 13-8. The extra point kick went wide. 

Destin's Franco Corban carries the ball in for a 4-yard touchdown run against the Bruner Spartans. Destin won the middle school game 19-16.

In the third quarter, both teams had the ball twice and made first downs, but couldn’t reach the end zone. 

With less than 4 minutes to go, Bruner took the lead on a 10-play series that culminated in a 3-yard run up the middle by Junior Harris for the TD. Harris was also good for the two-point conversion and Bruner led 16-13 with 3:22 left in the game. 

But the Marlins were not done yet. 

With the ball at midfield, Figueroa rushed for 7 yards and then Escalera picked up a couple. Figueroa put the ball in the air to Escalera for a gain of 18 yards. With the clock ticking down, Figueroa called his own number for a gain of 8 yards and then one more time as he scrambled for 17 yards into the end zone for a 19-16 go-ahead. 

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Bruner got the ball with 1:21 left in the game but failed to gain any ground and turned it back over to Destin on downs. The Marlins took a knee twice as the clock ran out. 

Destin's Tracen Trahan signals touchdown after making a catch in the end zone to close out the first half against Bruner. Destin won the game 19-16.

For the game, Figueroa led Destin with 93 yards on the ground, plus completed eight of 22 passes for a gain of 112 yards and a touchdown. 

Bruner had 175 yards total offense, all on the ground. Latson had 63 yards, Kevin Robertson 39 and Harris, 33. 

Up next for Destin, 2-1, is a 6:30 p.m. game Sept. 16 at home against the Pryor Pirates.