By THOMAS COOK
The 2016 Battle of the Axe game was a surprise 41-14 rout for The Farmers of the Marcus Marauders, but the Farmers failed to keep last years momentum going for another year and fell to the Marauders 18-7 on Friday.
In what has become a worrisome trend for Lewisville, the offense again failed to do enough to win despite a solid performance defensively. The Farmers offense managed only 107 yards in the game, with 66 yards coming on one play. Defensively the Farmers limited Marcus to 240 yards of total offense.
The Battle of the Axe started of slowly with both teams combining for just 23 yards of total offense, 6 punts and a turnover in the first quarter. It wasn’t until the Marauders sixth possession of the game when star running back Justin Dinka took the ball around the right side, made a nice cut and outran the Farmers secondary for a 78-yard touchdown run. After the Marauders’ successful 2-point conversion attempt, the score was 8-0.
Dinka finished this year’s Battle of the Axe with 175 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns. In last year’s game Dinka was held to just 22-yards rushing on 18 carries.
“Last year our defense, we were more prepared for this game. We were pumped up for this game and knew what we had to do,” defensive back Kevin Anderson said. “This year I think since we had the axe we kind of got a big head.”
Following a series of punts, the Marauders offense finally looked to be getting into a rhythm with five minutes remaining in the half. After getting the ball on their own 36-yard line, the Marauders marched to the Farmers 1-yard line in eight plays. A 1-yard touchdown run was negated by a holding penalty on Marcus, and on the ensuing play Marcus quarterback Xavier Maxwell was intercepted by a diving Jalen Parks at the 2-yard line.
A quick three-and-out by the Farmers gave Marcus the ball back inside Lewisville territory at the 36-yard line. Three plays later Dinka again found the end zone, this time from 11 yards out. Going into halftime the Farmers trailed 15-0.
Coming out of halftime the Farmers were without quarterback Tyler Urban, who had been injured late in the first half, and season leading rusher Demodrick Hunter took over in his place. The Farmers offense looked like it might finally be showing signs of waking up on their first possession of the second-half when Hunter found wide receiver Daylen Clark open deep for a 66-yard touchdown.
“The ball coming out of my hands felt great but I didn’t know where it was going to end up,” Hunter said. “But luckily it ended up in Daylen’s hands and he scored for us.”
The completion to Clark was Hunter’s sole completion of the game on three pass attempts. Hunter also carried the ball 11 times for -19 yards with the majority of the lost yardage coming on sacks when he was playing quarterback. The Farmers offense completed just three of its ten pass attempts against Marcus.
The Marauders next drive stalled at the Farmers 20-yard line, but they were able to extend their lead back to a two-score margin. A 37-yard field goal by Marcus kicker John Mayers gave the Marauders an 18-7 advantage on the scoreboard.
The Farmers offense failed to mount another serious threat to the Marauders for the remainder of the game, following a questionable decision by referees not to flag a Marcus player for defensive pass interference. On a third-and 17 Hunter attempted a deep pass that was underthrown. As the Farmers receiver was backtracking to attempt the catch, a pair of Marauders defensive backs, who had their backs turned to the ball, ran into him. The non-call resulted in a Lewisville player being called for unsportsmanlike conduct and head coach Michael Odle confronting the referee’s about the lack of a flag.
“I wasn’t happy about it, I thought it was a blown call but you know you have to move on.” Odle said. “I wasn’t happy about a couple things, but you know things don’t go your way and you voice your displeasure and you have to move on. You have to go to the next play.”
The remaining quarter of the game saw little action with Marcus possessing the ball for over eight minutes of the quarter and the Farmers failing to pick up a first down.
The Farmers will travel to Southlake Friday Oct. 13 to take on the Carroll Dragons.
Video highlight provided by Ibifiri Jamabo.