Football: North Marion opens season with 12-6 win over Stayton
The North Marion football team may be in a new conference, but they still picked up a win against a former rival on Thursday, defeating the Stayton Eagles 12-6 to open the 2018 fall season.
The Huskies were seeing their first action of the season after a planned trip to Banks was cancelled due to air quality. The result was an intense defensive showdown that mirrored much of the low-scoring affairs that became the hallmark of the North Marion-Stayton football rivalry for the previous four years in the Oregon West Conference.
The Eagles were the first to strike in the Thursday night game, taking a 6-0 lead after the first quarter of play. But the Huskies answered in the second, when junior quarterback Noah Wierstra found senior receiver Griffin Henry on a 36-yard pass that put North Marion on the goal line. The two connected for a 3-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 6-6.
A failed two-point conversion attempt kept the score knotted up, but the Huskies had one last chance to take a lead going into halftime. North Marion marched back to the Eagles' goal line toward the end of the quarter, but Stayton stopped them inches away from the end zone to keep the scored tied through 24 minutes of play.
The Huskies took advantage of their next chance, though, when junior tailback Hunter Wierstra plunged into the end zone from one yard out in the third quarter to put the team up 12-0. North Marion was once again unable to convert the ensuing two-point conversion, but the team's defense held through the remainder of the game and the Huskies clung to six-point victory.
North Marion racked up more than 300 yards of offense on the night, most of it coming from Hunter Wierstra, who led with 150 yards on 20 carries. Senior Griffin Henry had 68 yards on 11 carries, while junior Joe Torian added three carries for 55 yards as the Huskies amassed 290 yards.
Noah Wierstra went 2-of-4 for 39 yards and a touchdown, both completions coming in the second-quarter connections with Griffin Henry.
North Marion (1-0) moves on to host its first home game, taking on the Henley Hornets at 1 p.m. Saturday.