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Growing pains and injuries keep the Huskies off the scoreboard in second straight week

AURORA — It wasn't pretty. North Marion's football team struggled until the final quarter of play against the visiting Sweet Home squad, and ultimately didn't register any points in the game. The Huskies were shut out 35-0 in the home opener Friday, Sept. 10.

PMG PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Junior Gabe Mata stiff arms a Sweet Home defender on Friday, Sept. 10. North Marion lost to Sweet Home 35-0.

But it was an improvement over the week before when North Marion lost 55-0 on the road against Seaside on Friday, Sept. 3. And for a team that had two weeks to work with its new coach before the season started and is still trying to get its players to jell, incremental growth is the path toward eventual victories.

"We're building, we're building every week," North Marion head coach Michael Bicknell said. "We're getting better, little by little. We just kind of have small things that sidetrack us. We're working on fixing all of those things. It's tough to bring this team together as we have it. It's tough for the kids who want to compete all the time, and they all want to compete. It doesn't show it on the scoreboard, but we competed for four quarters, we didn't quit."

PMG PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - North Marion quarterback Kameron Anderson looks for one of his targets on a pass play against Sweet Home on Friday, Sept. 10.

But against Sweet Home, also named the Huskies, North Marion had no answers in the first three quarters. Despite holding the visiting Huskies scoreless in the first quarter, the home team fell behind 28-0 after the second and gave up another touchdown in the third quarter to fall behind 35-0.

With the game clock continuously running, North Marion subbed in sophomore quarterback Landon Fowler for the home team's final drive. With nine minutes left on the clock, Fowler and company marched from their own 8-yard-line with a combination of rushes, passing, and Sweet Home penalties over 40 yards. In the end, the drive was undone by a bad snap, but it was a consistent offense that had been largely missing throughout the rest of the game. That consistency is what Bicknell wants to see more of going forward.

PMG PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - North Marion's Marcus Ledesma and backup quarterback Landon Fowler in the backfield.

"It's our execution, it's the little things," Bicknell said. "We'll put a drive together, and then we'll have something, something quirky happen. It's being consistent. I talked to them at halftime about that, and we've talked about that at every practice. It's being consistent and staying on track. If we do that, we have a chance."

North Marion's offense wasn't completely devoid of life though. Junior Marcus Ledesma was a force on the ground. Junior quarterback Kameron Anderson had a handful of deep passes, including one 48-yard-pass to Ledesma near the end of the first half.

PMG PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - North Marion running back Marcus Ledesma was a consistent source of energy for the Huskies as they struggled against the Sweet Home Huskies on Sept. 10.

Up next for the North Marion Huskies (0-2) is the 5A Milwaukie Mustangs (1-1). The two teams tangle on Friday, Sept. 17. Sweet Home (1-1) stays on the road and will face off against Madras the same day.

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