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The victory over the visiting Eagles marked the Huskies first win since spring 2021, and first season opening win since 2019

PMG PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - North Marion football took to the field in the season opener against Harrisburg bearing the schools flags. The Huskies won their season opener 26-21 on Sept. 2.

It was easy to tell how much this win meant for the Huskies football team. Downing Harrisburg 26-21 on Friday, Sept. 2, North Marion snapped a nine-game losing streak that went back to the 2021 spring season. It's also the first time North Marion has opened a season with a win since 2019.

When Huskies senior Marcus Ledesma punched in his fourth touchdown of the night with seven seconds left in the game, the roar from the field, the sideline and the crowd was deafening. No matter what happens after this week, the Huskies proved they can will their way to victory.

"It means a lot," Ledesma said after the win. "Everyone is fresh off an 0-8 season. We just wanted to come back and have a good season, send the seniors off right."

Ledesma was his team's ace in the hole. The senior running back was all over the field churning out yards running through the offensive line, retuning a tipped punt to the house for a touchdown, and tipping a ball for a fellow defender to pick off and return up-field. Ledesma was his team's leader on a night when they needed him.

"He's a quiet storm," said North Marion head coach Michael Bicknell. "He is a team leader; he doesn't have to be vocal. He shows it with his work and it means a lot to him. He wants to see this program do well, and the kids know that. They take after him and when he does talk, they listen. He's a workhorse and a battler. He barely comes off the field. He's a great kid and a great athlete, but more than that he's a great kid."

PMG PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - North Marion quarterback Landon Fowler hands the ball off to senior running back Marcus Ledesma. Ledesma scored four touchdowns for the Huskies in their first win since spring 2021.

The senior's biggest touchdown of the game came at the end of regulation, running the ball in from three yards out. Prior to that, Ledesma had scored in the second quarter to tie things up 6-6, then scored another touchdown and converted on the two-point conversion with 40 seconds to go in the half to make the score 14-6 at halftime.

The second half started off slowly. Neither team scored in the third quarter, but in the fourth quarter things took off. Harrisburg scored on an 85-yard touchdown pass, but it was Ledesma who took the ensuing kickoff back to the Harrisburg seven-yard line. From there, Ledesma ran the ball in from the one-yard line to score.

"Yeah, I came in and I don't want to lose," Ledesma said. "I just wanted to win."

PMG PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Marcus Ledesma was the man of the hour, scoring four touchdowns in North Marion's 26-21 over Harrisburg in the season opener.

North Marion (1-0) will face off against Scio (1-0) on the road Thursday, Sept. 8. Scio opened the season with a 38-14 win over Rainier.

Coming out of the win, Bicknell was encouraged by the resolve his team showed when facing a late-game deficit.

"They kept battling," Bicknell said. "At halftime, I said, 'Finish, finish, finish. Everything we do, we're going to finish. Obviously they listened, they believed, they scored with a 1:52. I said we have time, we're going to finish and we're going to win. They believed it. It's not coach's talk. I can say it all I want, (but) they have to go out and believe they can finish, believe they can win, and they did it. They finished."

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