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Football: John Marshall catches fire on Red Wing's homecoming

Red Wing's Kevin Hall (26) and Mac DeSutter (24) tackle JM's Aaron Limberg on Friday, Sept. 28. Jake Pfeifer / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 4
Anthony Flucas was Red Wing's leading rusher against Rochester John Marshall with 35 yards on Friday, Sept. 28. Jake Pfeifer / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 4
Marcus Walm (12) squares up to tackle a JM ballcarrier on Friday, Sept. 28, while Jack Carlson (16) trails from behind. Jake Pfeifer / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 4
Anthony Flulcas looks on as he lost a fumble in the first half of Red Wing's 72-0 loss to Rochester John Marshall on Friday, Sept. 28. Jake Pfeifer / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 4

A week's worth of Homecoming festivities came to a close on Friday night when Red Wing fell to Rochester John Marshall, 72-0.

John Marshall came out with one thought in mind, running the ball right into the heart of Red Wing's defense and utilize its speed to break open big plays. That strategy was in play from the opening drive when the Rockets drove 64 yards and finished with a 9-yard touchdown run by Mark Sandstrom as he beat the Wingers' defense to the edge on a toss to the right side. The Rockets converted on the two-point try to give them an early 8-0 lead.

On the next drive, Red Wing drove down to the Rockets' 34-yard line but Marcus Walm was stopped on fourth-and-1 to end the threat.

After a holding call stopped the next JM drive, Red Wing again approached midfield but after a fumble by Anthony Flucas, the Rockets had the ball in good field position. Again the Rockets utilized its strength in the trenches by capping the drive with a 1-yard touchdown to increase its lead to 16-0.

Neither team could get their offenses going in the next series of possessions as three-and-outs were traded until late in the half when the Rockets scored another touchdown with just under a minute remaining to push its lead to 23-0 at the end of the first half.

After the break, Red Wing was forced into a quick three-and-out and JM responded with a 38-yard touchdown pass from Justin Higgins to Mike Drucker. Red Wing was forced to punt after not recording a first down on its next drive and once again the Rockets responded with a big pass play. Higgins passed to Corbin Starr for a 34-yard completion to give JM a first-and-goal at the Red Wing 5-yard line. Higgins ran it in on a quarterback keeper from two yards out to stretch the Rockets' lead to 37-0 with 3 minutes, 17 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

After getting its second first down of the game, Red Wing got hit by the turnover bug as Walm threw an interception. One play later Aaron Limberg broke open for a 79-yard touchdown run putting salt in the wound, giving the Rockets a 44-0 lead.

Flucas broke off a 13-yard gain to give the Wingers some life on its next drive but after an incomplete pass on fourth down when Walm overthrew Cole Krie, they gave the ball right back to JM. Just a few plays later, the Rockets blew the floodgates open by putting up another touchdown, making it a 51-0 game.

On the ensuing kickoff, Flucas had a nice return but a flag pushed the Wingers deep into their own zone, and on the first play of the drive JM recovered a fumble to give them the ball at the Wingers' 5-yard line. Three plays later the Rockets scored their eighth touchdown of the game and a 58-0 lead.

After two more fumbles to close out the game, John Marshall was able to close the game out with two more touchdowns to put the finishing touches on its victory.

"These kids are fighting 15 years of culture problems and we've got to overcome it," Red Wing head football coach Nate Frier said. "The thing I told them straight up is they can play this game. They got to believe it, but they can. They come in practicing, work hard everyday and do what they are supposed to do."

Red Wing was outgained 450-66 in total yards, succumbed to five turnovers and only gained two first downs compared to JM's 16.

Walm went 5-of-16 for 27 yards and one interception, Flucas had 13 carries for 35 yards, Henry Davig had two catches for 13 yards and Mac DeSutter snagged two passes for eight yards.

"I'm not worried about looking ahead, just put it behind you," Frier said. "In the end, these kids practice and play their guts out, but we need the support of the school district and community to get behind these kids and to get them in a better position where they can compete better."

Red Wing (0-5) travels to Faribault next Friday in what will be the Falcons' homecoming game. Faribault (1-4) lost to Rochester Mayo, 34-0, on Friday. The Falcons' lone win was a 48-14 win over Austin, which beat the Wingers, 44-12, in Week 2.

Jake Pfeifer

Jake Pfeifer is a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, which encompasses the Hastings Star Gazette, Farmington-Rosemount Independent Town Pages, South Washington County Bulletin and Woodbury Bulletin. He previously worked as a sports reporter and outdoors editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and as a multimedia artist/editor for Detroit Lakes Newspapers.

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