Vanguard Defends Home-Field, Edges North Marion 18-14

- Ocala, FL. Written By: Jordan Davidsen

The stage was set. As tailgates roared and the sold-out stands filled, the Battle at Booster Stadium was ready to go.

This tough inter-county rivalry pitted the eighth-ranked North Marion Colts against the hosting sixth-ranked Vanguard Knights in a heavy rivalry game that is the highlight of the season year after year.

Battle was the perfect word for this game. In the first quarter, both teams showed their defensive strengths and neither team was able to get on the scoreboard. The same result ended the second quarter, as both teams continued to play aggressive defense and keep the other team away from the end zone.

But the real battle wasn’t between the two teams at all. Throughout the first half, the refs threw more passes than either QB. 115 yards of penalties were given between the two teams, and a hoard of controversial calls that sent the stands into anarchy. Nevertheless, the game stayed at 0-0 at the end of the first half.

After a complex halftime performance from both bands, the game finally picked up on the offensive end.

North Marion RB Jyron Gilmore was the first one to get some momentum going, scoring on a big run to put North Marion up 6-0.

But then, the Colts met Knights’ RB Dwayne McBride. McBride led the charge for the Knights in the entire second half and scored both their first and second rushing touchdown of the evening, as well as two sacks and a myriad of key defensive plays that left the Colts beaten.

After the Knights had slowed down, North Marion tried to get a quick score to tie the game up.

Well, Tyrin Wilson had other ideas.

Wilson’s fourth-quarter pick-six felt like the nail in the coffin for the Colts, who had less than four minutes to stifle the 18-6 lead.

Cue Jaree Turner. The senior receiver caught an easy 8-YD TD pass to make it a one score game. And since the Colts’ two-point conversion was good, they had made it 18-14 with two minutes left in the game.

But it was too little, too late. Some excellent play calling by Knights cead coach Edwin Farmer burned enough of the clock to maintain the Vanguard lead.

Vanguard had defended home court and improves to 4-1 with the 18-14 win, while the Colts fall to 4-1.

Vanguard will play Carol City (Miami) next Friday at Booster Stadium, while the Colts will travel to Gainesville and take on Eastside.