Marion's season died with the wind Friday night. And a little bit because of it.
A first-half touchdown and second-half field goal were enough to give Grinnell a 10-0 win over the Indians in a Class 3A playoff football opener played at the wind tunnel formerly known as Thomas Park.
"We tried our hardest," said Marion quarterback Tyler Fisher, whose team lost its final three games after a 7-0 start. "We worked hard in practice this week, learned a lot. We learned from our mistakes. We definitely played a lot better than we did the previous two games. We just couldn't quite come through."
You felt sorry for Fisher and his Grinnell counterpart Trent Baker, as the non-stop gale made passing virtually impossible and moving the ball period very, very difficult. The teams combined for just 348 yards, 42 passing.
Jordan Ferch's 22-yard TD run in the second quarter was the all-important first score, making Marion (7-3) have to play catch up on a night definitely not mdae for catching up. Nathan Criswell banged home a 28-yard third-quarter field goal for Grinnell (8-2), which gets a rematch from Week 9 with district mate Solon in Monday's second round.
"You just couldn't throw the ball in this stuff," Grinnell Coach Jim Dunne said. "A nice job tonight by our defense. They did a nice job last week against Solon, too. I tell you, if you're going to do anything in the playoffs at all, you have to play good defense. We bent a little bit tonight, but I was happy with it."
Marion had its chances. It drove deep inside Tigers territory at the end of the first half, but Curran Lippsett's 32-yard field-goal try on the final play hit the left upright.
It got to the Grinnell 30 on its opening possession of the second half, but running back Colton Storla fumbled, with Baker picking up the ball and running it back to the Marion 12, leading to Criswell's field goal. The Indians then drove to the Grinnell 38, but a long Fisher pass on first down was held up by the wind and intercepted by the ever-present Baker.
Marion got to the Tigers 29 in the fourth quarter but the drive died when a fourth-down pass to a wide, wide-open Jake McDonald was dropped.
"Just turnovers," said Marion Coach Tony Perkins. "I thought we played very well. I thought our kids bounced back from last Friday's loss (to Maquoketa) very well. We really played well. We just turned the ball over."
Ferch had 133 yards rushing on 27 carries for Grinnell. Marion has lost eight of its last nine playoff games.