The Irish were fully prepared for a battle on Friday night. The senior-laden Marshfield Blue Jays were coming to Swisshelm Field with a record of 2-1, their lone loss coming from unbeaten (and state-ranked) Mt. Vernon.
The Blue Jays took first possession and marched 80-yards down field in nine plays to take a 7-0 early lead. The Irish answered by compiling a 12-play drive of their own, capped by a Tyson Riley scamper from the Blue Jay 8-yard line.
The game seemed up for grabs at this point with both teams effectively moving the ball. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Nick Crites made what was likely the play of the game. Marshfield QB Broch Uctecht dropped back and delivered a quick pass toward the flat, somehow Crites was able to catch the ball one-handed and immediately took the intercepted pass in for a quick 6. Logan Brock tacked on the extra point to make it 14-7 and yet another kickoff into the end-zone for a touchback. On the very next play, Nick Crites struck again. This time on a strong-side blitz that planted the Marshfield quarterback and gave Caden Cook a fumble recovery on the Blue Jay 10-yard line. The Blue Jay defense would hold the Irish to a Logan Brock field goal from 21-yards.
The teams traded possesions throughout most of the 2nd quarter, but the Irish lost some key players in the process in QB/S Tyson Riley and DB/RB Zack Gebhard. The team managed to maintain their lead and their fortuen seemed to change near the end of the 2nd. Punting deep from their own zone, the Blue Jays punted out of their end-zone to their own 42 with less than 30 seconds remaining. However, a personal foul on the play added 15 yards to the fair catch putting the ball on the Blue Jay 27. Coach Hancock took advantage of the penalty by opting for a free-kick, something he had only done once before in his career.
"On Thursdays, we always practiced that play," Hancock said. "We haven't done it this year, yet. I wish I had because (the players) didn't know what the heck was going on.
"I've done it twice in my career. Both of them were good, both of them were right before half."
The uncontested 37 yard field goad off the tee was easy work for Logan Brock and gave the Irish a healthy 20-7 lead going into half.
Coming out of the half-time locker room shorthanded left the crowd a little uncertain of the 13-point lead. The Irish would eliminate that uncertainty by taking the opening kick and crafting another clock-eating drive. Sophomore backup QB Will Squibb ended the drive with a play-action bootleg that left the Blue Jays frozen just long enough to cross the plane. Irish up 27-7.
The Blue Jays could have hung it up at this point but that was not the case, taking the Logan Brock kickoff from the 1-yard line and blazing back to the Irish 49. They wasted no time on this series and covered the remaining 49-yards in only 2:28. The drive again added a sense of uncertainty for Irish fans wondering if the team could continue to move the ball. That question would be answered yet again when the Irish would put together yet another scoring drive. This one set up by a Will Squibb 39-yard read-option and capped on the play by Nick Crite's power rush up the middle. (34-13)
The Blue Jays would add another touchdown early in the 4th but the Irish would answer yet-again with a 25-yard strike from Will Squibb to Hunter Brown to finally put the game out of reach.
This win brough the Irish to 3-1 and set up a matchup with the undefeated Wolves of Reeds Spring next Friday (9/21).