The Bulldogs earned the basement dwelling Friday night when they lost to Abilene 42-20 during the Cowboys’ homecoming experience.
"Our kids have been good kids all year long," said Abilene coach Jeff Geist. "They have never quit on me, we have been in this situation before and things got pretty rough this time of year but they are staying with it and are staying the course. That is why I’m really proud of them because they are staying the course." said Jeff Geist, Abilene’s head coach.
The Cowboys jumped out in control of the game by outscoring Marysville 14-0 in the first half and scored the game’s first 21 points and had a 35-6 lead going into the final quarter where Marysville made a late charge with three touchdowns and recovered one onside kick to keep the game in doubt until the final few minutes.
"I thought we played well defensively for quite a while," Geist said. "Then in that fourth quarter we kind of got laxed and gave up some plays."
Abilene has taken several direct hits, both physically and mentally this season on the football field. The Cowboys, who were three-time defending NCKL champions heading into the season, have suffered injuries to key players this season and weren’t completely able to get on track.
But Geist believes those days are behind them at just the right time as next Friday night the Cowboys will begin district play against intra-county rival Chapman, which lost 32-13 to Concordia on Friday night.
"Overall, I’m happy for the kids," Geist said. "It makes next week a little easier."
The Cowboys dominated the opening half when they limited the Bulldogs to just 52 yards of total offense while building up 203 of their own. Marysville was limited to just five yards on 14 rushing carries. The Bulldogs picked up 47 yards on 4 of 12 passing with one interception.
Abilene, meanwhile, had 100 yards rushing in the opening half and 103 yards through the air, including their two first half touchdowns which came via the air game.
The second half, turned into a different story as Marysville rushed for 168 yards on the ground and threw for another 85 and scored three rushing touchdowns and one touchdown through the air.
"I thought offensively we did some nice things," Geist said. "Andy did a nice job throwing the ball. We got some nice runs in there to help us out."
Abilene, however, had built up enough of a lead early in the game to withstand Marysville’s late charge.
A 5-yard touchdown run by quarterback Andy Wilson with 1:09 remaining in the contest sealed the contest.
Wilson led Abilene’s rushing attack with 121 yards on 18 carries and he threw for all of Abilene’s 287 passing yards. Keil Kelly was Wilson’s favorite target as Kelly hauled in 8 of Wilson’s passes for 181 yards and three touchdowns.
"It is big because this gives us a little momentum," Geist said. "It makes Monday’s practice a little more pep in our step. We know Chapman is going to be good, they have some good things going, but hoepfully we can find some holes to make some good things for us too."
Abilene will stay at home next Friday night for its district opener, and intra-Dickinson County rivalry showdown with Chapman High School.
The Bulldogs were led by running back Garrett Eck, who had 145 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries.
Marysville also will open district play next Friday night. The Bulldogs will take their 0-6 record against Rock Creek, which will play at the Bulldogs’ home field.