North Marion cruises past Eastside
By Rachel Rosenblum
Former district rivals met again under some Thursday night lights when the North Marion Colts faced the Eastside Rams at Citizen Field.
The Colts were looking to bounce back after a tough 18-14 loss last week at Vanguard (Ocala).
The Rams 2-3 record is deceiving considering they have a pair of one-point losses.
North Marion has more Ws in the win column in the series against the Rams, including four wins in the past five games, but they were sure to be tested by UF commit QB Anthony Richardson.
Unfortunately, Richardson went down with an injury in the first half and never returned to the game.
The Colts came out of the gate strong and took an early 14-0 lead.
The second touchdown of the night came on a 4th-and-goal 3-yard scoring run by senior Jyron Gilmore, who ended up with three trips to the endzone.
Gilmore was later recognized as our Sonic Drive-In Player-of-the-Game.
When asked about his strong performance on the ground he made sure to acknowledge the entire team’s performance.
“Great to bounce back after the loss,” said Gilmore.
He was happy his team was able to add another win to their record and said he is looking forward to getting back to work.
Richardson proved to be strong on third down after converting on third and long many times throughout multiple drives in the first half.
One play that stuck out was in the first quarter.
Facing 3rd and 12, Richardson scrambled out of the pocket and found one of his favorite targets Carleton Brooks to convert. On that same drive he converted on another third and long that set up a 17-yard touchdown run by Deion Jenkins.
That 14-6 score was the closest Eastside was going to get all night.
A fumble early in the second quarter set up an easy touchdown for the Colts.
The Rams struggled all night with bad snaps that sent Richardson and backup quarterback Holden Johnson scrambling for the ball. They added another lost fumble later in the game.
By the end of the night Eastside had three turnovers while North Marion did not give the ball up once.
Colts quarterback Quinton Gross had a great game through the air and on the ground with two passing touchdowns along with one he ran in himself.
One of his biggest plays of the night was a 53-yard touchdown pass to Buc Offord late in the second quarter.
Eastside did go on to score one more time on a coast-to-coast 88-yard kickoff return by Quan Lee. Those 13 points would be the only ones they ended up with.
At the halfway mark the Colts led 42-13.
After that it was all North Marion on both sides of the ball.
Defense held the Rams to punt after punt while Gross continued to lead his team down the field. Junior running back Trevonn Johnson added to the
score with a 1-yd touchdown run that forced a running clock for the rest of the game.
Defensive back Kadin James recorded an interception late in the game that really put the nail in the coffin for Eastside.
The final score was 49-13.
After the game, North Marion coach Willie Offord talked about the importance of the win.
“It was very important, great to have the focus and intensity back.” he said.
He also added that it was great to see positivity on the offensive side of the ball after a disappointing 14 point performance.
North Marion heads back home next Friday to face Lake Weir (Ocala), while Eastside will play host to Ridgeview (Orange Park) on Thursday night.