(UPDATED MONDAY, 3 A.M. with additional quotes, details, statistics) Marshall blanked after opening-possession TD. Offense's three TD drives covered 70 or more yards. Sewell injury mars 20-7 triumph

MARSHALL, Mo. — Led by senior end Brad Hayen’s nine tackles – seven unassisted and three for losses and senior quarterback Jaden Winder’s throwing a long scoring pass and two short touchdown runs while amassing a combined 170 passing and rushing yards, the Chillicothe (Mo.) High School football Hornets bested host Marshall 20-7 in their 2019 season opener Friday (Aug. 30).
After surrendering a touchdown on the 2019 season’s opening possession, the CHS defense adapted its scheme to diminish the Owls’ early effectiveness through the air. After MHS returning starting quarterback Ben Haug connected on four of five throws, including for the touchdown only 3:15 into the contest, for 55 net yards, the CHS defense surrendered only nine more completions for 66 yards in 26 more throws the rest of the way, while limiting the foe to only 90 yards rushing all night.
“I was super-impressed with our defense,” Tim Rulo, Chillicothe head coach, told the C-T after the game. “… I thought they did a great job. … Hats off to our defense.”
The Hornets’ victory, although not secured until Winder’s 3-yards carry in the last 100 seconds, was better than the final score looks. Chillicothe missed on three golden opportunities, twice with an old bugaboo – turnovers, and out-gained Marshall 328-211 yards.
The CHS triumph, which leaves them leading their Class 3 district standings after one week, came with a significant cost.
Late in the third quarter, senior end/safety Colten Sewell, who had caught three passes – including a 31-yards catch-and-run – and made three solo tackles to that juncture, sustained a right knee injury as he moved up to help make a critical tackle.
He walked off the field with some assistance and spent the remainder of the evening either seated or standing on the sidelines with bags of ice tightly wrapped around the joint to try to limit swelling.
Even with the most-favorable of diagnoses, he likely will not be available for the Kirksville game. If the damage was fairly severe, it might jeopardize not only the rest of the football season, but also part or all of his would-be senior season of wrestling. That would be particularly stinging since, after winning third place at last February’s state tournament, he – if at his best – would figure to be a strong contender for a 2019-20 state mat championship.
While hopeful of good news from examination of Sewell later over the weekend, Rulo acknowledged, “You hate to see anyone go down, especially a senior.”
CHS will make its ’19 football home debut this coming Friday (Sept. 6) against Kirksville (0-1), which surrendered the tying touchdown in a 26-20 loss to Macon late in the fourth quarter, then – after throwing an interception, gave up a first-play touchdown run. Kirksville hammered the Hornets last year.
Veteran Chillicothe, much of its starting lineup returning from a 4-6 opening season under first-year head coach Rulo last fall, matched the host Owls’ first-series scoring march and then registered what turned into the decisive touchdown deep in the second period.
Three plays after a Marshall linebacker jumped offside in a fourth-and-2 situation at the CHS 38, a perfectly-executed deep pass down the middle to Kam Ward from Winder hit the receiver about five yards behind the Owls’ secondary at the 20 and he took it in from there. The 53-yards strike and Winder’s conversion kick made it 14-7, CHS, at intermission.
“That was such a big play,” gushed the CHS head coach. “Hats off to our assistant coaches. The guys in the (press box) and on the sidelines – they saw that the safety was rotating ‘down’ (toward the line of scrimmage) and they dialed it up.”
The game had been knotted since the 4:55 mark of the opening stanza when Winder’s 3-yards sneak capped a 12-plays, 63-yards march on the Hornets’ first offensive series of the season.
That score balanced the 14-yards TD rollout throw Haug had made to senior wide receiver Jace Lance that completed the Owls’ 9-plays, 64-yards trek at game’s start.
Following halftime, the visitors had first possession and drove from their own 20 to the Marshall 8, where they had a first-and-goal. However, two missed blocking assignments on the next three snaps left CHS with fourth-and-goal at the 11. Stepping up to avoid a sack, Winder lobbed a pass that just went off the fingertips of intended target Colten Sewell in the end zone.
Chillicothe, who had a fumble inside the MHS 30 thwart a long drive late in the first period, soon had the ball again after the home team inexplicably went for a first down on fourth and three at its own 29 and, with a bad snap, lost the ball on downs back at the 16.
The Hornets again came away empty-handed, however, when a pass toward Hayen was picked off before it got to him. When the return went all the way out to the MHS 47 before Sewell made a possible touchdown-saving tackle, a major momentum swing to the Owls seemed likely.
“We struggled a little with turning the ball over there in the second half,” Rulo acknowledged. “I wasn’t happy with that.”
The Chillicothe defense – with an assist from Marshall – proved too sturdy, however. After one MHS first down, another 13-yards loss due to a bad snap to Haug in “pistol” formation put the Owls “behind the sticks” and another on a fourth-and-1 play after a pass interference penalty on Chillicothe resulted in a 3-yards loss to end the possession early in the last stanza.
Eventually, after the Hornets “D” stopped Marshall on downs on a fourth-and-7 play at the CHS 30 in the middle of the frame, the offense finally delivered the clincher in characteristic Chillicothe gridiron style.
A 14-plays march which included three third- or fourth-down conversions – one critically on a roughing-the-punter infraction with still about four minutes to play – finally was culminated by Winder’s second short scoring run of the game. His 2-yards keeper off right tackle with only 1:32 sealed victory No. 1 – a total last year’s CHS club didn’t reach until week four. Bridging last season and this, the Hornets now have walked off the field victorious in four of their last five contests.
“I was proud of the growth I saw,” Rulo asserted. “Now, we’ve just got to keep going.”
Statistically, generally out-playing the young Marshall squad most of the way, Chillicothe was able to prevail despite losing the turnovers “battle” 3-0 (two lost fumbles and one interception).
That stat, while true, is a bit deceptive. The Hornets’ defense came very close to a couple of interceptions and Marshall had the several big losses when bad or mishandled deep snaps put the ball on the ground and forced hurried Owls recoveries.
“I was really happy overall with the offense,” Rulo stated, noting the 100-plus-yards advantage in total offense his club had over the Owls. “In the end, I thought we were stopping ourselves.”
Winder threw for exactly 100 yards – the second triple-digits game of his year-plus tenure as starter. All of those yards came during the first half as he completed five of six throws.
The 6’2”, 210-pounder also rushed for a team-best 70 yards on 19 carries (including three kneeldowns).
“Jaden really did look more comfortable carrying the ball and running the option. I loved how he finished runs and brings a real physicality to the QB position,” lauded the head coach.
Four CHS ballcarriers surpassed 30 yards as the team totaled nearly 230.
On defense, Hayen was a strong factor both in the team’s success in stopping the run and pass after the first Marshall drive.
“Brad had a great game and is really coming into his own on defense,” Rulo affirmed. “You can see him getting more and more comfortable with his position.”
Senior linebacker Dawson Wheeler matched Hayen’s nine tackles, six of them solo, and senior tackle/end Isaac Washburn was in on a half-dozen stops. All told, no less than 15 Hornets were in on at least two tackles – all except one of the 15 having at least one unassisted stop.
Rulo pointed out that the team’s defensive play – especially against the pass – stayed sharp even after losing Sewell’s services with still more than a quarter remaining.
“That’s just a great testament to our defense and our defensive (coaching) staff, because they responded so well,” praised the head coach.
“You’ve got some new guys out there in different positions. (End/Outside linebacker) Hayden Hill had to slide back more to safety. Elijah (Reynolds) came up and played a little more corner.
“… I thought the guys did really, really well with that (adjustment). That’s why you try to get guys ‘reps’ during the week in practice, just so they’re ready to go, because you never know when an injury might occur.”
CHILLICOTHE 20, MARSHALL 7
Chillicothe     7    7    0    6    –    20
Marshall        7    0    0    0    –     7
SCORING PLAYS
8:45 (1) – (MHS) Jace Lance 14-yards pass from Ben Haug (Diego Carranza kick) (9 plays, 64 yards) MHS 7-0
4:55 (1) – (CHS) Jaden Winder 3-yards run (Winder kick) (12 plays, 73 yards) 7-7
3:45 (2) – (CHS) Kam Ward 53-yards pass from Winder (Winder kick) (7 plays, 70 yards) CHS 14-7
1:32 (4) – (CHS) Winder 2-yards run (Winder kick NG-WL) (14 plays, 70 yards) CHS 20-7
INDIVIDUAL, TEAM STATISTICS
RUSHING – (CHS) Jaden Winder 19 carries for 70 yards (2 TD), Dawson Wheeler 15-58, Isaih Kille 7-36, Isaak Rasche 8-31, Deon Reynolds 2-17, Kam Ward 3-16. [TOTAL 54-228 (2)] (MHS) Ethan Stickels 7-46, Ben Haug 16-24, Zach Martinez 6-23, Jeremiah Fry 4-(3). [TOTAL 33-90]
PASSING – (CHS) Winder 5 comp. in 9 attempts, 100 yards (1 TD/1 int.). (MHS) Haug 13-31, 121 (1/0)
RECEIVING – (CHS) K. Ward 1 reception for 53 yards (1 TD), Colten Sewell 3-41, Brad Hayen 1-6. [TOTAL 5-100 (1)]  (MHS) Axavier Reed 3-50, Andre Smith 3-26, Jace Lance 4-25 (1), Braeden Bersano 1-5, Martinez 1-1, Fry 1-(-4). [TOTAL 13-121 (1)]
CHILLICOTHE TACKLES (solos) – Hayen 9 (7), Wheeler 9 (6), Isaac Washburn 6 (2), Kille 5 (4), Sewell 5 (3), K. Ward 4 (3), Hayden Hill 4 (2), Rasche 4 (2), Humphrey 2 (2), D. Reynolds 2 (2), E. Reynolds 2 (2), Gott 2 (1), Hopper 2 (1), B. Ward 2 (1), Damarcus Kelow 2, Donald McCracken 1 (1), Winder 1 (1).
QUARTERBACK SACKS – (CHS).McCracken 1 (1st).
TACKLES FOR LOSSES (incl. QB sacks) – Chillicothe 8 for -47 yards (Hayen 3, Washburn 2, Kille, McCracken, Wheeler 1/2, Hill 1/2); Marshall 6 for -22 yards.
PASS INTERCEPTIONS – (MHS) Rowdy Souder (44 yds.)
FUMBLES (Lost) – Chillicothe 2 (2). Marshall 4 (0).
OPPONENT’S FUMBLES RECOVERED – (MHS) Cade Pointer, Owen Kiso. [TOTAL 2].
KICKOFF RETURNS – (CHS) Rasche 1-20. (MHS) Evans 2-42, Lance 1-34, Fry 1-0. [TOTAL 4-76]
PUNT RETURNS – (CHS) Rasche 1-9. (MHS) Lance 1-0.
PUNTING – (CHS) Winder 1-33. (MHS) Coy Smith 2-52.
FIELD GOALS – None
PENALTIES – Chillicothe 5 for 50 yards; Marshall 7-50.
FIRST DOWNS – Chillicothe 19 (3 passing, 13 rushing, 3 penalty); Marshall 11 (4 passing, 7 rushing)