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Crawford and Defense lead Swamp Foxes to 21-7 win over Barnwell to advance to lower state championship game

Marion - The Marion Swamp Foxes pride themselves on being a very physical football team and Friday night at Foxes Field they dominated the line of scrimmage holding a potent Barnwell offense to just 7 points as they advanced to lower state finals with a 21-7 victory. They will face region foe Andrews a 28-19 winner over Pelion Friday night.

“We win on defense,” said a happy Marion head coach Randall State. “This team is built on defense and physicality and we knew that had to be the difference against a team as good as Barnwell.” 

Coach continued, “We played hard all night and I told the kids the more physical team would win. But we still did not put four quarters of football together but we got one more week to accomplish that goal.

The visiting Warhorses came out the gate strong as Adam Clark ripped off a 41 yard run up the gut to them, a first and goal at the Swamp Foxes five-yard line. On second down a mix up in the backfield put the ball on the ground where Marion’s Levern Bell scooped it up and brought the ball out the 47 yard line stopping the drive.

The Swamp Foxes would take a 6-0 lead on their second position traveling 67 yards in 7 plays on the legs of Qualiek Crawford as he started the drive with a 13-yard and ended it with a 32 yard burst off the right side. The point after was wide left.



Barnwell would answer on its next drive through the air as quarterback Weston Sandifer would go three for three covering 60 of the 65 yard drive. On third and 12 Sandifer connected with Clay Pender, who climbed the ladder to make the catch, for 17 yards and a first down. He then connected with TJ Miller for 26 yards and then hit Clark over the middle where he broke two tackles to get in the end zone. Pender's extra point gave Barnwell a 7-6 lead.

The next and perhaps the biggest play of the game occured right before half as the Warhorses were in their two-minute drill. After moving the ball into Swamp Fox territory on two plays the unthinkable happened as Sandifer babbled the snap and it fell into the arms of South Carolina commit TJ Sanders, who was in the backfield like a shot, and he raced untouched 47 yards to paydirt for a 13-7 Marion lead. .

The second half saw both defenses control the other's offense until Crawford capped a 54 yard drive with his second touchdown of the night. He took the shotgun snap through the right side, broke a tackle and ran down the right side into the endzone for a 20 yard touchdown run. After the 2-point conversion run by Kyheim Bethea the Swamp Fox lead was 21-7.

On the night the Crawford would account for over 225 yards of total offense with 159 coming on the ground with the two scores/

“Qualiek is a great player and he has been in the program for four years. It is his time to shine.” said coach State.

The Swamp Fox defense held the Warhorse offense to less than 300 yards and the seven points and forced three fumbles and spent as much time in the Barnwell backfield as the Barnwell running backs.

The Warhorse defense was solid all game as well.

The Andrews Yellowjackets will invade Foxes Field looking to atone for the first game of the season loss to the Swamp Foxes 28-20 and coach State knows his team will have its hands full.

“It is hard to beat a team twice. We know Andrews and they know us. It will be a battle next week and we will have to play for 48 minutes if we expect to win,” coach State said.


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