North Marion dominates Santa Fe

Santa Fe's Blake McCormick run in a 40-6 home loss to North Marion on Friday.
Santa Fe's Blake McCormick run in a 40-6 home loss to North Marion on Friday. (Photo by Taryn Ashby)

In a 2S District 7 matchup, the undefeated North Marion Colts trampled the Santa Fe Raiders on the road 40-6 on Friday.

Junior quarterback A.J. Cussins threw four touchdown passes to four different receivers on the night.

“We just wanted to come out and play some good football,” North Marion coach Greg Carr said. “We know district (play) is very important for where we’re trying to go as far as playoffs.”

With the win, North Marion moves into the sole first-place spot ahead of Eastside (2-1), who were shut out by Bradford, and Santa Fe. 

North Marion began their own offensive dominance with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Cussins to Georgia Southern commit Elija Walton.

“We got a great group of guys, so many athletes all around,” Cussins said. “As you can see, they can all make a play, and they all made me look good. That’s what they did tonight.”

Cussins was named the Sonic Drive-In Player of the Game for his performance.

After pulling a trick up their sleeve with an onside kick, North Marion drove down the field once again, thanks in part to a Caleb Rollerson 29-yard catch and run on fourth down.

With 1:16 left in the first quarter, Cussins hit Christopher Foster for a 5-yard score, his second touchdown pass of the game.

“I’ve always been confident in our group, and I’ve always been confident in A.J.,” Carr said of his receivers and quarterbacks. “

North Marion’s dominance carried over into the second quarter with a R’Jayvious “Jay Jay” Johnson 5-yard touchdown run with 8:20 left in the half, his fifth score of the season.

On their next drive, Cussins rolled out to the left and dumped the ball off to Rollerson for what was initially a 2-yard reception, but with blazing speed and green grass in front of him, Rollerson turned up field and ran another 72 yards for his first touchdown of the season.

“I knew he was going to score,” Cussins said. “Like I said, we got tons of athletes. All of them track stars. They just showed out and made me look amazing.”

The Raiders would go down fighting, however. After a long drive, in which James Smith hit K.J. Johnson for two third down conversions, running back Blake McCormick punched it in from one yard out on the half’s final play to pull within 27-6.

The second half slowed down for both teams with only one touchdown in each quarter for the Colts, both by backup running back Mitchell Brown.

Brown, who had zero touchdowns coming into Friday’s game, rushed for a 2-yard score in the third quarter and caught a 39-yard pass from Cussins in the fourth quarter for the game’s final score.

“We had the deep ball all night,” Cussins said. “Just small mistakes by me or the receivers. We finally brought it together on that last throw.”

North Marion now looks to add to their undefeated season when they host Suwannee (1-4), while Santa Fe looks to get their first win of the season next week at Citizens Field against Gainesville (0-4).

Thursday, Sept. 15

Clay (Green Cove Springs) 28, Gainesville 10

Friday, Sept. 16

Bell 35, Taylor (Pierson) 3

Bradford (Starke) 28, Eastside 0

Buchholz 48, Creekside (St. Johns) 41

Chiefland 35, Dixie County (Cross City) 0

Columbia (Lake City) 21, Madison County 0

Florida A&M (Tallahassee) 30, Bronson 9

Fort White 45, Hamilton County (Jasper) 6

Hawthorne 14, Orlando Christian Prep 11 (OT)

Keystone Heights 38, Impact Christian Academy (Jacksonville) 12

North Marion (Citra) 40, Santa Fe (Alachua) 6

St. Francis Catholic Academy 12, First Academy (Leesburg) 2

Union County (Lake Butler) 55, P.K. Yonge 7

Wewahitchka 22, Trenton 14

Williston 56, Branford 0

OFF – Oak Hall School, Newberry

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