Big Game Breakdown: Marion football in “must-win situation” ahead of road clash with Centralia

MARION, Ill. (KBSI) – The Marion Wildcats have played in every postseason since 2005, but after a 3-3 start in 2022, that streak of 16 consecutive playoff appearances could be in jeopardy. They will have a date with 5-1 Centralia on Friday to try to get things pointed in the right direction. 

After winning three of their first four games to begin the season then dropping two straight, the Wildcats now find themselves in what head coach Kerry Martin called a “must-win situation.” 

“We’re in a must-win situation the rest of the year. Centralia is a really good football team,” he said. “They have a bunch of players back from last year. They’re 5-1 and look good on film so this is a big challenge. We’ve got some guys out with injuries, so it’s next man up for us. Certainly, our backs are against the wall, so this is a big night.” 

Senior running back Tommy Wiseman, who leads the Wildcats at 8.1 yards per carry, said his teammates are all the motivation he needs to, as the saying goes, do his “one-eleventh.” 

“Even one tiny little mistake by one person could make the play a loss or a score for the other team,” he said. “It does motivate me to see how perfect I can possibly get to where my other teammates can rely on me to get it done, so they can get it done, so we can go and do what we’ve got to do.” 

The Wildcats will have to be close to perfect over the final three games to give themselves a shot at their 17th straight IHSA Playoffs appearance. 

“Do the small things right because we’ve been doing some small things wrong in games, letting up big plays,” senior Cooper Thompson said. “We can’t do that anymore.” 

But you can’t go 3-0 if you don’t start 1-0. 

“It would be a great way to start the final three games of the season, and it’s a big challenge,” Martin said. “There are no surprises here. We’ve told the kids exactly what’s ahead of them – a must-win game, a must-win situation against a really good football team. It’ll take our best effort.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Centralia High School.

Categories: Sports