2022 FFN Game of the Week preview: Marion at Wynne

FFN airs Fridays at 10:15pm
FFN airs Fridays at 10:15pm(Source: KAIT)
Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 6:06 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 25, 2022 at 7:02 PM CDT
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WYNNE, Ark. (KAIT) - After a long offseason filled with conference realignments, coaching changes and summer workouts, Football Friday Night season is finally upon us.

Our first Game of the Week in 2022 features two familiar foes. Marion will go on the road to face Wynne.

The two teams had another epic installment to their rivalry at Premier Bank Stadium last season. The host Patriots knocked off the Yellowjackets on a game-winning field goal, 24-21, a win that would be reversed following an announcement by AAA.

Four of the last five matchups have been decided by a touchdown or less.

Marion Patriots (6-7, 4-3 6A East)

It’s bound to be a tough road battle for Marion’s young team. The Patriots haven’t had plenty of recent success on the road at Wynne, but Head Coach Lance Clark is confident his team can overcome the adversity.

“Marion’s only won twice in Wynne since 2006, and by four combined points, okay, and then last year we won by a field goal at the end, I know they’re looking for revenge, they’re a quality program, we think we’re a quality program and so it should be a great game we’re excited about it,” Clark said. “We just take who we are, we take the community of Marion and our spirit, and we just travel over to Wynne. And yeah, it’ll be a crazy environment but I love road games, I think our kids do. And so that’s one thing we’re trying to embrace this year is being road warriors. So we’re excited about the opportunity.”

The Patriots looked good in their preseason scrimmage against Maumelle. Players say the team needs to match Wynne’s physicality to come away with the win.

“I feel like we’re looking pretty good since we played the Maumelle game, everybody’s been coming on one accord and doing everything that we need to do,” quarterback Ashton Gray said. “He just emphasized to us they’ll be one of the toughest and most physical teams we play.”

“We’re feeling really good, our defense had a shutout, our offense had a sluggish start but we got there,” wide receiver Donnie Cheers said about the team’s recent scrimmage. “We got to be the most physical, smart and executed team out there.”

Wynne Yellowjackets (10-2, 6-1 5A East last season)

While the Yellowjackets were technically credited with a win in the 2021 matchup, they still left that game as motivated as ever. They rattled off eight straight wins after the Marion game.

“It just made me hungrier,” senior wide receiver and linebacker Alonzo Holmes said, reflecting on last season’s game against Marion. “Games get like that, but it can’t just get like that again.”

“I didn’t get to play last year with a Torn ACL, but it hurt,” senior wide receiver and linebacker Allen Jones added. “But it happened, but [we want to go] to work and go back out there, get our redemption. They bring their best and we bring ours, we’ll come out with the win.”

Van Paschal’s crew hopes to control the tempo with their flexbone offense. He says the gameplan defensively is to limit explosive plays.

“You don’t have to motivate for Marion, it’s right down the road, 40 miles, so they know all those guys down there and stuff like that, we just gotta play,” Paschal said. “Offensively we want to be able to get positive yards. We can’t have flags, we can’t have penalties, we can’t have turnovers. Sustain drives and if we got an opportunity to score, we want to score. Defensively, don’t give up big plays. And then the kicking game, win the kicking game, I think we can. We got to do everything right, keep them in front, don’t let them make big plays and play our game.”

Wynne and Marion will kick off at 7:00 right here at Yellowjacket Stadium.

We’ll have you covered with highlights and postgame reaction on FFN. You can watch FFN at 10:15 PM Friday night on KAIT, kait8.com, or the Region 8 News app.