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Salisbury, Eagles fly past Hillman in regional semifinal

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Marion quarterback Mason Salisbury (7) breaks free on a run during the first quarter of a Division 2 8-Player regional semifinal playoff game on Friday at Marion High School.

MARION–Marion had revenge on its mind entering Friday’s Division 2 8-Player regional semifinal playoff game.

Friday’s contest featured a rematch of a first round playoff matchup from a year ago.

Last year, Hillman played host to Marion in a game that featured frigid conditions and a snow-covered field. Last year’s result was a 28-6 victory for the Tigers to end Marion’s season.

The Eagles had a full year to think about that loss and they finally got an opportunity at revenge. They avenged last season’s loss in a big way, blowing out Hillman 51-16.

Hillman was without junior Jeff Klein who made a huge impact in the Tigers’ playoff opener.

Klein’s absence hurt the Tigers as they struggled to move the ball much of the night. They were held without a first down during the first quarter and just couldn’t find a rhythm.

Marion had no issues moving the ball, especially when quarterback Mason Salisbury had the ball in his hands.

Salisbury gave Hillman fits all night as he put together a sensational night that resulted in 281 yards rushing on just eight carries and found the end zone five times, including a pair of 71-yard touchdown runs to begin the game and end the half.

Marion held a 38-0 lead at the break.

“They were a very fast team and we were without some key players, but that’s no excuse,” Hillman coach Cody Allen said “They’re speed gave us problems tonight and hurt us. They are a very good football team.”

The Eagles ran all over Hillman, piling up over 400 yards rushing and scored five of their seven touchdowns on the night from 39 yards or more. Marion broke off huge plays all night and put an end to Hillman’s season, advancing to a regional championship game next week.

Hillman avoided the shutout with a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns from Owen Moulton, who finished the game with 157 yards on 25 carries to lead the Tigers.

For the Tigers, they finish the season with a losing record (3-5) for the first time in 15 years. But that record came after being tested all season with a brutal schedule. The Tigers’ opponents overall record entering Friday was 32-3 and included five teams that were still competing in the playoffs.

“We kind of rain the gauntlet this year and I think playing the level of competition we did was good for us and it made us better,” Allen said. “It prepared us for the playoffs and we know we were a good football team despite what our final record may show. I’m proud of all my guys.”

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