Arnold too much for rebuilding Holmes County

Published: Saturday, August 31, 2013 at 03:09 PM.

BONIFAY — Aside from a few notable miscues, Arnold looked very little like a team in rebuilding mode Friday night.

The Marlins overwhelmed Holmes County on both sides of the ball in a game more lopsided than the score would indicate, posting a 35-0 victory at Memorial Field in a non-district game that marked the season opener for both programs.

The Marlins, a Class 5A school that finished 2-7 last year, proved too mighty for Holmes County, a Class 1A program also reloading this year. Arnold led 7-0 at halftime before taking control in the second half.

The Marlins swarmed Justice Bice in the backfield for a safety and a 9-0 lead early in the second half. Arnold quickly boosted its lead to 16-0 with Torri Cotton's 19-yard sprint to the end zone with 10:17 remaining in the third quarter.

Arnold's Connor MacKenzie blocked a punt out of the end zone to increase Arnold's lead to 18-0 with 7:44 left in the third quarter. Ninety seconds later, Marlin quarterback Cody Saunders located Dario Batiste open in the corner of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown pass and a 25-0 advantage.

Marlins place-kicker Austin Peffers contributed with a 29-yard field goal with just over 10 minutes remaining for a 28-0 lead. MacKenzie, who had a punt return for a touchdown called back earlier in the game because of a penalty, scored on a 30-yard punt return with 6:44 left to provide the final margin and a running clock.

Saunders scored the Marlins' first touchdown of the season with a 1-yard sneak into the end zone for a 7-0 lead with 1 minute, 22 seconds left in the first quarter. That scoring opportunity was provided when Arnold's defense forced a fumble and recovered it at the Holmes County 14-yard line. Saunders scored seven plays later.

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