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Premier Bank Stadium.

Marion advanced to the quarterfinals with a 42-33 conquest of Benton behind senior wingback Tre Franklin’s 323 rushing yards and three TDs.

Marion traveled the following week to El Dorado as a 21-point underdog, but the Pats led until the final snap of a 16-15 loss to the eventual state champions.

Nine years later, a global pandemic prevented Marion and Benton from playing in the first round of the 2022 playoffs. West No. 3 playoff seed Benton suffered a mass Covid-19 outbreak, which forced them to forfeit to East No.

6 seed Marion. The Pats vanquished Van Buren in the quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals for just the second time in school history.

Marion’s quarterfinal victory last November at The Palace pushed the Pats to their second straight semifinal and doubled as Marion’s first victory ever over a top-ranked team.

Marion senior receiver Donnie Cheers earned Crittenden County Farm Bureau’s Player of the Week award after catching two touchdown passes at Greene County Tech.

Cheers’ two scoring grabs moved him into a tie for second place for career TD catches with 15.

Jerrimiah Nichols earned the team’s Offensive

Continued on Page 15

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