MARIETTA – Marietta’s Omar Castaneda had 24 carries for 111 yards with two touchdowns and returned a kick-off 95 yards for another score to help lead the Indians to a 26-6 victory over the Dickson Comets Friday night at McClain Stadium.

MARIETTA – Marietta’s Omar Castaneda had 24 carries for 111 yards with two touchdowns and returned a kick-off 95 yards for another score to help lead the Indians to a 26-6 victory over the Dickson Comets Friday night at McClain Stadium. In addition Castaneda, on defense, intercepted a Dickson pass in the end zone to end a key threat by the Comets in the fourth quarter.

The victory gave first-year Marietta coach Jacob Offolter his first victory, and it added to the Comet woes as their 12th consecutive loss dating back to Oct. 30, 2015.

Marietta (1-0), dominated action especially in the first half. Castaneda scored on a one-yard run with 1:34 left in the opening quarter to finish an 8-play, 40-yard drive that took the Indians just four minutes to accomplish. But the time of possession was the deciding factor with Marietta holding a 19 minute to 5 minute edge on the Comets prior to intermission. Dickson did not get a first down in the first 24 minutes and finished the first half with a minus 15 yards of offensive production.

“Our defense stepped up big for us tonight,” Offolter said. “One of the factors I saw as a positive for us was in our overall conditioning. I was proud of the way the players accepted the program throughout the summer preparations and worked to get stronger and faster. They really get after it during our conditioning sessions. And although they know what’s coming next, they don’t grumble and complain. They get in there and get the work done.” 

  “I believe the condition of our team will pay big dividends this season, especially when we hit our tough district.”

Dickson (0-1), did a better job in time of possession and ball movement in the second half. With a minute remaining in the third, a short Marietta punt had the Comets set up at the Indian 15-yard line. On the first play of the fourth, Dickson’s Spencer Throneberry scored on a 1-yard run. The failed extra point try left the Indians with a shaky 8-6 advantage.

But not to worry. 

The ensuing kick-off went to Castaneda at the 5-yard line. 

He headed up the middle, hooked left and then out-ran all Comet defenders down the sideline for a 95-yard return touchdown. 

And momentum that had moments ago been with the Comets suddenly switched back to the Indians.

“That kick-off return early in the fourth set things up for us,” Offolter said. “They had just scored, and they were showing signs of moving the football on us. But the kick-off return for a touchdown by Omar changed everything.” 

“We stepped up and started dominating along the line again like we had in the first half. It gave us a huge momentum burst. We performed well down the stretch and got a big win for our football program.”

Following a Marietta defensive stop, the Indians drove 75 yards in nine plays to take a two touchdown lead. Kile Ing powered the ball in from three yards out to put Marietta up 20-6 with six minutes remaining.

Dickson, now forced to pass, could not get consistent ball movement. And ultimately the Indians had possession at the Comet 40-yard line with two minutes remaining. On the third play of the drive, Castaneda broke through a well-blocked line and ran untouched 43-yards for the final Indian score with a minute left on the clock.

“We knew the kinds of things they were going to do, but we did not do a good job of getting our stops,” Dickson coach Steve Day said. “We practiced on many of the situations we ran into during the course of the game.” 

Marietta ended with a 260-78 overall advantage in total yards. 

The Indians held the Comets to a minus four yards rushing, but Dickson managed 82 yards through the air to finish with positive yards

The Indians will take a 128-mile bus trip to Valliant this Friday to take on the Bulldogs. Dickson will head to Kingston this Thursday to play the Redskins.