MARION — If the crowd was any indication, the first combined Blue and Gold Game featuring all the fall sports at Marion High School instead of just soccer or football was a big success Thursday night at Wildcat Stadium.
The night of athletics started with the cross country, boys golf, tennis and volleyball teams being introduced — the girls golf teams had a match on the road — and the boys soccer team scrimmaging for 40 minutes. The youth football team then had a scrimmage showcase, followed by the lower level high school teams and finally the varsity Wildcats with the cheerleaders treating it like a regular Friday night.
The idea was first kicked around — pardon the pun — by football coach Kerry Martin and former soccer coach Jared Dobbs and came to fruition with new athletic director Ryan Goodisky's organization.
"I've been hoping for this for a long time," Martin said. "We wanted to get more people here and make it a night. Having the youth football team here was wonderful. I hope someday it continues to grow. I hope we have a volleyball game and the cross country team finish a run in the stadium. We want to build a family and community among our fellow sports."
As for the headlining act, the Wildcats didn't do anything flashy but had some effective scoring drives, while simultaneously showcasing a stingy-looking defense.
"It's been kind of a give and take between the offense and defense all camp long so I thought tonight was a good representation of what we've seen so far," Martin said. "Hopefully we can get better in the next week of practice."
Martin said he wanted to look at video from the scrimmage, but one positive thing stood out to him with the naked eye.
"I don't think we had a turnover tonight and that's a good sign," Martin said. "We've got to make sure we're consistent. As camp has progressed, we've cut down on our mistakes and our mental errors. We've worked hard on that this year. We hope that pays dividends for us."
The soccer team opens play next week at the Metro Cup tournament and the football Wildcats head to Brownsville, Tennessee, next Saturday to face Haywood County. The girls tennis team opens Tuesday at home against Herrin, with the volleyball team opening up against Massac County the same night.
The golfers have had a tough time getting going with the recent weather, and this Saturday's Anna Invitational boys tournament has already been postponed. The cross country squads host a home meet next Thursday to begin the season.