WEST MEMPHIS -- Marion recorded its first-ever victory over West Memphis 33-3 in a series between two Crittenden County rivals that dates back to the 1970s.
The Patriots (2-2, 1-0 6A-East) got three touchdown passes from quarterback Benjamin Gerrard, and the Marion defense held West Memphis (1-3, 0-1) to just 37 yards rushing and extended the Blue Devils string without a touchdown to nine quarters.
The Patriots allowed just 28 yards on the ground in the first half and their defense scored the first points on a safety of West Memphis quarterback Bryson Jenkins with 5:42 to play in the opening quarter.
That's when Gerrard warmed up his right arm.
He connected with Donnie Cheers for a 50-yard touchdown pass with 3:09 to play in the first quarter. Dylan Pieri added the extra point for a 9-0 Marion lead.
Two West Memphis turnovers in the first half proved hurtful to its cause, the second of which was an interception by Marion's Donavin Brewer, which set up running back Cameron Anderson's 9-yard touchdown at the 9:43 mark of the second quarter.
Marion took a 23-3 lead into halftime after Gerrard's second TD strike, this one to Caleb Catt for 52 yards.
Gerrard's third touchdown pass went to Cheers again, who made a circus catch in the back of the end zone, keeping both of his feet barely inside the end line.
The strong-legged Pieri then padded the Marion lead to 33-3 with a 33-yard field goal with 2:31 left in the third quarter.
The two teams' series, which began in 1979, has been an annual affair since 2006 when the Patriots climbed the classification ladder into 6A and into the same conference as the Blue Devils.
West Memphis, 18-0 against Marion coming into the game, had won every year since 2006.