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Braves win big

Banks jumps out to a five-touchdown lead against North Marion and cruises to a 45-20 win in the team's final non-league game
by: Zack Palmer Banks wideout Zach Olson (6) runs away from North Marion’s Kyle Martin during the second quarter of Friday’s non-league football game. Olson had five catches for 86 yards and a touchdown in the Braves’ 45-20 victory.

AURORA - One of the points of emphasis for Banks going into Friday's non-league football game against North Marion was to cut down on penalty yardage.

The Braves didn't exactly get off to an auspicious start, having two scoring plays called back on penalties in the opening minutes of the game, but they settled down after those early jitters and made short work of North Marion in a 45-20 victory.

'We're still getting penalized too much, doing too many stupid things,' said Banks head coach Ben Buchanan. 'But the guys kept plugging away (after those penalties). They showed up and did what they were supposed to do.'

What they were supposed to do was win against a North Marion team that had dropped its first two non-league games by wide margins. Banks (2-1) continued that trend by scoring five first-half touchdowns and opening a 38-0 lead by halftime.

North Marion (0-3) scored three times after the break, but it was far too little and it came far too late.

Chance Cauley got things started for the Braves, capping their penalty-plagued first possession with a 4-yard touchdown run. Dakota Kemper added a 4-yard scoring run of his own on Banks' next drive to make it 13-0, and North Marion gifted the Braves excellent field position for the rest of the half with a blocked punt and series of failed fourth-down conversions.

Banks quarterback Shea Rue made it 21-0 with a nifty 23-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, and Aaron Streblow tacked on a 29-yard field goal later in the period.

Rue closed the half with a pair of scoring passes, the first a 17-yarder to Zach Olson, followed by a 30-yard strike to Jeremy Schillereff that gave the Braves a 38-0 lead.

'We need to clean up some little stuff on the offensive line, just some nagging little things,' Buchanan said. 'Other than that, we're playing pretty well right now.'

Grayson Partain scored on a 10-yard run in the second half to keep Banks' lead at 38 points, but North Marion closed the gap with a couple of long touchdown passes in the fourth quarter.

Partain rushed for 71 yards, mostly in the second half, as Banks used nine different ballcarriers and churned out 268 yards on the ground. Dakota Kemper led the effort with 85 yards on 10 carries.

Rue completed 9 of 16 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns. Olson had five catches for 86 yards and one score, while Schillereff had three receptions for 46 yards and the other score.

'Shea Rue is playing really well at quarterback, and Dakota Kemper at running back is kind of a beast,' Buchanan said. 'We have some weapons, but there will come a time when we'll need to be sharper.'

That time will likely come in two weeks when the Braves begin Cowapa League play on the road against Tillamook. In the meantime, Banks will have a bye week to get healthy and work out the kinks after budget cuts forced the team to drop from a 10-game schedule down to nine games this year.