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MARIONVILLE — Opposing defenses are forced to play a little game of “pick your poison” every week when going up against Marionville. 

Either they can try to shut down dynamic sophomore quarterback Wil Carlton or they can do all they can to stop 5-foot-5 tailback Dakota Wilson from running all over them. 

Try all the defenses want, but so far, nothing has worked. 

Marionville (7-0) continued its resurgence with a 48-12 win over Sarcoxie (3-4) on Friday night. The Comets remain unbeaten after two consecutive four-win seasons. 

The one-two punch of Carlton and Wilson has the Comets back in the state rankings — they were ranked No. 8 in the Class 1 rankings this past week. And it appears, as long as they’re there, the Comets are here to stay. 

“It’s amazing having that great of a pair, ” Wilson said. “They don’t know who to go for and I don’t know how to explain it.”

It is difficult to explain how Wilson can be so dominant, but his powerlifting resume might do the trick. 

Wilson, listed at 5-foot-5 and 160 pounds, rushed for 182 yards and three touchdowns on the evening. His first score saw him carry what appeared to be most of the Sarcoxie defense the final 10 yards on a 23-yard run. 

“I heard everyone yelling that I had the whole team on my back,” Wilson said. “I felt a couple but I didn’t know how many were on me, to be honest.”

The junior ballcarrier is what head coach Paden Grubbs described as one of the pound-for-pound strongest athletes in the state. It’s not an overreaction when you learn that he entered a state weightlifting competition last year and squatted over 400 pounds. 

“He’s a superb athlete,” Grubbs said. “He’s got great vision for a little back.”

Next to him in the backfield is Carlton — who has been putting up some of the best statistics in southwest Missouri as a sophomore. 

Carlton did pretty much everything else for the Comets on Friday night. He rushed for 66 yards and a score, he completed 10-of-14 passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns and he also picked off two passes on defense. 

“He’d probably be good at pretty much anything he wanted to do,” Grubbs said. “We’re really fortunate to have him on our side.”

The duo has Marionville in a position to be good for the next several years. Grubbs said he can feel the excitement in the community — as well as in the elementary school and junior high with players excited to be Comets in the future. 

With Carlton and Wilson leading the way, the Comets should soar for Friday nights for at least the rest of this year and the next. Perhaps they’re paving the way for the Comets to be among the state’s best for years to come. 

“It is (something special),” Grubbs said. “These kids, we talk to them all the time about being humble and just taking it one game at a time. I know it’s a cliche but it’s a matter of fact. 

“It is special tho when you hear people talking about it at the elementary and the coffee shops and it’s something to be excited about.”

Wyatt D. Wheeler is a reporter and columnist with the Springfield News-Leader. You can contact him at 417-371-6987, by email at or Twitter at @WyattWheeler_NL. He’s also the co-host of Sports Talk on Jock Radio weekdays from 4-6 p.m.