Chicago Heights, IL-(ENEWSPF)- It was easy to excuse the Marian defense for allowing 137 yards passing against nonconference foe North Lawndale.
Courtesy of six sacks and constant pressure on the quarterback, the Marian defense limited the Phoenix to minus-85 yards rushing to produce the Spartans’ first shutout since 2012.
The offense and special teams got into the act as well, with the Spartans clicking on all cylinders for a 51-0 victory.
Senior quarterback Sean Mascolino tossed for 223 yards and three touchdowns, connecting on scoring strikes to Eddie Ell, Tasheem Lawson, and Justen Pate.
It took a long time- and then some- for Marian to snap its 18-game losing streak. The Spartans had not won since week one of the 2016 season and then had to wait overnight when lightning suspended a 28-0 Marian second-quarter lead from Friday to Saturday.
The Spartans’ six sacks accounted for 48 yards in losses for North Lawndale, as Rhashid Wilson, Anjay Rush, Kendall Thomas, Lawson, Nathan Williams and Justin Stallworth all had a hand in the sack attack.
Pressured constantly by the defensive line, Phoenix quarterback Marquise Earskines finished with minus-99 yards rushing on 16 attempts.
With a defensive backfield of Elijah Barnes, Kameron Floyd, Ell and Jones holding its own as well, Marian forced North Lawndale to negative yardage on 19 snaps.
The Spartan offense left little doubt, scoring on three of its first four possessions on the Friday night portion of the victory. Freshman Ernest Tetter got the party started, capping a 51-yard drive with a 1-yard scoring burst. The first of four Ray Cantelo conversion kicks had Marian ahead for good with 3:31 remaining in the opening quarter.
Marian had no problem dialing up long distance on Friday-Saturday, as all seven touchdown drives (or returns) covered 50 yards or more.
A 74-yard drive was polished off when Mascolino hit Ell with a short pass, the senior breaking multiple tackles and eventually dashing for a 68-yard score that gave the host team a 14-0 command. One possession later, the Spartans marched 78 yards with Mascolino hitting Lawson from 5-yards out, and Marian was off and running with a 21-0 bulge.
Just before lightning halted the affair on Friday, Marian provided the home crowd with one more bolt. After the defense forced a fumble, Lawson scooped up the ball for a short return, then his fumble was picked up by Stallworth for a 50-yard fumble return and 28-0 Marian lead just before lightning struck.
Better weather conditions prevailed Saturday, but Marian kept its own lightning going.
Marian couldn’t take advantage of a short field on its first second-half opportunity but still cashed in with a 25-yard field goal from Cantelo. The Marian lead swelled to 37-0 when Pate reeled in a 43-yard bomb toward the end of the third period.
The Spartans weren’t done for the quarter, however, as Lawson picked off a pass as the period expired and dashed 57 yards for the score that gave Marian a 43-0 advantage.
Defense capped off the scoring and a long-awaited victory for Marian, as Josh Coates picked off a fourth-quarter pass and returned it 50 yards for a score. Mascolino connected with Stallworth on the conversion to account for the final tally.
The Spartans displayed excellent balance on offense. While Floyd was the leading rusher with 57 yards on three carries, seven different ballcarriers accounted for a 149-yard infantry attack on an efficient 22 attempts. Pate led the receiving corps with 89 yards on just two catches, while Ell had a pair or receptions for 83 yards.
Marian will open the ESCC portion of its schedule next Friday when the Spartans visit Carmel Catholic for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
By the Quarter
|NORTH LAWNDALE PHOENIX
|at MARIAN CATHOLIC SPARTANS
|Rush attempts / yards||30-(minus 85)||22-149|
|Fumbles / lost||7 / 2||1 / 0|
|Next||SCHURZ||at Carmel Catholic|
MC- Ernest Tetter 1-yard run (Ray Cantelo kick), 3:31 first.
MC- Eddie Ell 68-yard pass from Sean Mascolino (Cantelo kick), 0:21 first.
MC- Tasheem Lawson 5-yard pass from Mascolino (Cantelo kick), 6:24 second.
MC- Justin Stallworth 50-yard fumble return (Cantelo kick), 1:22 second.
MC- Cantelo 25-yard field goal, 7:21 third.
MC- Justen Pate 43-yard pass from Mascolino (kick failed), 1:42 third.
MC- Lawson 57-yard punt return (kick failed), 0:00 third.
MC- Josh Coates 50-yard interception return (Mascolino pass to Stallworth), 8:45 fourth.
Rushing: NL- Rajuan Jones 6-23, Dujan Barnes 7-(minus 1), Kennarus Wilburn 1-(minus 8), Marquise Earskines 16-(minus 99). MC- Kameron Floyd 3-57, Lawson 3-49, Tetter 6-24 (TD), Jarrett Benavides 1-20, Carlos Jones 3-18, Anjay Rush 1-0, Mascolino 5-(minus 19).
Passing: NL- Earskines 9 of 19, 137 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT; Wynton Alexander 0 of 1, 0 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT. MC- Mascolino 8 of 14, 223 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT.
Receiving: NL- Calvin Ingram 5-99, LaDarius Toliver 2-31, Jones 1-5, Lovell Miller 1-2. MC- Pate 2-89 (TD), Ell 2-83 (TD), Lawson 2-31 (TD), Benjamin Jenkins 1-14, Jones 1-6.
Interceptions: Toliver (NL); Coates (MC).
Junior Varsity: the young Spartans fell to 1-1 with a 33-0 setback at Saint Viator.
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