Athletics, Park Forest, Schools

Marian Catholic Comes Up Short vs. Oak Lawn in See-Saw Contest

Erick Middleton, Oak Lawn, Spartans, football
Head Coach Erick Middleton talks to his team Friday in Oak Lawn. (Photo: Marian Catholic)

Oak Lawn, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Opening-game high school contests are characterized by mistakes and miscues.

Host Oak Lawn had its share of first-game flaws on Friday, but many of Marian Catholic’s mishaps appeared at the worst times.

The visiting Spartans committed 13 penalties and had three turnovers in a 28-22 nonconference season-opening setback to Oak Lawn.

In a game that saw the squads trade scores with Marian taking four different leads, Oak Lawn was the Spartan squad that got the last swap.

Aug. 241234TOTAL
 97 6 022

After Marian took a 22-20 command with 4:09 to play in the third quarter on Sean Mascolino’s 49-yard bomb to Eddie Ell, Oak Lawn responded with a 56-yard march to take the lead for good with 1:11 to play in the third period.

Those critical-time mistakes?

Marian had a chance to respond to Oak Lawn’s last score. Another Mascolino to Ell connection gave Marian a first down, as did Tasheem Lawson’s 16-yard scamper to the Oak Lawn 1-yard line. However, a fumble at the goal line on the next snap allowed Oak Lawn to maintain its advantage.

Marian got solid efforts on the defensive line from Nathan Williams, Darius Mahome, Marco Stith, Justin Stallworth and Rhashid Wilson (fumble recovery) to produce three more fourth-quarter opportunities. However, a key sack halted Marian’s next possession and two holding penalties hampered the following drive.

The visitors got one more shot in the final minute, starting at their own 40-yard line.

Marian threatened as Mascolino (14 of 31, 172 yards) hit Justen Pate with a pair of chain-movers. Marian moved to the Oak Lawn 32-yard line, but four straight incomplete passes ended the comeback effort.

Similar to a blown lead in a 40-33 loss to Oak Lawn to open the 2017 season, Marian’s offense couldn’t muster the same second-half production as in the first half.

Early on, the Marian offense was clicking.

After forcing a quick Oak Lawn punt, Marian raised high hopes when Lawson got loose on a 34-yard rushing jaunt on the first snap of the season. The drive stalled, but Ray Cantelo gave Marian an early advantage with a 30-yard field goal.

Oak Lawn answered, but Ell set up the visitors in great position after a 78-yard kickoff return to the Oak Lawn 17-yard line. Not stifled by penalties this time, Marian cashed in with a 22-yard touchdown run from Lawson to take a 9-6 lead.

Again, Oak Lawn answered to retake the lead. However, both teams had heroics to close out the half.

After the Marian defense proved stingy, Lawson reeled in a punt and broke a handful of tackles to go 87 yards for a touchdown and 16-12 Marian advantage with 1:11 to play in the half.

However, Oak Lawn minimized the Marian clock advantage with a 47-yard kickoff return. Four plays later, Kevin Swatek pulled in one of three touchdown catches on the night to give the host team a 20-16 edge at the intermission.

All three of Marian’s turnovers came in the second half. The miscues proved costly, as Marian actually outgained Oak Lawn in yardage, 281 to 242. Lawson led the way on the ground for Marian with 103 yards on just eight carries. Ell finished with six catches for 89 yards, and Carlos Jones- who had a touchdown called back via penalty- chipped in 26 rushing yards and 44 receiving yards.

The Spartans will try to snap an 18-game losing streak when they host North Lawndale in their home opener next Friday at 6 p.m.

Junior Varsity

The Spartans got off to a great start with a 41-6 romp over Oak Lawn.

Varsity Stats

CATEGORYMarian Catholic
Oak Lawn
First downs1117
Rush attempts / yards27-10944-142
Passing yards172100
Pass completions1411
Pass attempts3120
Had intercepted10
Fumbles / lost 5 / 26 / 1
Penalty Yards13-1126-60
NextNORTH LAWNDALEat Thornwood


MC- Ray Cantelo 30-yard field goal, 9:39 first.
OL- Kevin Swatek 6-yard pass from Chris Gallagher (kick blocked), 5:31 first.
MC- Tasheem Lawson 22-yard run (run failed), 4:04 first.
OL- Gallagher 2-yard run (pass failed), 11:54 second.
MC- Lawson 87-yard punt return (Cantelo kick), 1:11 second.
OL- Swatek 7-yard pass from Gallagher (Nick Puente run), 0:14 second. 
MC- Eddie Ell 49-yard pass from Sean Mascolino (kick failed), 4:09 third.
OL- Swatek 8-yard pass from Gallagher (Puente run), 1:11 third.

Rushing: MC- Lawson 8-103 (TD), Carlos Jones 6-26, Kameron Floyd 4-12, Justen Pate 1-0, Ell 1-(minus 6), Mascolino 7-(minus 26); OL- Puente 14-89, Gallagher 22-37 (TD), Khalil Abdullah 8-16.
Passing: MC- Mascolino 14 of 31, 172 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; OL- Gallagher 11 of 20, 100 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT.
Receiving: MC- Ell 6-89 (TD), Jones 4-44, Pate 3-33, Lawson 1-6; OL- Swatek 6-70 (3 TD), Antonio Garza 2-15, Alec Gonsch 2-11, Puente 1-4.
Interceptions: Jaime Marinez (OL).