MINERSVILLE Marian Catholic's 2010 gridiron woes sustained another crushing blow here Friday night when the Colts dropped a 28-17 encounter to the host Battlin Miners.
Similiar to last week's three-point loss to Panther Valley, the Colts, decimated by injuries since the second quarter of the first game of the year, played good enough to stay in the game, yet poorly enough to lose, yielding 326 yards rushing against Coach Pat Mason's team. It was the first time in the history of the 13-game series that the Miners defeated the Colts.
The Blue and Gold actually led 10-7 after the first stanza, but trailed 21-17 at the break after giving up a pair of TDs in the second period. Yet while 17 first half points was "not bad," as sized up by their coach, the Marian offense faltered in the seond half, allowing the Miners to win their first game of the year.
"Stan (Dakosty) has had our number for awhile," said Mason, referring to the Colts' dominance of the Miners in the first nine games of the series, "so, it feels good to actually win one over them. Stan always has his team prepared, so we're pleased to be able to play like we did."
Junior QB Cole Weachock's play on the hosts' side of the ball stood out prominently. All the signal caller did was rush 29 times for 184 yards and two TDs, passed for a third tally, and directed an offense that garnered 351 yards. "We put in a new offense last week," Mason said. "It's a spread look and he (Weachock) reads well. He's a tough kid who makes us go."
The quarterback showed his prowess early. After Marian took a 3-0 lead at 8:09 on a 23-yard field goal by Paul Martin, thanks to a fumble recovery by Kolton Heckman, Weachock put the spread "O" in high gear, initially rushing for a 35-yarder and three plays later, bolting 24 yards for a score. The first of four Shayne Schafer PATs gave the hosts a 7-3 lead with 3:32 left in the opening stanza.
With starting LB Anthony Damiano out for the season with a broken ankle, Marian's defense was at a disadvantage. It didn't help that the other starting LB, Jordan Weber, reinjured his ankle too, leaving the Colts with inexperience in the key positions.
"We played well, but couldn't stop 'em," Dakosty said of the Miners' offense. "We didn't have an answer for them."
Still, the Colts hung tough. They answered the Miner tally with one of their own, with QB Corey Quick passing 14 yards to Joihn Julian for a go-ahead six-pointer at the end of an eight-play, 53-yard drive. The drive was aided by a successful fake punt by J.T. Keer, after which the TD and a Martin PAT gave Marian a 10-7 advantage.
Later in the first quarter, Weachock picked off a Quick pass. He then directed a 79-yard drive with Billy Powanda scoring on a four-yard run with 9:55 left before the break, giving Minersville a 14-10 lead that was never surrendered.
The hosts scored on their next possession too on a 14-yard Weachock run, making it 21-10.
Marian bounced right back though, going 62 yards before the break. Reserve QB Ryan Karnish came on for the final four snaps of a 11-play drive after Quick was shaken up. And with :03.4 on the board, Karnish tossed a 14-yard TD pass to 6-5 Dominick Richards in the endzone, slicing the lead to 21-17.
"Seventeen points in the first half ...that wasn't too bad," Dakosty said of his otherwise lackluster offense, which netted only 70 yards on the ground. "We were in it in the second half, but we didn't make the move. It's hard, a tough deal, because at halftime, we were in the game."