SCHUYLKILL HAVEN – Marian's offense couldn't get going in the first half. The Colts' five drives ended with two turnovers and three punts.
In the second half that offense was nearly unstoppable. Aided by some Schuylkill Haven turnovers, Marian scored on four of its six second-half possessions to beat the Hurricanes, 28-7.
"We made enough mistakes in the first half to put ourselves in a hole," said Marian head coach Stan Dakosty. "You can't do that against anybody, let alone Schuylkill Haven. At halftime we said 'Lets stop shooting ourselves in the foot. Lets go out and play good football.'"
Marian (2-0) quickly took momentum in the second half. Cy Shickora's 46-yard kickoff return set the Colts up at the Hurricanes' 27-yard line. Paul Martin carried the ball four times on a seven-play touchdown drive, capped by his one-yard scamper for a 7-0 lead with 8:27 left in the third quarter.
The Colts' defense, which forced three punts and two turnovers in the first half, held the Hurricanes to three-and-out on their next possession. However, on first down Marian lost its third fumble of the game and Schuylkill Haven (1-1) capitalized.
Starting at the Marian 30-yard line, Brandon Cooper carried four times on a five-play Hurricane scoring drive that tied the game at 7-7 with 3:30 left in the third.
Martin and Marian's offense took over from there, while the Colts' defense forced three turnovers over the game's final 14 minutes to keep Schuylkill Haven from threatening the rest of the way.
"One thing we did this preseason, which we hadn't really done before, is we spent one period on stripping and fumbles" said Dakosty. "Our kids think that way. Give them credit for executing it."
Marian got the ball back and gave it to Martin on four of five plays, capped by his 37-yard touchdown run to take a 13-7 lead with 1:49 left in the third.
A first-down Schuylkill Haven fumble gave the ball right back to Marian. Two Martin runs and a Hurricane penalty resulted in another touchdown, giving Marian a 21-7 lead with 1:09 left in the third.
The Hurricanes tried to respond. They mounted a nine-play drive that ended when Damian Richards picked off a Ryan Fink pass and ran it back 38 yards to give the Colts the ball on the Haven 17-yard line.
Martin covered all 17 yards on the next play to cap the scoring at 28-7 with 7:01 left in the game.
"This is a huge win," said Martin, who ran for 141 yards on 18 carries. "The past three years we went 1-1. Finally coming out 2-0 we have momentum. Everyone's pumped up already."
Martin was disappointed with the Colts' first half performance, but feels they made up for it after regrouping at halftime.
"We knew that wasn't us out there," Martin said. "We had to come out and prove what we could do."
The Colts started priving it on the first playoff the second half.
"Cy Shickora's second-half kickoff return was major," said Dakosty of the senior defensive back/running back. "Cy's playing lights out football. He was unbelievable on defense last week and did it again this week."
Martin had his second big week in a row. Last week he ran for 245 yards and three touchdowns to earn the first TIMES NEWS Player of the Week award of the 2011 season. He validated it this week.
"With the guys we have up front and his work ethic, he's just ready to take it to another level," said Dakosty. "He made big plays. He ran really well. He's a tough back to bring down."
Schuylkill Haven head coach Mike Farr expects his inexperienced team to learn from the setback.
"Our team had its first test and we lost," he said. "That's the way it goes. They were clearly the better team in the second half. When you have experienced kids and you have the depth that they have, that's what you get. They're a good football team. We're just not as good as they are right now."