MAHANOY CITY – With the football season only three weeks old, it's far too early to declare a "state of emergency" for the Marian football program.
However, there are enough warning signs to suggest that the Colts may be in serious trouble if conditions don't start to improve quickly.
For the third straight game, Marian has been dominated on both sides of the ball, as Mahanoy Area rolled to a 40-6 Anthracite Football League victory.
The loss drops the Colts to 0-3, marking the first time since 1995 that Marian has started a season with three straight losses.
Marian hoped to receive a spark with the return of starting quarterback KJ Snerr (injured on the first play from scrimmage in the season opener against Lehighton), but the offense continued to sputter.
Through three games, the Colts are averaging just 8.7 points per contest and 128.7 yards of total offense.
If anything, last night was a giant step backward, as Marian was only able to amass 85 total yards on 35 plays from scrimmage.
After a scoreless first quarter, Mason Evitts started the second stanza with a five-yard touchdown run on third and goal to give the Golden Bears an 8-0 lead (following a successful two-point conversion pass from Dylan Mahmod to Austin Forte).
Mahmod then padded the Mahanoy Area lead with two touchdown runs (7 and 8 yards respectively) in the final 2:30 of the first half to give the Bears a 20-0 lead at the break.
Mahanoy Area worked with a short field for the entire first half, as all six of its possessions started inside the Marian 41 yard line.
The Colts, on the other hand, had a first half to forget.
Of their 24 plays from scrimmage, Marian had seven plays for negative yards, six penalties, four punts and two interceptions. At halftime, the Colts finished with 20 yards of offense on just 20 plays.
Marian did however have chances for big plays and possible scoring opportunities. Twice in the first half, wide receiver Nico Agosti blew past the Mahanoy Area secondary and was wide open, but Snerr failed to connect with him.
"We just didn't execute today, it's as plain and simple as that," stated Marian head coach Stan Dakosty. "We left points on the board. We had a chance to make plays and we missed our opportunities."
Mahanoy Area then took the opening drive of the second half 80 yards on seven plays, which culminated in a 62 yard touchdown pass from Dylan Mahmod to Mason Evitts on third-and-18 to increase its lead to 28-0.
Three plays later, Snerr raced 43 yards untouched for Marian's lone touchdown.
However, Mahmod answered right back with this third rushing touchdown of the night from six yards out and Austin Forte capped off the scoring with a one-yard touchdown plunge in the final minutes. Mahmod, the engineer of Mahanoy Area's flex bone offense, finished the night with 186 yards rushing on 34 carries after rushing for over 200 yards in the first two games of the season.
Marian has now given up an average of 32.3 points and 362.3 yards of offense to its opponents in the first three games.
With a substantial lead, Mahanoy Area ate up the clock in the second half with sustained drives. The Golden Bears ran 37 plays in the second half, while Marian touched the ball just 17 times.
"Everybody was saying all week that we didn't play anybody yet and Marian played two quality teams," stated Mahanoy Area head coach Dave Holman. "Tonight was a collaborative effort offensively and I thought our defense played a phenomenal game. We'll enjoy this win, but we'll get over it quickly because we have Tamaqua waiting in the wings."