A stout defense and an explosive offense propelled Marian to a 28-13 non-league win over visiting Conwell-Egan Catholic Saturday afternoon.
The win puts the Colts (1-3) back on track after getting off to a slow start to begin the season.
"We were physical and we made plays today," said Marian coach Stan Dakosty. "In our first three games of the season, I though we left too many plays on the field.
"We were really physical and controlled the line of scrimmage today. Our kids just battled and I'm really proud of them."
Marian's physicality played to its advantage in a hard-hitting contest, as the Colts' defense held the Eagles (1-2) to 160 yards of total offense and routinely stuffed the running game.
Dakosty had high praise for his defense, a unit that has been much maligned after a few early losses.
"When you're 0-3, you're kind of forgotten," Dakosty said. "But I don't think there has been better linebacker play than Lukas Damian's these last three weeks, and now four. And our nose guard, Stephen Hall, had a great game today.
"I'm just really pleased with how they played. They really set the tone for us in the second half."
After a scoreless first half, Marian's offense set the tone early in the third quarter. The Colts went airborne on their second play of the half, when K.J. Snerr launched a pass down the middle of the field and nailed Damian in stride for a 66-yard touchdown.
"That was impressive," Dakosty said of Snerr's long throw. "Lukas stayed with the play and K.J., who is healthy for the first time this season, just laid up the pass."
Snerr also ran in the two-point try for an 8-0 lead at the 9:12 mark of the third quarter.
The Colts looked to be in command after recovering a fumble at the Eagles' 21. But Marian gave it right back, as Wyett Mcleod returned a fumble to the Colts' 20. Egan cashed in three plays later when Dustin Mascione scored on an 11-yard touchdown run, but the Colts foiled the two-point try.
"That score was big for us," said Eagles' head coach Jack Techtmann. "But then they came right back, the way a good team does, and they scored quickly."
Marian responded two plays after the Eagles' touchdown. A well-designed and perfectly executed screen pass turned into a 69-yard touchdown, when Nick Sully went streaking to the end zone. Snerr's extra point gave the Colts a 15-6 advantage.
Things even got better for Marian on Egan's next offensive series. Damian jumped in front of a pass attempt in the flat by backup quarterback Justin Ward, who came in for an injured Jarrett Patman. Damian returned the pick 15 yards to the end zone to make it 21-6.
Later in the third quarter, the Eagles' botched punt try set up Marian with its best field position at the 19. The Colts scored three plays later when Chris Bruno plowed into the end zone on a short, five-yard plunge for a 28-7 lead.
"I thought Bruno did a great job running the ball today," Dakosty said. "We really wanted to get him as many carries as possible and we felt that we could do a few things against them. Our execution has gotten much better."
The Eagles scored late in the game when Joe Ruggiero sprinted 35 yards, which capped a six-play, 56-yard drive.
Marian will look to continue its momentum and get back in contention in the Anthracite Football League, as the Colts host a 3-1 North Schuylkill squad Friday night.