Martin lifts Colts over Tribe
bob ford/times news Marian's Paul Martin (25) finds some daylight as teammate Phil Schron (32) gives him a helping hand from behind.
Marian's game plan was pretty simple heading into Friday's season-opener with Lehighton.
The Colts wanted to make sure running back Paul Martin got his share of touches.
Martin then went out and showed why that was a good strategy.
The Marian senior carried the ball 30 times for 245 yards and three touchdowns and also set up his team's only other offensive score with an electrifying 61-yard run as the Colts beat Lehighton, 32-27.
"Our game plan was to make sure we got the ball in Paul Martin's hands and then mix in some fullback runs and play action passes," said Colt coach Stan Dakosty. "Paul had been running so hard and so determined throughout the entire preseason and he continued that tonight."
Martin said he got a lot of help putting up his big numbers although he was surprised at how big they were.
"I didn't realize I had that many carries or that many yards, but I love getting the ball," said Martin. As long as I'm gaining yards I'm happy to keep running.
"Tonight, I had a lot of help to put up those numbers. Our offensive line and fullbacks did a great job of opening holes for me."
After a 92-yard interception return for a score by Jon Strauss gave Lehighton an early 6-0 lead, Martin and the Colts answered with a pair of long drive to take the lead.
Marian tied the game with a 12-play, 70-yard drive that Martin capped with a one-yard TD run. On the Colts' next possession, they went 73 yards in nine plays with Martin scoring on another one yard run.
"We couldn't stop Martin," said Lehighton coach George Ebbert. "He runs so hard. He has the speed to run by you and the strength to run over you. He's a really good back."
Lehighton answered by going to its own big-play man as Jacen Nalesnik caught a short pass from Anthony Farole, broke a couple of tackles, and raced 61 yards for a score.
It was one of three touchdown passes for Farole, who came into this season as Lehighton's starting wide receiver and as an emergency No. 4 quarterback. But the Indians' found out just two days before the game that quarterback Josh Agosto would be forced to sit with an elbow injury. With their second and third string signalcallers also sidelined, Ebbert called on Farole.
"I though Anthony did a great job under very tough circumstances, " said Ebbert. "I wrote down some plays for him to take home and study the other night and then he came in Thursday and had a really nice practice. We had to totally change our game plan because Anthony couldn't drop back in the pocket and throw the ball around like Josh can.
"So we ran a lot of swings passes and threw a lot of short passes in the flat. But the loss had nothing to do with our quarterback situation. We got a great game from our quarterback, we just made way too many mistakes against a good team like Marian."
Those mistakes allowed the Colts to regain the lead as a pair of swing passes to receivers coming out of the backfield were ruled fumbles. The first one gave Marian the ball at the Indians' 22 and two plays later Martin went three yards for his third touchdown of the game and a 20-13 halftime lead for Marian.
On the opening possession of the second half, the Colts' Dylan Quark scooped up another loose ball behind the line of scrimmage and raced 44 yards for a 26-13 Marian lead.
Marian could never quite put the Indians away, however, and when Farole and Strauss hooked up on a 14-yard TD pass with 1:28 left in the game, the Indians trailed just 32-27 and were within an onside kick recovery of possibly pulling out the victory.
The Colts recovered the kick, however, and ran out the clock.
"It's a real nice win for us against a Lehighton team that is going to give a lot of people trouble this season," said Dakosty.