Marian shuts out Panther Valley
Bob Ford/TIMES NEWS Marian's Lukas Damian tries to get outside while Panther Valley's Calergo Keo (1) and Charles Nase (56) close in on the Colt ballcarrier.
Three weeks ago, the Marian Colts were 0-3 and could've packed it in.
Last night, after a 28-0 triumph over arch-rival Panther Valley, they now have a three-game win streak and have climbed back to the .500 mark and are raising some eyebrows now in the Anthracite League.
"We were a little sloppy at times, but if you would have told me we were going to shut this team out who averaged 25 points a game, I wouldn't believe it," said Marian head coach Stan Dakosty. "We were a little battered there in the end and the kids that went in there filled in real nice.
"Lucas (Damian), Sam (Budusky), Anthony (Agosti) and those guys also played a nice game defensively."
The Panthers shot themselves in the foot numerous times and were never able to grab the momentum.
It was a battle of two backs. For Marian, it was Lucas Damian at the controls with running back Anthony Agosti. For the Panthers, it was quarterback Kyle Ferryman and running back Rich Nase.
"We worked all week at keeping our poise and keeping our posture," said a happy Damian afterwards. "Whether it be a good play or bad play, you just have a short memory and go right back and execute the offense. Anthony (Agosti) and I have a great relationship at practice, on and off the field, and we just clicked today."
At the end of the night, all four players had uniforms that were covered with dirt.
The Panthers looked like they were going to score first after taking the opening kickoff and marching down to the Marian 11, but Josh Lex fell on a Panther fumble giving the Colts the ball at their own 11 four minutes into the contest.
Marian put together an 11-play drive out to its own 40 before it was forced to punt. The Panthers fumbled the reception and Marian's Stephen Hall fell on it at the PV 26.
"We drive down the field, get inside their 10 yard line and we fumble and lose the ball," PV head coach Lon Hazlet said. "We stop them on downs, they punt, and we drop the ball.
"We get late in the second half, we just don't have anything left. The guys are gassed, playing both ways. We have more guys standing on the sideline hurt than we have playing.
"My hats off to them. Lucas Damian is a tremendous football player. He had a big night. Agosti is a tremendous football player. And they just beat us up front."
Four plays later, Damian took it into the end zone himself from 15-yards out. With 32 seconds left in the opening quarter, the Colts had a 6-0 lead.
"That's what happened to us earlier in the year when we were 0-3," said Dakosty about the turnovers. "We were on the other end of it now and we're starting to make some plays and we're getting turnovers.
"They (the Panthers) broke a couple big plays, but they didn't break a lot. We worked all week about keeping their guys in front of us, especially Ferryman, who is really a threat to go anywhere on the field. Nace and Ferryman are as good as any two players you can find on any team.
"They had us worried sick. I was very concerned about this game. I was worried about a letdown after the North Schuylkill win. We're playing with confidence now."
Agosti finished the night with 124 yards rushing, while Damian rushed for 74 yards for the Colts. Ferryman had 110 yards rushing and Nace 66 for the Panthers.
Neither team mustered much offense through most of the second quarter, until Anthony Agosti broke loose on a 43-yard run for a touchdown with 5:47 left in the half, upping the Marian lead to 12-0.
The Panthers moved into Marian territory with just over a minute left in the half, but Nico Agosti intercepted a pass on his own 28 ending the threat keeping the Colts lead at two scores at the half.
In the third quarter, Marian put together its longest scoring drive of the night going 62 yards on 12 plays with Sam Budusky pushing in from the one to lift the Colts lead up to 18-0 with 2:37 left on the clock.
Marian added an insurance score with just under three minutes left in the game when Nick Sully ran for a 61-yard TD. Bailey Becker added the point after setting the final at 28-0.