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Marian stuns Nativity in OT for first win

There’s a standard belief in sports that when you play a winless team, the longer you let them hang around, the more dangerous they become.

Friday night, Nativity let winless Marian hang around and the Colts showed how dangerous that could be.

Marian took advantage of their opportunistic offense and a big stop defense to defeat the Green Wave 19-13 in overtime.

Matt Martin’s eight yard TD run off the right side in OT sent the Colts’ fans, players, and coaches into a frenzy of celebration.

Stan Dakotsky, who has compiled a mountain of big wins during his four decades coaching Marian, spoke with a lump in his throat about his team’s first win of 2021.

“I’m so proud of these kids,” he said. “We were down at the half, but they never gave up and chipped away. I’m proud for our fans and our coaches too. This was a great win for us.”

Right from the start of the game, it was obvious that the Colts weren’t thinking about won-lost records.

The Marian defense came up with its first of several big stops, halting Nativity on downs at the Colt 20-yard line in the opening quarter.

A Noah Dolbin interception had set up the Nativity march into Marian territory. The key play in the drive came when quarterback Julius Walborn hit Dolbin with a seam pass to the 26-yard line. But Marian’s defense stiffened to keep the game scoreless.

Meanwhile, Marian had trouble moving the chains except for a Michael Silliman counter run of 20 yards that got the Colts their only first down in the first half.

With 7:38 left in the half, Stephan Spolski carried the ball five times for Nativity to lead a drive to the Marian seven-yard line, but on a fourth- and-two, the Colts’ stopped Sam Spolsky for a four-yard loss.

Marian’s momentum was short-lived as on its first offensive snap from their own 11 was fumbled and recovered by Nativity at the three-yard line. Following a procedure penalty, Sam Spolsky got to the edge on the left side for an eight yard TD run and a 7-0 lead.

“We might have made this an easier win for us without that fumble,” said Dakotsky. “But we thought we would bounce back in the second half.”

Bounce back Marian did, dominating the line of scrimmage at the start of the third quarter. With a second down at their own 38-yard line, junior quarterback Andrew Baran found Michael Gelatko over the middle for a 38-yard gain. Then, on a fourth-and-six from the Nativity 20, Baran hit Silliman in the left flat for a Marian first down at the six.

Two plays later, Martin bulled over from the one to tie the score at 7-7.

The Colts took the lead with a four-minute drive at the start of the fourth quarter. Martin, who was once again the workhorse, got the score from three yards out for a 13-7 Colt advantage.

Nativity answered with a nine-play TD drive with Stephan Spolski weaving and spinning for a three-yard score with 32 seconds left on the clock. The point after, however, sailed wide right sending the game into overtime.

Marian won the toss and chose to defend.

“Our offense was struggling somewhat and I thought we had some big plays left to make from our defense,” said Dakotsky.

The Green Wave stuck with their bread and butter, running Spolsky into the line three straight plays from their start at the Marian 10. Jesse Rodino stopped Spolsky for a three-yard loss on third down. Then, on fourth down from the five, Luis Teron intercepted an attempted pass to Spolsky in the right corner of the end zone.

The stage was set for Marian as it took over within 10 yards to victory. On second-and-eight, Martin went off the right side for the game winning score and the celebration began.

“We’re building something here,” said Dakotsky. “Ninety percent of our roster is made up of underclassmen. This is only going to get better.”

BACKUPS ON STAGE ... Both teams played without their injured first string quarterbacks. Dakosty praised Baran for running his offense and making key throws down the field to keep drives alive.

COMEBACK KID ... Perhaps the best play of the game was when Colts’ receiver Teron broke free from coverage and came back to make a contested catch for a 33-yard gain late in the third quarter.

Marian's Michael Silliman has Nativity's Stephan Spolski wrapped up. RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS