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Martin leads Marian past PV

As rivalries go, this one ranks at the top of the list.

You can’t ask for more intensity and more excitement than when Marian and Panther Valley tangle.

Bragging rights this year belong to Marian as it continued a late season surge on Friday night against the Panthers.

Riding the legs of sensational senior running back Matt Martin, the Colts rolled to a 28-12 victory at historic Panther Valley Stadium.

Martin may have had his finest hour in Blue and Gold, rushing for a career-best 190 yards on 25 carries. He hit the end zone twice - his first on a 4-yard blast before capping his big night with a 22-yard TD run.

The win is the second straight for the Colts - who started the season 0-7.

Marian carried the momentum from last week’s upset of Nativity into this game as it started strong against the Panthers.

“We’re getting there, we need to be more disciplined, we need to learn how to finish,” is the way legendary Marian coach Stan Dakosty summarized things. “We’re not there yet. We’ve got some work to do. We have to get ready for Pine Grove.”

It took an entire half before the Panthers put some oomph into the offensive attack. Of course, a lot had to do with the superb defense that the Colts were firing, especially the play of linebackers Jessie Rodino and Rawlin Melendez. They helped stuff the Panther Valley run game through the opening half, allowing just 13 rushing yards.

Meanwhile, Marian was using an unbalanced offensive line that enabled the them to turn Martin loose.

Marian reeled off three strong and impressive drives in the opening half.

In the first drive, he had all four carries, including a 51-yard jaunt to the PV 15. He eventually scored from four yards out and Caden Kash followed with the first of his four extra-points.

After Panther Valley went three-and-out, Marian put together its second scoring drive, This time, it was a 12-play march which was capped by a 17-yard TD run by sophomore Mike Silliman with 1:43 left in the opening quarter.

“We had a good idea what they were going to do,” said Panther Valley coach Ricky Jones about the unbalanced attack up front. “We weren’t surprised, they just executed it very well.”

The Colts third TD drive featured a nifty 41-yard TD pass from quarterback Andrew Baran to freshman tight end Mike Gelatko, who snuck in between the PV secondary, turned up field and raced to paydirt. The drive also featured a 21-yard run by Baran.

Trailing 21-0, the Panthers kick-started their offense on their very first possession of the second half when Mike Pasco hooked up with junior Dave McAndrew on a 39-yard touchdown strike.

Marian got that score back when sophomore Devon Smith intercepted a pass and returned it to the Panther Valley 36.

Four plays later, Martin applied the dagger with a 22-yard TD jaunt with 8:24 to play.

Panther Valley punched in the game’s final score when Nasir Ervine scored from two yards out with just 1:55 remaining.

“Our kids are improving every week,” Dakosty said. “I’m excited with the direction we are headed. We got a little sloppy in the second half. We’re not use to finishing yet ... we got to get used to finishing games.”

THEY DID IT … Marian’s defense was the key as It bottled up PV’s run game.

HE CAN RUN … Martin has been the shining star all season for the Colts. It was no different last evening. His 51-yard scoot in the first series set the tone for his team and the Colts road his coat tails to a quick three-score lead.

HE CAN PLAY … Pascoe is a very impressive, skilled athlete. The 6-3, 217-pound junior makes things happen. Ditto to McAndrew, and unheralded Mergim Bushati.

A PAIR OF DYNAMOS … Keep an eye on Marian’s standout two-way performer Melendez - a 6-3, 254-pound junior as well as Panther Valley’s Austin Hadley - a 6-2 junior. Both are potential big timers at the next level.

Marian's Matt Martin tries to break out a tackle while Panther Valley's Mike Pascoe (10) and Mergim Bushati also close in on him. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS