There was a lot on the line Friday in LaGrange Park.
“It was revenge for them, it was respect for us,” Marist wide receiver Jadon Thompson said.
The No. 12 RedHawks left town with the respect of the entire state after dominating No. 3 Nazareth 34-13.
“[Marist] snuffed out everything we tried to do,” Nazareth coach Tim Racki said.
Nazareth quarterback JJ McCarthy is one of the area’s true star players. He received his first college scholarship offer (Iowa State) when he was in eighth grade. The sophomore has lived up to the hype this year, posting huge numbers and helping the Roadrunners (6-1, 4-1 East Suburban Catholic) dominate opponents. He visited Notre Dame in September.
Marist (6-1, 5-0) had a plan to stop McCarthy and it worked to near perfection. The RedHawks sacked him four times. McCarthy was 4-for-12 for 68 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
“We were able to get pressure on him,” Marist coach Ron Dawczak said. “We showed him a couple different looks. He has a great future ahead of him. He’s only a sophomore so we thought we could confuse him a little bit. He’s a heck of a talent.”
Senior defensive back Charlie Laurencell had two of the sacks.
“[McCarthy] has never gotten that much pressure before,” Laurencell said. “He looked scared after we sacked him that many times.”
“[Laurencell] is just one of the smartest football players I’ve been around,” Dawczak said. “He always seems to be a step ahead, knowing where the ball is going to be. He’s not the biggest guy in the world but he brings it. He’s not afraid of anybody.”
Marist quarterback Mike Markett did the bulk of the damage offensively. He had 28 carries for 96 yards and one touchdown. Billy Skalitzky had eight carries for 37 yards and one touchdown before leaving with an injury.
“We were pounding it all game,” Markett said. “I just trusted the guys and tried to stay north and south on the field. Eventually it would be open there at the end. Billy going out made things a little bit different. Coach kept calling my number.”
Markett was 14-for-25 for 207 yards and two touchdowns. He threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Thompson and a six-yard touchdown pass to Denny Hogan.
Markett to Dennis Hogan, 6-yard TD pass. Hogan gets smacked hard but holds on.
RedHawks lead Nazareth 24-13 at half but have dominated even more than the score indicates. pic.twitter.com/1TTDZSN3S0
— Michael O'Brien (@michaelsobrien) October 5, 2018
Thompson had six catches for 95 yards.
“I knew coming in it would be hard competition,” Thompson said. “[Nazareth defensive back] Diamond Evans is a good player and a good friend of mine. I had to play my game and not the game they wanted me to.”
Marist beat Nazareth 42-0 last season. It was the Roadrunners’ only regular season loss.
“They are a very good team,” Markett said. “Obviously they have a lot of good athletes. We always have an edge going into this game. We prepare mentally.”
Nazareth forced a Marist fumble on the first drive of the game. Roadrunners senior Alex Carrillo returned it 93 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
“I thought that was the spark we needed and it would catapult us to another level of confidence,” Racki said. “It’s a credit to Marist. I didn’t have my kids mentally prepared. I don’t think they were pumped up enough. I didn’t get them ready.”